US's Childcare System Is Hurting Mothers: Here's How Each Candidate Wants to Fix It

Trash talk is in plentiful supply this election season, but real talk is a little less common. So it was exciting when both presidential candidates finally locked in on a serious issue for American families: The cost and quality of childcare in America. The fact that they're addressing it means we might get some actionable solutions, and that's good news for women and mothers everywhere.


As a whole, childcare is a complex problem that'll likely need complex solutions, so we broke down what the issue is and how each candidate proposes we address it.

The problem with child care

Americans families are being crushed by the cost of childcare. Like, really crushed: According to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the cost of childcare in the US can average anywhere from $6,000 to $20,000, depending on your state. And that's just for one kid. But despite these outrageous numbers, 11 million kids under the age of 5 are in some sort of childcare situation, according to Child Care Aware.

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If you've got a kid, you already know the score. Every mother has to do an impossible math equation: Is what you can earn minus the cost of childcare enough to make it worth it to go to work? What about health insurance and benefits? Is it worth it to do a job you hate just to pay someone to do a crummy job of taking care of your babies?

In 2015, the EPI found that a minimum-wage worker in America will spend 30 percent of their income on childcare. And what does that buy you? Far too often it's low-quality care that parents aren't really happy with. 

Child Care Aware has the data to back up what American mothers already know: Our options for childcare are too expensive and largely poor quality -- and the result is everyone is unhappy and less productive.

Plus, in the long run, good childcare is key to children's early development. Good early development makes for better future enterprisers, a lower crime rate, and a better society in general, economically and otherwise.

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So why haven't we been able to pass legislation in Washington to help? Unfortunately, many Republicans view government intervention in family childcare as an overreach. Their ideal small government doesn't tell companies how to treat its employees or whether to offer paid family leave or childcare.

Trump's childcare prescription

So that's where we were. Then Donald Trump announced he was going to devote an entire speech to what childcare policy would look like under his Republican presidency. This gave us hope that we'd get a breakthrough on the issue.

Then Ivanka started to talk. Ivanka, whose personal brand includes the tagline "Women Who Work," was credited along with Trump's campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, with helping draft the proposals. Ivanka was set to introduce her father, and the beginning of her speech was okay -- it's when she called going to work a "luxury" that homegirl lost us.

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American mothers, by a large margin, aren't going to work because it's our passion project. We need an income to