Don’t Write Off Elizabeth Warren
Every day it seems as though a new person is running or speculated to do so for the 2020 Democratic nomination. In a field that appears to only be growing, it can be difficult to distinguish between candidates, especially when their platforms seem so similar. If there’s one important metric that we ought to use when evaluating a candidate, however, it’s their ability to create policy that fulfills the goals of their platform. In fact, we may find that not all hope is lost if we simply take a closer look at the ideals certain candidates espouse. One such candidate has unveiled several new policies aimed specifically at helping the middle class and the economy. Most importantly, however, her platform aims to help women in a way that will demonstrably improve equality in America. Right now, there’s only one contender who clearly articulates how she can accomplish the bold, progressive goals many Democrats are demanding: Elizabeth Warren.
Warren made headlines earlier this month for proposing what she calls the ”ultra-millionaire tax,” a two percent tax on household net worth between $50 million and $1 billion and a one percent tax on wealth above $1 billion. The tax itself is innovative, newsworthy, and could potentially make her goals actionable. But it’s what she plans to do with the revenue from this tax that’s so exciting. The second policy proposal of her campaign centers on a key women’s issue: universal childcare. The proposal guarantees free or subsidized Pre-K and early childcare for every American. This plan, while it sounds simple, is one of the boldest proposals by a presidential candidate to date.
As Warren notes, childcare is incredibly expensive. Many Americans who cannot afford to work and send their kids to dedicated childcare programs are forced to choose other options. Some leave their child in the care of a trusted friend, family member, or sibling, and some quit their job altogether. These options are unsustainable and do not provide the quality early education that our children need. Studies have shown that quality early-childhood education contributes to the long-term success of a child, including higher rates of high school graduation, and a higher earning potential later in life. Most importantly, Warren’s universal childcare proposal would drastically ameliorate the lives of those who are most substantially affected by the costs of childcare: low-income families, single-parent households, and women. Instead of being forced to cut back on working hours or quit their jobs, people struggling to afford childcare could continue to work under Warren’s universal childcare policy. This policy has a multitude of positive implications for both the autonomy of families and the health of the economy.
After the election of Donald Trump in 2016, women’s issues have been at the forefront of nearly every Democratic campaign. Some candidates, like Kirsten Gillibrand, are even running on a platform made up almost entirely of women’s issues and feminist ideals. Yet Warren is the first to announce a universal childcare proposal that could have a direct, actionable effect on women. The issue of the wage gap between men and women has been prevalent since second-wave feminism in the 1960s and 70s. Yet despite great strides being made for women’s opportunities to succeed, the wage gap still persists. Why? Childcare. When women have children, they are the ones who spend the majority of their time raising children and performing the majority of childcare duties. As a result, their ability to work declines, and they forgo opportunities to advance in the leadership pipeline of their workplace because of the lost time. A universal childcare program would directly combat this by allowing women to continue working full time if they want to, while ensuring that their children are receiving high quality care.
Warren may face criticism for her bold ideas, but this early on in the race, she’s the first and only candidate to propose real and direct policies to fight the problems she’s discussed. The capacity of a candidate to act on their values is equally as important as those values. Warren clearly has that capacity.