Elizabeth Warren says she has a plan for that. Here’s a running list
Senator Elizabeth Warren is blitzing the 2020 Democratic primary field with a series of ambitious policy proposals covering everything from student loans to the use of federal lands.
Her proposals have become a signature part of her campaign, solidifying her reputation as a policy wonk and spurring a new campaign slogan: “I have a plan for that.”
Here’s a look at what Warren has said she would do if elected president.
Warren’s wealth tax would target the richest families in America: The annual tax would target 2 percent of all assets of more than $50 million, and 3 percent of assets of more than $1 billion. This would raise an estimated $2.75 trillion over 10 years from what Warren refers to as the “tippy top” — 0.1 percent of American families, according to an analysis by economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman at the University of California at Berkeley.
A separate corporate tax would affect Amazon and the nation’s other most profitable companies. The plan would place a 7 percent levy on profits beyond $100 million, resolving what she called a disparity between the profits that corporations report to their shareholders and what those same corporations tell the IRS. The tax would affect about 1,200 corporations and raise approximately $1 trillion over 10 years, Warren said.
Warren wants to wipe out massive amounts of student debt: Her plan would cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for every person with a household income under $100,000. For those with higher incomes, she proposes canceling less in a series of steps. For example, a person with an income of $130,000 would get $40,000 in debt canceled. The plan offers no relief to households that earn more than $250,000. She also wants to implement free undergraduate tuition and fees at all public two- and four-year colleges.
She said she’d pay for it with her “ultra-millionaire” tax on accumulated wealth.
Warren’s universal child-care plan would aim to ease the burden faced by working families trying to find quality day care for their preschool-age children. It would create a network of child-care providers and scale up the federal Head Start program, which offers early learning services to low-income families. Families earning less than 200 percent of the poverty line would have access to free child care, while those earning more would pay on a sliding scale topping out at 7 percent of a family’s income. Warren said her “ultra-millionaire” tax would pay for the plan.
In March, Warren reintroduced ambitious legislation to create millions of new affordable housing units and help tackle ongoing housing segregation and the yawning wealth gap between white and black Americans. The bill would boost federal funding to build more than 3 million affordable housing units for low- and middle-income families and create a $10 billion grant program that would give money to communities who overhaul zoning rules that currently prevent affordable housing construction. An outside analysis found the plan would not add to the federal deficit because of changes to the estate tax.
Warren called for a ban on new fossil fuel leases on federally controlled land, proposed reversing the Trump administration’s cuts to national monuments, and said entry to all national parks should be free.
Warren announced in April that she supports drastically changing the Senate by eliminating its legendary filibuster to give her party a better chance of implementing its ambitious agenda. The change would mean a 60-vote supermajority would no longer be necessary to advance most bills.
Warren in March called for breaking up some of the biggest farming corporations ‘‘so that they not only do not have that kind of economic power, so that they’re wiping out competition, so they’re taking all the profits for themselves . . . but also so that they don’t have that kind of political power.’’
The concept of reparations takes different forms depending on the school of thought, but generally, it involves some sort of monetary compensation for the forced enslavement of Africans in the United States prior to emancipation. The issue has divided the 2020 primary field, and Warren has not explicitly endorsed the idea. Rather, Warren says she is in favor of creating a commission to study the issue and make a report to Congress. She expanded on her thinking during a CNN town hall.
Warren supports dismantling the Electoral College, the system that allocates votes to presidential candidates based on the size of the state’s congressional delegation. The Electoral College system has elected a president who did not win the popular vote on five separate occasions, including President Trump in 2016. Eliminating the Electoral College would most likely require a constitutional amendment.
Big Tech breakup
Warren would target major technology companies like Amazon and Google by strengthening existing regulations, and using the antimonopoly laws that once reined in Microsoft. For example, Warren’s plan would prevent Amazon from promoting its own products to the detriment of competitors on its platform.
Warren’s opioid plan is a revival of a bill she championed in the US Senate and is modeled on a landmark 1990 law passed in response to the AIDS epidemic that sent federal funding to areas hardest hit by the crisis. As part of Warren’s plan, Massachusetts would see about $56.6 million annually in state grants, plus another $63.5 million in local grants targeting the counties hardest hit by the opioid crisis.
As part of legislation she reintroduced in the Senate, Warren argued the island of Puerto Rico should be allowed to erase its debt like other US cities, if certain criteria are met. Her plan would also allow some holders of Puerto Rican debt, such as island residents and pensioners, to be compensated for any losses incurred as a result of any discharge.
In a sweeping proposal, Warren made a broad argument that the federal government should intervene in private industry to protect American jobs, and she outlined a number of ways to accomplish this: She called for more active management of the US dollar, using federal research dollars to create domestic jobs, increasing export promotion, and restructuring worker training. And she proposed transforming the Commerce Department and other agencies into the Department of Economic Development.
Warren’s green energy plan, released the same day as her “economic patriotism” proposal, has three prongs: $400 billion in funding for clean energy research, a $1.5 trillion commitment from the federal government to purchase domestic clean energy products, and a $100 billion “Green Marshall Plan” that would help other countries purchase clean energy technology from the United States. Warren cited an analysis from Moody’s Analytics that said her plan would be paid for with a tax she wants to levy on corporate profits, and by ending federal oil and gas subsidies and closing some corporate tax loopholes.
Roe v. Wade
Warren called on Congress to pass a law guaranteeing abortion access outlined in the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and threw her support behind an existing bill that would block so-called TRAP laws, which place a host of restrictions on abortion services in an effort to limit access.
Warren’s plan for the Department of Defense would target what she calls the “revolving door” of former officials who return to lobby for lucrative Defense Department contracts on behalf of companies like Boeing and Lockheed Martin. The plan would impose a four-year ban on “giant” contractors hiring senior defense officials or former defense employees who managed their contract.
Warren is proposing a $7 billion fund to help minority entrepreneurs start small businesses through grants, rather than loans. The fund would be limited to entrepreneurs with less than $100,000 in household wealth. She also said she’d require the federal government to seek out more diverse asset managers for pension funds.
Warren wants Congress to standardize elections for federal office, with uniformly designed ballots and brand new voting machines in every polling place nationwide, combined with a “Fort Knox”-like security system to prevent tampering. The system would be run by a new federal Secure Democracy Administration. Automatic and same-day voter registration would be mandated nationwide, and Warren’s proposal would make it more difficult to purge voters from the rolls. Election Day would become a federal holiday with expanded polling hours, and voters could cast ballots a minimum of 15 days before an election.
Warren, who said the Defense Department is 40 times the size of the State Department, called for doubling the number of diplomats working in the foreign service with an eye toward more diverse recruitment, opening new offices in areas that do not have a US presence, and enhancing diplomats’ professional development with training programs.
Racial wage disparities
Warren said she’d use an executive order to mandate a $15 minimum wage among federal contractors and ban employment practices that she argues “tilt the playing field against women of color,” such as asking a job applicant for her prior salary or requiring new hires to sign employment agreements that restrict their rights if they leave the company or make a complaint.
Warren also said she’d require federal contractors to disclose information on their employees’ pay and job title, along with demographic data, and stop working with companies with large disparities.
Warren’s sweeping plan to reshape the nation’s immigration system would significantly expand opportunities for migrants and refugees to come to the United States while taking steps to protect them and provide a path to citizenship for undocumented people already here.
Countering Trump policies, she would establish a federal task force to investigate claims of abuse against immigrant detainees, eliminate expedited removal proceedings that deny migrants full legal hearings, and create a national corps of public defenders to provide counsel for immigrants fighting deportation.
Warren pledged to expand community alternatives to detention and to issue guidance to federal agencies to ensure detention is only used for people who pose a risk of not appearing in immigration court or are deemed a danger to the public.
Laura Krantz, Jess Bidgood, and Jazmine Ulloa of the Globe staff contributed.