Structural change, universal child care and an ultra-millionaire’s tax were a few of the proposals made by Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday during a California tour stop at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.
The 69-year-old Massachusetts senior senator packed an audience of 1,400 inside the theater, with an overflow crowd of approximately 300 outside as her 2020 Democratic presidential primary bid gets underway.
Joined by her daughter, Amelia, and a few grandchildren, Warren said she would introduce legislature on Tuesday that would “guarantee” child care for all children under the age of 6.
“The cost of child care [is] just crushing families,” she said. “Right now, in 28 states in America, child care for a little kid costs more than tuition at the state university.”
Warren acknowledged the enormous cost of such of plan, but also recognized what a lack of child care means.
“Families are just buckling under the weight of it, and it holds people back,” she said. “They decide they can’t work because they’re worried about the cost of child care. It also means a lot of kids don’t get into good child care.”
To pay for a cost she estimates “to be about four times [more] than we’ve invested in our children,” she would introduce an ultra-millionaire’s tax described as “a 2% tax on everybody who has more than $50 million,” she said.
“We can pay for universal child care and a whole lot more if we just ask the one-tenth of 1% to pay a fair share,” she said. “Let’s do that.”
Warren also spoke of a three-pronged approach to structural modifications that calls for a change to the “rules in Washington,” “the rules in our economy” and the “rules in politics.”
Warren’s structural reform in Washington calls for the routing out of corruption by ending lobbying, stopping “the revolving door between Wall Street and Washington,” making the “Supreme Court follow some basic rules of ethics” and making every candidate for federal office post their tax returns.
Fixing the economy included a few items Warren listed, including making it easier to join a union, enforcing antitrust laws and asking the super wealthy and large corporations to “pay their fair share.”
As for politics, Warren proposed a constitutional amendment to protect the right to vote, which included ending gerrymandering and restrictive voter laws, and overturning the 2010 Supreme Court decision on Citizens United, which ended limits on how much corporations, unions and nonprofits can spend on political campaigns.
Warren also said she would set an example this primary season.
“As Democrats, we have a right and opportunity to change how things work in Washington. Let me just start,” she said. “I don’t take corporate PAC money. I don’t take any PAC money. I don’t take any federal lobbyist money.”
Besides her plans, there was also some reminiscing from Warren, a former Oklahoma public-school, special-needs teacher.
The youngest of four children, Warren was shaped by the events surrounding a heart attack suffered by her father during her middle-school years.
“At night, my mom would tuck me into bed, and I would hear [my parents] talk and that’s when I learned words like mortgage and foreclosure, heavy words for a kid,” she said.
With her father recovering and unable to work, Warren’s 50-year-old mother took a minimum-wage job at a department store.
“She walked into Sears and got a minimum-wage job that saved our house, and it saved our family,” Warren said.
“If you want to know who I am, you just need that story because that’s the story that’s written on my heart,” she added.
Warren’s visit drew the interest of a pair of Glendale Community College staff members in attendance.
“I’m very fascinated with Elizabeth Warren, especially since she’s here in Glendale,” said Robert Hill, the college’s dean of student services.
“I hope we talk about healthcare. Not just talk about it. How do we operationalize it and get it done?” he added.
Hill was encouraged to attend by colleague Hoover Zariani, senior student services program coordinator at the college’s Multicultural and Community Engagement Center
“I’m also fascinated with Sen. Warren because of her income inequality issue that she’s very passionate about,” said Zariani, a Burbank resident and Glendale High School alumnus.
“I also appreciate her general care for the average citizen,” Zariani added.