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Elizabeth Warren Says Child Care Is Key to Bringing the Economy Back

  • August 07, 2020

When you spoke about this in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or wherever, it seemed that most of the people nodding along were mothers themselves. Do you agree with that assessment, and do you think that would be different if you were running now?

I would agree with you that that’s who applauded. You asked me if I think it’s different now. I think more people have begun to see how child care is an essential part of making this economy work and how child care workers are among the essential workers we must have to restart our economy.

You may not have been in the room the particular times this happened, but people who didn’t have children would ask me a “Why should I care?” kind of question. And that’s part of the reason I have long made the pitch that child care is basic infrastructure. If you want this economy to work, if you want to boost our G.D.P., or now, during a pandemic, if you want to get people back to work, then we need to make a national investment.

I always talked about it in the combination with the wealth tax. And I’d say, “What can we do for two cents?” [Referring to a 2 percent tax on net worth above $50 million.] And the first thing I always said was universal child care. And I would get huge applause. And then I would say universal pre-K for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old in America; huge applause. But the third thing was raise the wages of every child care worker in America. And the applause volume always went up.

Child care workers are now essential workers. They are mostly Black and brown women. And they are putting their lives, their families’ health, on the line to care for children so that nurses and grocery store workers can keep the rest of this economy going. So the economic ties, I think, have become much clearer than they were.

When you ended your campaign, you suggested you would talk more about how gender bias played out in the primary race. Do you think there was sexism in the race? And do you think that influenced how your plans on child care were perceived?

I appreciate the question. But I’m just not ready to talk about that yet. I’m just going to keep out there and keep fighting. That’s my job right now.

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