Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren just released a calculator that shows parents how much money they could save under her Universal Child Care and Early Learning Plan. The plan, which Warren unveiled in February, proposes that parents would pay no more than seven percent of their income on child care programs, and many parents would be able to send their children to accredited child care centers for free. The plan provides that the federal government partners with local providers to create a large and accessible network of child care to new parents. It would also subsidize in-home child care centers and would give child care providers bonuses, paying them comparably to preschool teachers.
The program would be paid for by a wealth tax that Warren already proposed — an Ultra-Millionaire Wealth Tax that would be imposed on the 75,000 Americans who have a net worth of $50 million or more. That tax, according to Warren’s estimates, should generate over $2.75 trillion in revenue over the next decade, therefore paying for the plan four times over.
Given that the average cost of child care in the country ranges anywhere from 4,000 dollars to 22,600 dollars annually — comparable to tuition at a public state college — this would be a huge shift for American parents. Estimates show that many parents pay as much as 36 percent of their annual income on child care. The plan matches other plans in other countries, but America is historically lacking in spending on early childhood supports: at the height of federal investment in American kids over a decade ago, the government spent just 2.6 percent of its GDP on children. Sweden, in contrast, spent almost a quarter of their GDP investing in kids.
Check out Warren’s Universal Child Care Calculator here.