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An Empty Promise

- May 10, 2016

CLINTON PROMISES TO LIMIT CHILD CARE EXPENSES FOR FAMILIES, BUT GIVES VIRTUALLY NO DETAILS ON HOW SHE WOULD DO IT

Today, Clinton Pledged To Cap Child Care Expenses At No More Than 10 Percent Of A Family's Income. "In particular, Clinton will commit that, as President, she will significantly increase child care investments so no family pays more than 10 percent of their income for child care." ("Clinton​ ​To​ ​Commit To Bold, New​ ​Goal​ ​As​ ​President​ ​To​ ​​Limit​ ​Child ​Care Costs​ ​To​ ​No​ More​ ​Than​ ​10 Percent​ ​Of​ ​Family's​ ​Income," Hillary For America's The Briefing , 5/10/16)

Clinton's Campaign Is Framing The Commitment As "A Promise." "But by far the most intriguing part of Tuesday's speech may be a promise that Clinton intends to make. According to the campaign aides, Clinton will say that the federal government should commit to making sure that no family ever pays more than 10 percent of its income on child-care expenses." (Jonathan Cohn, "Clinton To Lay Out Agenda For Making Child Care Better - And More Affordable," The Huffington Post, 5/10/16)

  • The Washington Post Headline: "Clinton To Pledge That No Family Pays More Than 10 Percent Of Income On Child Care" (Anne Gearan, "Clinton To Pledge That No Family Pays More Than 10 Percent Of Income On Child Care," The Washington Post , 5/10/16)

But Clinton Gave Virtually No Specifics In The Plan, Including Its Cost Or How It Would Be Paid For

Clinton's Campaign Is Not Releasing Details On The Linchpin Of The Plan, "The Mix Of Federal Subsidies Or Tax Credits To Pay" For The Childcare Benefit. "The Democratic presidential front-runner's campaign said the mix of federal subsidies or tax credits to pay for the new benefit will be announced later." (Anne Gearan, "Clinton To Pledge That No Family Pays More Than 10 Percent OF Income On Child Care," The Washington Post , 5/10/16)

  • Clinton's Fact Sheet On Her Plan Only Gives A Passing Reference To New Subsidies And Tax Credits. "Clinton will fight for every family in America to have access to high quality, affordable child care by significantly increasing the federal government's investment in child care subsidies and providing tax relief for the cost of child care to working families." ("Clinton​ ​To​ ​Commit To Bold, New​ ​Goal​ ​As​ ​President​ ​To​ ​​Limit​ ​Child ​Care Costs​ ​To​ ​No​ More​ ​Than​ ​10 Percent​ ​Of​ ​Family's​ ​Income," Hillary For America's The Briefing , 5/10/16)

Even Though The Plan Involves "Substantial" New Federal Spending, Clinton Has Offered No Details About How It Would Cap Costs, "How Much The Program Would Cost, Or How It Would Be Paid For." "The campaign did not offer details about how it would cap child care costs, how much the program would cost, or how it would be paid for, though an aide said it would involve 'substantial' direct federal spending mixed with new tax breaks aimed at middle class families." (Laura Meckler, "Clinton Proposals Would Ease Child Care Costs, Boost Pay For Workers," The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire , 5/10/16)

  • The Wall Street Journal Subhead: "Democratic Front-Runner Offers Few Details" On Child Care Plan. (Laura Meckler, "Clinton Proposals Would Ease Child Care Costs, Boost Pay For Workers," The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire , 5/10/16)

Clinton's Senior Policy Adviser, Ann O'Leary, Offered "Few Specifics" On The Plan. "Ann O'Leary, Clinton's senior policy adviser, offered few specifics, but said in a statement that the plan 'will call for substantial new investments in both subsidies for low and lower-middle class families, as well as new investments in tax breaks for middle class families to afford child care.'" (Kimberly Hefling, "Clinton Releases Plan To Cap Child Care Costs," Politico, 5/10/16)

Clinton's Campaign Has Said They Won't Release The Details For "Months," Making The Plan "Impossible To Evaluate"

Clinton's Campaign Said It Will Not Release The Details Of Her Plan For "Months." "Clinton will propose a combination of direct federal investments and tax relief for low- and middle-class families, the details of which won't be announced until 'the coming months,' according to the campaign." (Jeanne Sahadi, "Clinton To Propose Plan To Cap Child Care Costs At 10 % Of Family Income," CNN, 5/10/16)

The Key Promise Of Clinton's Plan - That She Will Keep Child Care Costs For Families Under 10 Percent Of Income - Is "Impossible To Evaluate" Without Details That "The Clinton Campaign Has Yet To Provide." "It's an audacious vow, given that many families now spend far more than 10 percent of income on child care, and one that's impossible to evaluate without details about funding and program design that the Clinton campaign has yet to provide." (Jonathan Cohn, "Clinton To Lay Out Agenda For Making Child Care Better - And More Affordable," The Huffington Post, 5/10/16)

Clinton Likely Knows Her Plan Will "Inevitably Cost A Great Deal Of Money"

Clinton's Plan To "Make Child Care Better And More Affordable Simultaneously" Will "Inevitably Cost A Great Deal Of Money." "One big challenge is that efforts to improve the quality of child care, like hiring teachers with better credentials, inevitably make it more expensive. A serious effort to make child care better and more affordable simultaneously, as Clinton apparently has in mind, would inevitably cost a great deal of money - money that would have to come from either new taxes or cuts to other programs, given Clinton's vow to find offsets for any new government spending." (Jonathan Cohn, "Clinton To Lay Out Agenda For Making Child Care Better - And More Affordable," The Huffington Post, 5/10/16)

Clinton Has Pledged "To Find Offsets For Any New Government Funding," Meaning She Is Planning To Pay For Her Child Care Plan With "New Taxes Or Cuts To Other Programs." "A serious effort to make child care better and more affordable simultaneously, as Clinton apparently has in mind, would inevitably cost a great deal of money - money that would have to come from either new taxes or cuts to other programs, given Clinton's vow to find offsets for any new government spending." (Jonathan Cohn, "Clinton To Lay Out Agenda For Making Child Care Better - And More Affordable," The Huffington Post, 5/10/16)

Proposals Like Clinton's, Which "Liberal Think Tanks Have Been Churning Out," Have Repeatedly Failed To Win Support In Congress Because Of "The Hefty Price Tag For Such Programs." "Meanwhile, liberal think tanks have been churning out new early childhood proposals, and Heather Boushey, an economist who happens to be an outside adviser to Clinton, recently published a book, 'Finding Time,' making the case that government should do more to help working families with children. While supporters of such initiatives have won key victories at the state and local levels, most recently when New York City created a universal pre-kindergarten program, they have failed to win much support in the Republican-led Congress, for a variety of reasons, including the hefty price tag for such programs." (Jonathan Cohn, "Clinton To Lay Out Agenda For Making Child Care Better - And More Affordable," The Huffington Post, 5/10/16)


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