Tortured Defenses of Trump

I guess it was predictable but I still find it somewhat unbelievable how far the tortured justifications go for Trump’s “paid maternity leave” – but these defenses are helpful because they do reveal how far to the left the Trump GOP really has moved. Months ago, I proposed that for every “conservative” point in Trump’s bag of goodies, there is an offsetting progressive point.

I won’t identify the people who said it but here are a sampling of comments from a friend’s Facebook post:

“It’s already the policy at many Fortune 500 companies, Wall Street banks and tech firms. He sure isn’t plowing any new ground here. It sure doesn’t seem to have hurt any of these greedy capitalist institutions.”

(Pretty sure that last sentence was sarcasm.)

“When one’s mind is already closed on an issue, it becomes all but impossible for them to hear what is said and why it matters. This is not about handouts or free government stuff, but about support of families. Why so so many people think that calling themselves conservatives is excuse enough to eschew all critical thinking or realistic approaches to solving real human problems?”

“It’s not such new ground for the rest of the world, but it is a flag in the sand for the far right — and an area that the GOP once owned that he is smart to reclaim —- family friendly policies.”

No…just no.

Remember when George W. Bush added to the entitlement state with the creation of a new Medicare drug benefit? This is the same thing. Bush’s program was FDR quality “compassionate conservatism” (just a softer term for progressivism).

First of all, when businesses supply such things, the cost of those things are baked into the cost of their products or services and passed along to their customers. When government does it, the cost is covered in the form of debt or taxes and Trump’s promise to use the Earned Income Tax Credit is simply another wealth transfer payment. EITC is a progressive tool used to “pay” people who have no federal tax liability with money from people who have paid taxes. The national debt is an additional tax on everyone because it affects the capital markets and the value of US currency.

Secondly, one must ask why it is necessary for the government to be working in the “support of families”. Further down in these same comments, this statement is made: “First home 15,000, not 150,000. Salary not much different than many young today.” One has to consider the role government has had to play in increasing the cost of living of people over time. There is an argument to be made that the actions of government have contributed to the same situations some now want to use government to resolve. One must consider this rather than “eschew all critical thinking or realistic approaches to solving real human problems.” In reality throwing government money at something takes no “critical thinking” at all. It is the easiest and most cowardly of solutions. When you fear no consequences and have no objective measures of success, spending other people’s money is very, very easy.

Lastly, this IS entirely “about handouts or free government stuff.” Let me ask – if you believe that governments can incentivize economic activity through tax credits and other programs, is it also not reasonable to consider that creating government funded child care might also incentivize childbearing by the very people who can’t afford more children in the first place? If you don’t believe a program could have this effect, then look at how the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program worked and why it was replaced with a more restrictive program in 1996. Hint – it was found to be incentivizing women to have children simply to get a bigger welfare check. Children became a source of income and as a result, there were more children and the program costs spiralled out of control. As common to many situations where government is called upon to act, the solution to a problem simply worsened the problem.

Consider this: If you were against a progressive program when it was proposed by a progressive Democrat and now you support that program because it is proposed by a “Republican”, it is within reason to consider that not only is the program progressive but so are both you and the “Republican”. The best “family friendly policies” are those that reduce government, free the economy and leave families to choose for themselves how they want to live. Like Reagan said, the best welfare program is a job.

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