Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign has proposed a plan for a federally funded and universal child care and early childhood education program with a $1.5 trillion price tag.
“Free Child Care and Pre-K for All” would offer free, full-day child care for every child until the age of 3 and free pre-kindergarten education for every child after the age of 3.
“Childcare must be guaranteed for every child regardless of their parents’ income, just like K-12 education,” Sanders said in a statement, according to Politico.
“We know that the first four years of a child’s life are the most important years of human development, so it is unconscionable that in the wealthiest country in the world, we do not properly invest in early childhood education.”
The democratic socialist’s campaign says “taxing the extreme wealth of the top 0.1 percent” of Americans will pay the $1.5 trillion price tag over the next decade for his plan.
Sanders said his proposed wealth tax would raise over $4.35 trillion in 10 years, according to CNBC.
The plan would be funded by the federal government and administered by the states and local public school systems. The federal funds would also set a minimum wage for education workers in the program,.
“As president, we will guarantee free, universal childcare and pre-kindergarten to every child in America to help level the playing field, create new and good jobs, and enable parents [to] more easily balance the demands of work and home,” Sanders said.
Although it’s the first of its kind, Sanders’ plan looks to address the early childhood education dilemma for families with young children and working parents.
Sanders’ campaign drew on the results of a recent Child Trends survey that showed about 34 percent of children with parents with a bachelor’s degree attended full-day preschool in 2017, whereas only 18 percent of children with parents with less than a high school degree attended full-day programs.
Sanders’ plan goes further than the other 2020 Democratic presidential candidates’ proposals to deal with the issue.
Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign says he will “start investing in our children at birth” by providing universal pre-kindergarten starting at the age of 3.
Former South, Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has called for a similar program to Sanders’ with “universal, affordable full-day” child care and pre-kindergarten programs. Buttigieg’s plan will cost $700 billion.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed a plan that she says will be free for millions of families and affordable for everyone else. And she claims the cost of the program would be covered by her “Ultra-Millionaire Tax.”
Sanders has emerged as the Democratic primary front-runner with 29.3 percent support nationwide, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average. However, his competitors are not sure the senator has the ability to beat President Donald Trump in November.
“I’d like whomever the Democrat is to beat Donald Trump. I’d vote for Mickey Mouse over Donald Trump,” Biden said Sunday on MSNBC.
“I don’t think [Sanders] can beat Donald Trump, and … get a Democratic Senate and keep a Democratic House.”
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.