The Independent Women's Forum released this statement about a week ago when Ivanka Trump delivered a stirring speech on behalf of her father Donald Trump. We didn't miss it, and neither did many liberals, when Ivanka said her father would fight for equal pay for women and quality childcare for all. Today in a Facebook Live video, former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton said she would like to know what her friend Ivanka Trump meant by these comments. What would Mr. Trump do, as President, to address these economic issues facing working families?
It's likely that Chelsea Clinton and others supporting Hillary are thinking of the boilerplate left-wing respsonses to equal pay, family leave, and childcare.
- They'd like to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act (a misnamed piece of legislation that would only ultimately increase the legal exposure — and cost — of hiring and promoting women).
- They'd like to pass the FAMILY Act (which would create a new entitlement program to pay everyone working woman during a maternity leave period… which would also set women back in the workplace).
- They'd like the government to expand its role in providing for every family's childcare needs, through universal daycare or a increased childcare tax credit (and sadly, ironically, these approaches would result in fewer and less favorable choices for families when it comes to care).
These policies all have good intentions, but the results wouldn't be good for anyone, including women.
So back to the question, how could Mr. Trump address these same issues, which we know are challenges for working women, without resorting to big-government policies?
Oo, oo, pick me! I know the answer! If Mr. Trump is looking for suggestions for how to make the workplace more navigable for working women and their families — without backfiring on women's economic prospects, he should check out our suggestions in our Working for Women Report.
Instead of one-size-fits-all solutions, we suggest:
- Strengthening the Equal Pay Act (a law that has existed since 1963 and protects women's right to equal pay) and clarifying the Pregnancy Discrimination Act.
- Creating Personal Care Accounts (PCAs), tax-free savings accounts for families to use for expenses during a maternity leave period. Families, employers, and even charitable non-profits could contribute to these accounts.
- Deregulating the childcare industry. Of course basic health and safety regulations need to be in place, but there are some regulations on daycares that have no effect on quality or safety and only serve to raise prices. These regulations should be reviewed and when possible, eliminated.
Although Ivanka Trump used some of the same rhetoric on equal pay and childcare that we often hear from the left (perhaps a smart political move), she and her father have the opportunity to offer alternative solutions and draw contrast with the Clintons here. I'm glad Chelsea Clinton is asking her friend Ivanka to clarify… I just hope that candidates and campaigns across the political spectrum will see the value in a more free-market approach to the challenges facing working women today.