Dear President Trump: About That Speech…
Dear President Trump,
We listened to your speech last night. You say you speak for all of us, and promise to “find common ground, to advance the common good, and to cooperate on behalf of every American child who deserves a brighter future.” But as always, the devil is in the details. We understand you are coming out with a budget soon, which should be the perfect place to outline more precisely what it is you have in mind. And since we at NWLC have been working a pretty long time (45 years, to be exact) to figure out what gives women and their families a boost—and what tears them down—we thought we’d help you out with a few pro tips. You might call them the three principles for a budget that works for women and families. And here they are:
1. Protect vulnerable women and families. Since “no one has more respect for women than [you],” we assume you are aware that women face a higher risk of poverty throughout their lives than men do. A fair budget plan must, of course, protect programs that are essential for women and their families to improve their health, obtain quality child care and higher education, and help them meet their basic needs during difficult times and as they age. The last thing a budget should do is increase poverty or exacerbate hardship for individuals and families struggling to make ends meet.
- That means preserving the Affordable Care Act and programs that are vital to women and families. We must protect and strengthen not only Social Security and Medicare, but also Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), housing assistance, and other programs that are essential to the well-being of women and families. These policies work together to lift up families—pulling one leg off the stool will leave everything else off-balanced.
- That does NOT mean dismantling the programs and agencies that serve the goals you claim to espouse. If you want to “invest in women’s health,” you cannot—we repeat, CANNOT—repeal the ACA; doing so means millions of women will lose key preventative services. And if you want to “make child care accessible and affordable” and “promote clean air and clean water,” you cannot slash funding for child care assistance and the EPA. So your budget won’t do that because you “will keep [y]our promises to the American people”—right?
2. Expand economic opportunity for everyone. We agree that “[f]or too long, we’ve watched our middle class shrink,” and that rebuilding U.S. infrastructure is one way to help rebuild the middle class. Investing in both physical infrastructure and human capital (i.e., people) would create jobs for workers who need them now and help grow our economy in the long term. And a major federal investment to provide all families who need it with affordable, high-quality child care would both improve job prospects for millions of parents who need child care to go to work and enhance the ability of children across the country to achieve their potential.
- That means building bridges and roads; investing in education and workforce training; and putting high-quality child care within reach for all families. We need the roads and bridges that will get our products to consumers and get us to our jobs. We also need the training to be the workforce of the future. And new investments are essential to help families afford high-quality child care and early education and ensure that the workers caring for our children earn a living wage. (Btw, by “investment” we mean actual federal dollars, not just tax breaks for your friends. See #3.)
- That does NOT mean building walls to divide us or sowing fear within our communities with harmful immigration policies. Your divisive immigration policies and rescission of policies protecting LGBTQ students are ripping families and communities apart and blocking, not expanding, educational opportunities. I hope that’s not what you meant by expanding opportunities for American families.
3. Secure new revenue from those with the greatest ability to contribute. Based on your speech, it seems you’re a bit misinformed regarding the effect of our corporate tax code; today, many large and profitable corporations do not pay any federal income taxes at all. Millionaires and billionaires, too, continue to benefit from numerous loopholes and preferences in the tax code.To support new investments, the budget must include new revenue—and it should come from the individuals and corporations with the greatest ability to contribute. (We suspect you’re BFFs with lots of folks who fall in that category so you’re in a great spot to convince them to pay their fair share!)
- That means calling for substantial new revenues to support critical programs. Closing corporate tax loopholes. Eliminating unfair tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Etc. (Oh, and maybe you should release your own tax returns.)
- That does NOT mean calling for huge new tax cuts for the rich and corporations. If the members at your private club, Mar-A-Lago, can afford to pay $200,000 a year for membership dues, we hardly think they need another tax break. (Wait, how much are your friends benefitting from your plan again?)
And there you have it! Simple, right? Can’t wait to see what you come up with to help the millions of women and families who are counting on you. We’ll be watching 🙂
Julie & Anna