Sen. Warren believes she knows the way into Americans’ hearts: Lots of government spending.
In her CNN townhall Monday night, Sen. Warren responded to almost every question with a proposed new government program.
Over the course of the 80 minute forum, Sen. Warren endorsed Medicare-for-All, slavery reparations, universal childcare, universal pre-K, “universal pre-pre-K,” the creation of 3 million new federal housing units, increasing infrastructure spending several times, forgiveness of student loan debt, and the Green New Deal.
Add it all up, and it’s more than $100 trillion.
Estimates range on Warren’s proposed spending plans, but the Green New Deal has alone been projected to cost at least $93 trillion; slavery reparations have previously been pegged at upward of $14 trillion; and Warren says her universal child care, universal pre-K, and universal pre-pre-K programs can be done for $3 trillion.
Despite the avalanche of proposed new spending, Warren was cautious about calling for new taxes. After describing her plans for greatly increasing the percentage of GDP spent on infrastructure, she was asked whether a gas tax might be necessary to finance it. Warren responded that she opposes a gas tax because it’s regressive against the poor.
Instead, Sen. Warren said, a single tax on the very wealthy would be enough to pay for “universal child care, universal pre-k, universal pre-pre-K for every child in America” and, she said, the tax would leave “$2 trillion left over.”
Warren, calling “decent” housing a “basic human right,” pitched the construction of 3 million new federal housing units:
“I have a proposal to build about 3 million new housing units across America,” Warren said. “Anybody in here worried about the rise price of housing? That’s pretty much everybody, right? The idea is that we need to make a real investment in housing. In the same way that we think about health care as a basic human right. Having a decent and safe place to live should be a human — a basic human right.”
On infrastructure, Sen. Warren pointed to China, which spends “nine times” more than the U.S.; she called on the the U.S. to increase its .6 percent of GDP spending to a range closer to China, which spends 5 percent of its GDP:
China’s spending “is building a future for those small businesses, for those medium-sized businesses, for those giant businesses; it is building a future for work in China,” Warren said. “We need to step up our investment in infrastructure right here in the United States of America.”
She then brought up her support of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, which includes retrofitting every building in the United States: “That’s how we build a future. And I’ll add one little piece to it and say when you take a look at the Green New Deal, understand this is about building the infrastructure for the 21st century, for a sustainable world.”
Warren suggested her proposed “wealth tax” will provide enough revenue to finance much of her ambitious agenda:
“So I’m going to put a wealth tax in place, and I just want to talk to you for one minute about how that restructures our whole economy,” she said. “We get a 2% tax on the 75,000 richest families in this country, we would have enough money to provide universal child care, universal pre-k, universal pre-pre-k for every child in America and still have $2 trillion left over. Let’s make it happen.”
Warren, however, did not say how she would pay for Medicare-for-All, slavery reparations, 3 million new housing units, expanded infrastructure spending, or the Green New Deal.