In 2013, freshman Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) became the voice of the income inequality movement. She has taken on Wall Street and government banking deregulation, calling for major reforms in the American financial system. Now, the Democrats have announced a new fight against income inequality.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) announced that Senate Democrats will shift their focus on income inequality. Dems believe that this refocus will be beneficial in sealing the 2014 off-year elections. Reid’s deputy, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), reasserted the calls of Reid and Pope Francis regarding income inequality.
“[Francis] warned that income inequality leads to, in his words, ‘an economy of exclusion and inequality, and a globalization of indifference,'” Durbin said. “There are people who got up and went to work today, and will go to work tomorrow and work every single day, work very hard, and despite their best efforts, they’re not making enough money to live to the next paycheck.”
The gap between the rich and the lower- and middle-classes has been widening, and that’s what Democrats seek to address. Democrats want to focus on job creation, insurance, and raising the minimum wage. However, simply raising the minimum wage won’t cure the income inequality plague. Democrats need to target Wall Street to make any effective change in income inequality.
Warren gained a lot of notoriety in 2013. She fought for student loan reform, urged for just punishment against Wall Street criminals, and more recently backed a bill to abolish pre-employment credit checks. Upon her election last year, she was highly noted by her support of a stronger Volcker Rule and Glass-Steagall Act revisions, and being the creator of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
A former bankruptcy law professor at the Harvard School of Law, Warren certainly has the knowledge required of someone engaged in her pursuits, and financial reform has become the mainstay of her political platform.
Reid’s call to action is in progressive Democrats’ wheelhouse. Democrats would do well to put Warren on the battlefront, if not lead it. Not only does she have the knowledge to take up the fight, but she has the sand to keep income inequality a relevant topic and the fang to make Wall Street nervous.
Joshua de Leon is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.