One of my favorite people in the whole world, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, dropped by the Netroots Nation conference yesterday in Detroit to talk about banking reform, the threat of oligarchy, the fight to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and those things that she feels that we, as Progressives, are ready to fight for. My video is below, but here’s a bit of the transcript.
…We can’t win what we won’t fight for, and it will be a hard fight. Today, many powerful companies look for any way they can to boost their profits and their CEO bonuses. They try to run more efficient companies. They try to grow faster. They try to beat out the competition. But many of them have another plan. They use their money and their connections to try to capture Washington, and rig the rules in their favor. From tax policy to retirement security, those with power fight to make sure that every rule tilts in their favor. Everyone else just gets left behind. That’s what we’re up against. That’s what democracy is up against.
Just look at the big banks. They cheated American families, crashed the economy, got bailed out, and now the biggest banks are even bigger that they were when they were too big to fail in 2008. They still swagger through Washington, blocking reforms and pushing around agencies… A kid get caught with a few ounces of pot and goes to jail, but a big bank launders drug money and no one gets arrested… The game is rigged! It is rigged!
But it isn’t just the big banks. Look at the choices that the federal government makes right now. Our college kids are getting crushed by student loan debt. We need to rebuild our roads and bridges, up rage our power grid. We need to more investment in medical research and scientific research. But, instead of building a future, this country is bleeding billions of dollars from tax loopholes and subsidies that go to rich and powerful corporations.Billion dollar companies take advantage of every benefit they can squeeze out of the American government, and then they put together sleazy deals with foreign countries so that the can renounce their American citizenship and pay no taxes… Billionaires pay taxes at lower rates than their secretaries.
How does this happen? It happens because they all have lobbyists… lobbyists and Republican friends in Congress… lobbyists and Republicans to protect every loophole and every privilege. The game is rigged, and it isn’t right. It is not right.
Take a look at what happens with trade deals. For big corporations, trade negotiations are like Christmas morning. They can get special gifts through trade negotiations that they could never get through (through other means). How does that happen? Because trade negotiations are held in secret so that big corporations can do their work behind closed doors. Giant corporations get insider access to promote their interests while worker rights and environmental regulations are just gutted. From what I hear, Wall Street companies, pharmaceuticals, telecoms, big polluters, and outsourcers are all smacking their lips at the possibility of rigging the upcoming trade negotiations.
Now stop and ask yourselves, “Why are trade deals secret?” I’ve actually heard supporter say, “They have to be secret, because, if people knew what was going on, they would be opposed.” It’s true. Well, my view is, if people would be opposed, then we shouldn’t have those trade deals.
The tilt in the playing field is everywhere. When the conservatives talk about opportunity, they mean the opportunity for the rich to get richer and the powerful to get more powerful. They don’t mean opportunities for a young person with $100,000 in student loan debt to try to build a future. They don’t mean opportunities for someone out of work to get back on their feet. They don’t mean opportunities for someone who worked hard all of her life to retire with dignity… The game is rigged…
So, the way I see it is this. We could whine about it. We could whimper about it. Or we can fight back… I’m fighting back.
This is a fight over economics. A fight over privilege. But, deep down, it is a fight over values. Conservatives and their powerful friends will continue to be guided by their internal motto, “I got mine, the rest of you are you’re on your own.” Well, we’re guided by principle. And it’s a pretty simple idea. We do better when we work together, and invest in building a future.
We know that this economy grown when hard-working families have the opportunity to improve their lives. We know that this country gets stronger when we invest in helping people succeed. We know that our lives improve when we care for our neighbors and we help build a future not just for some of our kids, but for all of our kids. That’s what we believe! These are Progressive ideas. These are Progressive values. These are America’s values. And these are the values that we are willing to fight for…
(As progressives) we believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we’re willing to fight for it! We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect the earth, and we will fight for it! We believe that the internet shouldn’t be rigged to benefit big corporations, and we should have real net neutrality, and we will fight for it! We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage, and we are willing to fight for it! We believe that students are entitled to get an education without begin crushed by debt, and we are willing to fight for it! We believe that after a lifetime of work, people are entitled to retire with dignity, and that means protecting social security, medicare and pensions, and we will fight for it! And… I can’t believe I have to say this in 2014… We believe in equal pay for equal work, and we are willing to fight for it! We believe that equal means equal, and that’s true in marriage, it’s true in the workplace, it’s true in all of America, and we will fight for it! We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and we will fight for it! And we believe that corporation are not people (unintelligible), and we will fight for it!
I know that she’s said that she wouldn’t run, but I think that sounds like a pretty good Presidential platform right there… What do you think?