Trump’s social welfare agenda

Ivanka Trump: "Under the Trump plan, the federal government will guarantee six weeks of paid maternity leave."

Childcare and the Führer Principle

By Robert Wenzel (courtesy of

It is remarkable how pedestrian, unsophisticated and lacking in insight are the views of Donald Trump, and apparently those of his daughter, Ivanka, when it comes to economics and society. They simply look everywhere to government technocrat solutions for everything.

It is clear they have zero understanding of how free markets work. The insights expressed by F.A. Hayek in his book The Roads to Serfdom, about the dangers and defects of central planning, have never reached their brains in any significant way.

For the Trumps, if there is a societal problem, they hold the simple minded perspective that there is a government solution for it, if the right leader is around to propose and manage the government solution.There is no awarness by them that this perspective is in direct contradiction to what great economists such as Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and Hayek have taught us about the nature of man, individual decision making and the impossibility of one great central planner replacing the decision making that is done at the individual level.

This type of thinking, the belief in one man decision making, Mises identified as a belief in the Führer Principle.

Ivanka Trump, demonstrating her adherence to the Führer Principle in one important sector, has penned an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal where she discusses her father's childcare plan, which her father has claimed was influenced by her. (Donald Trump delivered his childcare plan speech which mirrored Ivanka's outline, Tuesday evening)

In the op-ed, Ivanka writes:

We all agree that women should have equal pay for equal work, but that’s not enough. The lack of quality, affordable child care is one of the biggest challenges facing American parents.

My father, in his campaign for president, has proposed a plan to bring federal policies in line with the needs of today’s working parents.

The plan’s second part is the establishment of Dependent Care Savings Accounts, created to aid families in setting aside extra money to foster their children’s development and offset elder care for adult dependents.

To help lower-income parents, the government will match half of the first $1,000 deposited each year.

 [M]y father’s plan will add incentives for employers to provide child care at the workplace.
Finally, under the Trump plan, the federal government will guarantee, for the first time, six weeks of paid maternity leave.

There are some tax breaks in the plan, and it is difficult to argue against tax breaks, but mostly this plan is about deep government intrusions into the childcare sector.

It is a stunning rebuke of free markets. Do the Trumps really believe they know better to what degree employers should provide childcare than what has developed in the markets?

Do the Trumps really think they know better how compensation should be structured for mothers relative to how much maternity leave they should receive?

Do the Trumps really believe we need the government subsidizing childcare, where in every other sector where the government has gotten involved, via subsidies, prices have skyrocketed?

The Trump thinking on childcare and the government interventions they are advocating is monstrous.

Do they have any idea the distortions that occur in markets when governments attempt to over-rule them?

Any Trump supporter who expects smaller government and a better understanding of free markets under a Trump presidency is going to be very disappointed by this childcare proposal from them. As I wrote more than 12 months ago, Trump displays many more characteristics reminiscent of the economic leadership style of Mussolini than any sound economic thinker I know,

Not good.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and Target Liberty. He also writes EPJ Daily Alert and is author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics and on LinkedIn.