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Elizabeth Warren has already put out a flurry of policy proposals in her bid for 2020, and now the “woman with a plan” is about to deluge us with new plans to bring “fundamental, structural changes” to the American economy.
To get the ball rolling on her vision for economic policymaking, Warren says she will get rid of the Commerce Department and replace it with the so-called U.S. Department for Economic Development, which would also subsume the Small Business Administration and the Patent and Trademark Office. The idea is to streamline numerous government programs into a single super-powered office with one goal: creating and defending American jobs.
“We should put all of these offices and programs in the same place, get rid of the ones that are redundant or don’t work, and bring the rogue ones to heel — to make it clear that the unified mission of the federal government is to promote sustainable, middle-class American jobs,” Warren wrote in her announcement of the coming plans.
Right now, there are 58 programs in 11 federal agencies specific to American manufacturing and at least nine offices in five agencies for trade policy. Not to mention, Warren notes, the 47 employment and training programs that are part of nine different federal agencies. The Democratic senator from Massachusetts promised to unveil numerous longer individual plans for the American economy that would function under this revamped system, including policy proposals for trade and Wall Street.
“All of these proposals will share this common vision for economic policymaking in America,” Warren said.
A senator since 2013 with an extensive background in law, Warren has distinguished herself as the policy candidate in the 2020 Democratic pack, unleashing a slew of detailed plans, including a wealth tax on the hyper-rich, a massive college-debt forgiveness program, free public college, universal childcare, allowing the federal government to manufacture prescription drugs, breaking up tech giants like Facebook and Amazon, the elimination of the filibuster, an affordable housing plan, and the abolition of the Electoral College. But her just-announced economic plan promises to be among her most ambitious policy undertakings yet.
Warren, who has gained momentum in recent polling, aims for the economy to be fueled by green manufacturing — more about that below — but she says all her plans on that front will prioritize “aggressive intervention on behalf of American workers.” Some of her proposed tactics for boosting the American economy for workers:
• Attacking currency manipulation, which Warren says is one of the most significant factors in the U.S. trade deficit;
• Increasing federal research and development investment, with stipulations that federally funded research takes place in the U.S. and products that result from the programs be manufactured in the U.S.;
• Requiring the federal government to purchase American-made goods whenever possible;
• Restructuring worker training programs by, for one example, boosting the annual $200 million allotted for apprenticeship programs to $20 billion.
Warren’s plan for green manufacturing
Warren’s first big undertaking for her new economic plans is all about green manufacturing, as one part of a larger Green New Deal to stop the escalating global climate crisis that is set to become irreversible, according to climate scientist, in a little over a decade. She’s calling for a $2 trillion investment in the next decade in green research and manufacturing. The plan has three main legs:
• Green Apollo Program: With a name that’s an obvious wink at the space race, Warren says that $400 billion will need to be invested in clean energy research in development in the next 10 years, a more than tenfold increase. While Warren’s bringing the axe to numerous federal agencies, her Green Apollo would create the National Institutes for Clean Energy.
• Green Industrial Mobilization: Warren wants to use the federal procurement process — by which the government identifies goods and services needed and how it purchases them — and pouring $1.5 trillion into that process to spur U.S. development of green technology and products that the government will use. (Warren contrasts this idea with the U.S.’s current plan to spend a “bloated” $1.5 trillion on defense in the next decade.)
• Green Marshall Plan: Warren’s creating another new federal office that's entirely dedicated to selling U.S. renewable and emission-free products abroad and allotting $100 billion to help foreign countries implement U.S. green tech. The plan shares the namesake with the U.S.’ economic plan to rebuild Western Europe after World War II.
Warren contracted Moody’s Analytics for a third-party risk assessment of her climate proposal. The firm determined that the plan will have “meaningful macroeconomic benefits” by adding to the U.S.’s GDP and creating jobs.
Also on Tuesday, Warren’s 2020 opponent Joe Biden, among the most centrist of the presidential contenders, unveiled his own surprisingly ambitious climate plan.
“On day one, Biden will sign a series of new executive orders with unprecedented reach that go well beyond the Obama-Biden administration platform and put us on the right track,” his campaign wrote. “He will not only recommit the United States to the Paris Agreement on climate change — he will go much further.”
Biden’s plan calls for a $1.7 trillion federal investment over 10 years into clean energy and environmental justice programs, and it requires the U.S. to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 — the same deadline set by climate experts and the Green New Deal.
Cover: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., addresses a campaign rally at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Thursday, May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)