Warren Has Proposed or Backed Plans Totaling Estimated $129 Trillion in Government Spending

Three of Warren's major proposals alone cost $2.365 trillion

Elizabeth Warren / Getty Images
May 9, 2019

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) has backed or proposed plans during her 2020 presidential campaign that total up to $129 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, a Washington Free Beacon analysis shows.

Along with backing the Green New Deal ($94 trillion) and Medicare for All ($32.6 trillion), which total $126.6 trillion in estimated government spending over the next decade according to various studies, three of Warren's major proposals alone cost $2.365 trillion: opioids ($100 billion), canceling student debt and offering free public college ($1.25 to $1.565 trillion), and universal child care ($700 billion).

Warren has won praise on the left for saying she has "got a plan" for various issues, and she has proposed an "ultra-millionaire," 2 percent tax on Americans worth $50 million or more—it rises to 3 percent on Americans worth at least $1 billion—to pay for many of her projects, claiming it will raise about $2.75 trillion over the next decade.

Alongside Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.), Warren unveiled a $100 billion initiative to combat the nation's opioid epidemic on Wednesday. She wrote in a Medium post that the federal funding would be doled out over 10 years to provide state and local governments resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery.

Last month, Warren pitched a plan to offer universal free public college and cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt for nearly 45 million Americans. Her own campaign found the price tag to be $1.25 trillion, with eliminating tuition costing $610 billion and forgiving debts costing about $640 billion. The Urban Institute guessed the actual cost of forgiving debts was $955 billion, which would raise the price for the proposal to $1.565 trillion.

Warren's plan has been criticized as being favorable to the rich and universities.  Among other concerns, some policy analysts fear it could create an "arms race" of sorts that forces people to buy more education in a trend called "credential creep," which would wind up hurting lower-income Americans, particularly blacks and Hispanics. It could also cause universities to hike tuition costs.

"There is one big clear winner, and that's the universities," Heritage Foundation education policy official Lindsey Burke told the Free Beacon.

In February, Warren unveiled a $700-billion, 10-year plan to enact universal child care in which those making up to 200 percent of the poverty level would receive child care for free.

"The federal government will partner with local providers—states, cities, school districts, nonprofits, tribes, faith-based organizations—to create a network of child care options that would be available to every family," Warren wrote.

Warren has also expressed support for the Green New Deal put forward by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D., Mass.), which has an estimated price tag of up to $94 trillion over 10 years from the center-right American Action Forum, the Free Beacon reported:

Though Democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's (D., N.Y.) plan is vague on specifics, it calls for the "economic transformation" of the United States, a complete overhaul of transportation systems, and retrofitting every single building. A supplemental document explaining the plan, since deleted from her website after it was widely mocked on social media, called for economic security for everyone, even those "unwilling to work," the elimination of air travel, and "farting cows."

"I am a strong supporter of the Green New Deal," Warren said at a CNN town hall last month. "There are two principle reasons for that. The first reason that I'm a strong supporter is that it's a way to say urgency. Now, we cannot wait any longer. We have got to make change. That's how I hear this. The second part about the Green New Deal right now is that it calls for a huge investment in our infrastructure, and I think that's just absolutely critical. And when I say our infrastructure, it's about our green infrastructure, it's about our power infrastructure, but it's also about hardening our infrastructure."

Perhaps signaling that she isn't fully onboard with Ocasio-Cortez's "intersectional" aspects of the plan, Warren acknowledged in March it's in a "very broad" outline "because it's the front end of a conversation."

Warren is also a co-sponsor of Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) single-payer, Medicare for All legislation, which one study estimated would boost government spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years. She was vague about how she would reach that goal in a CNN town hall in March, saying there could be a role for private insurance companies going forward.

Warren introduced a bill meant to be a bridge to the eventual single-payer goal shared by progressives called the Consumer Health Insurance Protection Act. According to HuffPost, Warren acknowledged private health insurance was unlikely to vanish overnight even with a Democratic White House victory, and the bill was meant to further protections around the Affordable Care Act.

Warren is in the top tier of the crowded field of 2020 Democratic candidates, but she's still languishing far behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders in early polling.