Monday in New Hampshire at a CNN town hall, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said her proposed wealth tax will pay for “universal child care for every baby zero to five, universal pre-k, universal college and knock back the student loan debt burden for 95% of our students and still have nearly a trillion dollars left over.”
Warren said, “Thanks for the question, Dena. This is the America we live in now. Basically to get a shot at a middle class life you’ve got to have some post high school technical training, two-year college, four-year college, maybe graduate school depending on who you are and what you’re ending up doing. The position of the federal government has been, good luck to you, you’re on your own. The one thing they’ve done, they have’ done is lent tens of thousands of dollars to students. It is now crushing them. So my proposal is to say, this isn’t right. What we have to do as a country is roll back that debt. So I have two parts to the proposal. Part one is that we say that we’re going to roll back student loan debt for about 95% of students who have debt. That’s part one. And part two is to make sure that we never get in this mess again on student loan debt and that is to make college universally available with free tuition and fees and to put more money into Pell grants so that students of color, so that our poorest students have real access to college and that we put real money into our historically black colleges and universities. This is about opportunity for everyone. And can we talk about how to pay for it?
She continued, “Let’s remember where this all started. I started several months ago about a wealth tax. It’s 2 cents on every dollar above the great fortunes above 50 million dollars. So your 50 millionth and first dollar you got to pay two cents on all of the dollars after that. Here’s the stunning part. If we ask the great fortunes in this country, understand, this isn’t about trying to be nasty or say you’ve done anything wrong, what it’s about is saying, look, you had a great idea, you got out there, you worked hard or you inherited well whichever one it was, but now that you’ve got that great fortune, spend just a minute to remember how you got it. You built that great business or your ancestors did using workers that all of us helped pay to educate. You got your goods to market using roads and bridges that all of us helped pay to build. You are protected in your factories with firefighters and police officers that all of us helped to pay. And we say, good for you, that you have now gotten this great fortune, but two cents. You’ve got to pay something back so everybody else gets a chance. Here is how the money works out; if we put that two cent wealth tax in place on the 75,000 largest fortunes in this country, two cents, we can do universal child care for every baby zero to five, universal pre-k, universal college and knock back the student loan debt burden for 95% of our students and still have nearly a trillion dollars left over.”
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN