First the left wanted universal health care on the taxpayer’s dime. Now it’s looking for universal child care.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic hopeful for the 2020 presidential election, recently proposed a wealth tax on the richest Americans, and now she says that tax would pay for universal child care that would limit families’ expenses to 7 percent of their total income, regardless of how many children they have.
The plan, unveiled Tuesday on Medium.com, would make childcare free for families with incomes below 200 percent of the poverty level, which is about $51,500 for families of four. Families with more money would pay up to 7 percent of their income.
“My plan will guarantee high-quality child care and early education for every child in America from birth to school age,” Warren wrote on Medium.com. “It will be free for millions of American families, and affordable for everyone. This is the kind of big, structural change we need to produce an economy that works for everyone.”
Warren says her plan tackles two “big problems with child care in America: It’s hard to find high-quality care, and where you do find it, that care is extraordinarily expensive.”
The average cost of child care is about $1,400 per month, almost as much as the average cost of rent in the U.S., according to a 2018 HotPads analysis of a Care.com sate and metro area pricing index.
Warren, D-Mass., is positioning herself as a champion for the middle class ahead of the 2020 election, and she’s one of many Democratic hopefuls floating ideas — mainly new taxes on the rich — to mitigate growing income inequality in the U.S.
Warren’s economic populist vision — where she points the finger at corporations and wealthy elites as the bad guys — is the foundation of her campaign. The universal child care plan would cost taxpayers $70 billion per year, according to analysis.
Warren says her wealth tax, the “Ultra-Millionaire Tax,” on assets above $50 million would pay for the plan, which would “substantially increase the number of children able to receive formal child care” from 6.8 million to 12 million, cutting care costs for families with young children by 17 percent.
Warren claims the Ultra-Millionaire Tax will generate $2.75 trillion in new government revenue over the next 10 years, or “about four times more than the entire cost of my Universal Child Care and Early Learning Plan.”
How it works, per Warren via Medium.com:
- The federal government will partner with local providers — states, cities, school districts, nonprofits, tribes, faith-based organizations — to create a network of child care options that would be available to every family.
- These options would include locally-licensed child care centers, preschool centers, and in-home child care options.
- Local communities would be in charge, but providers would be held to high national standards to make sure that no matter where you live, your child will have access to quality care and early learning.
- Child care and preschool workers will be doing the educational work that teachers do, so they will be paid like comparable public school teachers.