Elizabeth Warren keeps getting whacked by the right for proposing big, bold public programs. The latest is universal, high-quality child care.
But take a close look, and you’ll see that Warren’s program is actually a bit more modest than the proposed Mondale-Brademas Comprehensive Child Development Act of 1971. That act was passed by both houses, overwhelmingly in the Senate, and was ultimately vetoed by President Nixon.
In the proposed 1971 act, subsidy and certification of a range of local arrangements were viewed as a way-station to universal public child care. In the nearly five decades since then, a wide range of makeshift arrangements have taken root, from family daycare to church basements. These will be hard to displace with a full public program. Thus Warren’s supposedly “radical” bill is less radical than the consensus bill of 1971.
So we’ve had five lost decades of right-wing dominance, with five decades of deferring what the public really wants if given the option. Only with the allegedly radical leadership of figures like Warren and Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown are we at last heading back to the future that most Americans want.