Child-care costs are rising, and there’s often little relief available for struggling families. That’s something that Senator Elizabeth Warren would like to change: She released a universal-child-care plan in February, and on Thursday, her campaign unveiled a new tool that allows individuals to see how much they’d save if her plan ever went into effect. It’s Warren’s latest attempt at using interactive tools to show voters exactly what her policy proposals could mean for them.
As Warren originally outlined in a Medium post, her child-care plan would have the federal government partner with community-based child-care and pre-K providers. Child care would be free for families making less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. For families with incomes above that amount, she added, federal funding would cap child-care costs “at no more than 7 percent of that family’s income.” As with many of her social-welfare plans, Warren would pay for enhanced child-care coverage with an annual wealth tax on families with a net worth of $50 million or more. In her post, Warren estimated that this tax would bring in about four times as much revenue as what her plan would cost.
Warren’s calculator helps translate this policy proposal into an easily digestible figure. Families and aspiring parents can now go to the campaign’s website, plug in information about their pre-kindergarten-age children — or the number of children they’d someday like to have — their income, and their state of residence and learn the extent of their possible child-care coverage.
Warren is not the only Democratic candidate to highlight child care in her campaign platform. A number of others have also offered solutions, either as part of broader education proposals or as specific initiatives focused on families with children. Julián Castro included universal pre-K coverage in his campaign launch in January. More recently, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York released a detailed “family bill of rights,” which included universal pre-K and a proposal to increase the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit. Earlier this month, Senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar and Representatives Eric Swalwell and Beto O’Rourke told Vox that they support either the Child Care for Working Families Act or universal-child-care coverage in principle. Other candidates, including Castro, Andrew Yang, and Senator Cory Booker, expressed support for universal pre-K. Still others, like Senator Michael Bennet, Representative Seth Moulton, Marianne Williamson, and Pete Buttigieg, support expanded tax credits to help subsidize the costs associated with having children.
Nevertheless, the Warren campaign’s new calculator could help the candidate — who’s been climbing in the polls — further distinguish herself from her peers. The campaign’s first interactive calculator, which allowed users to see how much of their debt Warren’s student-loan-relief plan would cancel, proved popular. The Warren campaign told New York that as of this week, around 250,000 individuals had used its student-debt-relief calculator.