- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 27, 2020

While the political jockeying gets more attention, candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential race are advancing serious policy proposals. The Washington Times takes a weekly look at some of them that may have flown under the radar.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Sunday released a plan that would legalize marijuana nationwide and expand rights for proprietors in the burgeoning cannabis industry.

Ms. Warren said that if Congress won’t go along, she’ll take what action she can through executive authority by directing agencies within her first 100 days in office to start the process of de-listing marijuana as a “Schedule I” drug, where it’s currently classified alongside drugs such as heroin and PCP.

“Legalizing marijuana and erasing past convictions won’t fully end the War on Drugs or address its painful legacy, but it’s a needed step in the right direction,” she said on her campaign website.

Ms. Warren also said she would protect immigrants with prior convictions for non-violent drug offenses from the threat of deportation and ensure they’re eligible for a path to U.S. citizenship.



She also would boost federal funding for marijuana research and support “tribal sovereignty” to write their own drug laws.

Ms. Warren also wants to protect banking access for people who want to start cannabis-related businesses and invest in female- and minority-owned cannabis businesses with tax revenue collected from regulated marijuana businesses.

Sanders on pre-K and child care

Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont on Monday released a proposal to guarantee child care for all children “from infancy” and pre-K starting at age 3.

The child care would be at least 10 hours a day and would involve programs operating at times for parents who work “non-traditional hours,” according to his campaign.

“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,” said Mr. Sanders, the Democratic presidential front-runner.

As part of the plan, Mr. Sanders also wants to double funding for a home visiting program for families in low-income communities, pass universal school-meal legislation, and more than double the number of early childhood educators in the country.

His campaign said his tax on “extreme” wealth can help generate $1.5 trillion over the next decade for universal child care and early education.

Biden on housing

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Monday released a $640 billion plan his campaign said is aimed at providing every American with “access” to affordable housing.

It would establish a $100 billion “affordable housing fund” for construction and upgrades, among other provisions.

The plan includes a new bill of rights for renters and homeowners and says Mr. Biden will end “redlining,” a practice in which banks tried to avoid loaning money to certain neighborhoods, often with high percentages of black residents.

The plan also includes a refundable tax credit of up to $15,000 to help first-time homebuyers and funding for the Section 8 housing voucher program to try to prevent any family from spending more than 30% of their income on rent.

Mr. Biden also wants to expand a federal program that provides housing benefits for law enforcement officers, firefighters, and public school teachers who commit to living a certain amount of time in impoverished neighborhoods.

The plan would be paid for in part by raising taxes on corporations and big financial institutions.

Buttigieg on taxes

Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Monday released a plan that would expand popular tax breaks for families while raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

Mr. Buttigieg wants to expand the child and earned income tax credits and repeal a new cap on state and local tax deductions that was part of the 2017 GOP tax-cut law.

He also wants to raise the “total effective tax rate” on millionaires from 31% to 49%, returning to pre-Reagan era rates.

“As president, I will rebalance our economy so it works for all Americans, hold Wall Street and corporations accountable, and bring fairness to our tax system so we can lift millions out of poverty and into greater opportunity,” Mr. Buttigieg said.

His campaign estimated that raising taxes on corporations, Wall Street, and the “top 2%” over the next 10 years would generate at least $9 trillion in revenue.

He also wants to impose a 0.1% tax on stock and securities trades and increase taxes on corporate earnings abroad.

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