Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren (D) has shown herself to be the greatest ally the average American family has in Washington. Her Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has, in just three years, returned around $4 billion to families cheated by the big banks. She’s an advocate for student loan reform and a champion for affordable healthcare for all Americans. And despite her insistence that she has no plans to run for president, there is a growing movement to get her on the 2016 ballot.
The senator recently sat down with Salon’s Thomas Frank for an interview about the political and economic disasters facing America today.
When asked if she still stood behind her famous 2012 comment that the “system is rigged” now that she’s working from the inside, Warren said:
“The system is rigged. And now that I’ve been in Washington and seen it up close and personal, I just see new ways in which that happens … it goes well beyond campaign contributions … It’s the armies of lobbyists and lawyers who are always at the table, who are always there to make sure that in every decision that gets made, their clients’ tender fannies are well protected. And when that happens … the system just gradually tilts further and further … there are very few people at the decision-making table to argue for minimum-wage workers. Very few people.”
Frank brought up the very obvious point that often times Americans seems to vote against their own interests (aka they vote Republican), Warren said part of the problem is that candidates don’t actually talk about the real issues anymore, so voters don’t always know where they stand.
“The differences between voting for two candidates should be really clear to every voter and it should be clear in terms of, who votes to raise the minimum wage and who doesn’t. Who votes to lower the interest rate on student loans and who doesn’t. Who votes to make sure women can’t get fired for asking how much a guy is making for doing the same job, and who doesn’t. There are these core differences that are about equality and opportunity. It can’t be that we don’t make a clear distinction. If we fail to make that distinction, then shame on us. That is my bottom line on this.”
Warren pointed out, after Frank noted his own disappointment in President Obama, that if it weren’t for him she didn’t believe the CFPB would even exist. She did, however, admit that Obama did pick his own economic team, and they had failed the American people.
“They protected Wall Street. Not families who were losing their homes. Not people who lost their jobs. Not young people who were struggling to get an education. And it happened over and over and over.”
Republicans claim to be the part of the working family, the party that stands up for the everyman, while claiming that the Democratic party is the party of the elite. Warren’s response to those claims was that, while the Democrats definitely haven’t done everything they could have, and they definitely need to do more, at least they’re trying.
“We’re the only ones fighting back. Right now, on financial reform, the Republicans are trying to roll back the financial reforms of Dodd-Frank. In fact, Mitch McConnell has announced that if he gets the majority in the Senate, his first objective is to repeal health care and his second is to roll back the financial reforms, and in particular to target the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau…”
Noting that the Right has had an advantage for about the past 30 years – “concentrated money and concentrated power” – and they have squeezed as much out of both as they possibly could, Warren concluded by saying,
“Look, there are two ways you can look at that. You can look at that and say, “Well, obviously, democracy doesn’t work.” Or the other way you can look at that is to say, “We have the opportunity. The moment is upon us.” We push back hard enough, we’re pushing for America’s agenda. Not an agenda to help a small group of people, an agenda to build a future for this country. And I believe we win. I believe it.”