Today’s News & Commentary — February 20, 2019
Yesterday, Senator Bernie Sanders announced that he would make a second run at the presidency. At his announcement, Sanders railed against “the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life.” In response, the Trump campaign stated that Sanders had “already won the debate in the Democrat primary because every candidate is embracing his brand of socialism.” Sanders is widely considered a supporter of democratic socialist policies, including universal healthcare, a higher minimum wage, and free higher education tuition. Since the 2016 election, he has spoken out against income inequality, pressuring companies like Amazon to raise wages and rallying behind unionized workers. All of this has led Jacobin to argue that organized labor should support Sanders in 2020. That said, he is now the 12th Presidential candidate among a crowd of Democrats who have largely embraced his economic and social policies.
Meanwhile, Senator Elizabeth Warren revealed her proposal for universal child care. The Universal Child Care and Early Learning Act would establish a system of government-funded child care centers that would be free to attend for children whose families earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Families earning more would be charged no more than seven percent of their income. The network would be funded by a proposed wealth tax targeting households with over $50 million in assets. Two economists found that the proposal “lifts economic growth, as the stimulus created by providing financial support to lower-income and middle-class families more than offsets the negative fallout from increasing taxes on the very wealthy” and noted that subsidized child care increases “female labor force participation.”
As expected, teachers in West Virginia went on strike yesterday, shutting down approximately 700 schools in all but one of the state’s counties. Within hours of walking off the job, the State House of Delegates announced that it had indefinitely tabled a bill that would have paved the way for the establishment of charter schools and expanded funding for private education and homeschooling. The strike will continue today, as union leaders have expressed skepticism that the State Senate won’t attempt to revive the bill.