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What is Elizabeth Warren’s stance on the issues that matter to women?

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Hannah-Rose Yee
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Elizabeth Warren

The senator is about to go into the second Democratic debate in the lead-up to the 2020 elections. These are her most important policies.

Name a problem facing the US right now and Elizabeth Warren has a plan for how to solve it.

It’s become one of the funniest memes of what is a very un-funny leadup to the 2020 elections: worried about your acne/bad boyfriend/Renata on Big Little Lies? Elizabeth Warren has a plan for that.

As in so many things, it’s funny because it’s true. Going into the second round of Democratic debates, Warren has set herself up as one of the most qualified and most prepared candidates out there, with proposals to tackle everything from student debt to abortion restrictions. Tonight, she faces Bernie Sanders and Marianne Williamson, among others, in the second round of debates in what will no doubt prove to be one of the most talked-about discussions of the presidential race. 

So what are Elizabeth Warren’s key policies? And how will they impact women? 

Eliminating student debt

In June 2018, Forbes estimated that student debt in the US had soared to $1.5 trillion owed to institutions by some 44.2 million people. At the time the average student debt per person was $38,390. 

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Warren has a plan for that. The senator wants to help eliminate student debt by cancelling up to $50,000 in loans per person (if their household earns under $100,000) – which would eliminate student debt for 75% of people in the red. Warren called the proposal “transformational”, and it is. The way she wants to achieve this is through something called the Ultra-Millionaire Tax (more on that a bit later), which will help subsidise the debt cancellation. And the end result, she says, great increase the quality of life and wealth for black and Latinx families and make some headway in closing the racial wealth gap.

Elizabeth Warren
Elizabeth Warren.

“Huge student loan debt burn [is]… crushing millions of families and acting as an anchor on our economy,” Warren wrote on Medium. “It’s reducing home ownership rates. It’s leading fewere people to start businesses. It’s forcing students to drop out of school before getting a degree. It’s a problem for all of us.” 

Free education

Eliminating student debt is only the beginning for Warren. If elected as president, Warren wants to completely overhaul the way education is funded and paid for in the US. To that end she wants to ensure that a student debt crisis never occurs again by creating universal free public college for whoever wants to attend.

“My plan for universal free college will… make free college truly universal,” Warren wrote. “Not just in theory, but in practice, by making higher education of all kinds more inclusive and available to every single American.” 

Ultra-Millionaire Tax

OK, let’s talk about that Ultra-Millionaire Tax thing for a second. This is Warren’s plan to pay for the debt cancellation and universal free college and it basically involves a tax on the really, really super-rich.

US Democratic debates: Elizabeth Warren
US Democratic debates: Elizabeth Warren

Under Warren’s Ultra-Millionaire Tax those families with $50 million or more in wealth would receive a 2% annual levy on their income. According to the senator, this tax would impact around 75,000 families, but that given the sheer amounts of money held by these families the tax would be more than enough to wipe out all of the student debt in the US.  Just think about that for a second.

“For decades, we’ve allowed the wealthy to pay less while burying tens of millions of working Americans in education debt,” Warren wrote. “It’s time to make different choices.”

Universal childcare

Along with universal free education, Warren wants to ensure that working parents and, in particular working mothers, have access to childcare. According to Warren “affordable and high-quality child care and early education should be a right, not a privilege reserved for the rich”.

The plan is fairly simple: existing childcare networks would be regulated and managed by the federal government who would ensure that all options meet federal standards. The cost of childcare would then be subsidised by the government or, on occasion, free to any family making less than 200% of the federal poverty line, a number that could equate to millions of children.

Elizabeth Warren plans to tackle the gender pay gap for women of colour if she becomes president.
Democratic debates: Elizabeth Warren plans to tackle women’s issues if she becomes president.

How is Warren going to pay for this? It’s the Ultra-Millionaire Tax again. Warren has crunched the numbers and by taxing the 75,000 with more than $50 million to their name she can generate some $2.75 trillion for the government. That’s a lot of money to play with, and a lot of money to make her plans for universal childcare and free education a reality.

Abortion rights

Like her fellow presidential hopeful Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren is firm on protecting and enshrining abortion rights. The politician has fought back against the Heartbeat Bill and the recent spate of American states wheeling back access to abortion. Warren not only wants to protect abortion rights but codify them by establishing a federal, statutory right that enshrines Roe v Wade in law. 

Abortion Rights protesters in Washington, D.C.
Abortion Rights protesters in Washington, D.C.

These new laws would go some way to “prohibit states from interfering in the ability of a health care provider to provide medical care, including abortion services. Second, they must prohibit states from interfering in the ability of a patient to access medical care, including abortion services,” Warren wrote

Along with her pledge to protect abortion rights, Warren has also announced that she plans to reduce maternal mortality among black women in the US. Currently, the mortality rate among this group is the worst in the world, with some 40 black women out of every 100,000 dying during childbirth.

Warren wants to reduce these numbers dramatically, and she’ll be doing it by offering bonuses to any hospital that can prove they are bringing the mortality rate down. “And if they don’t, then they’re going to have money taken away from them,” Warren added. “I want to see the hospitals see it as their responsibility to address this problem head-on and make it a first priority. The best way to do that is to use money to make it happen, because we gotta have change and we gotta have change now.” 

Images: Getty

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Hannah-Rose Yee

Hannah-Rose Yee is a writer based in London. You can find her on the internet talking about movies, television and Chris Pine.

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