What was Elizabeth Warren thinking as Hillary Clinton formally announced her candidacy for President? What would Liz be saying if she was not a realistic and committed Democrat? Let’s channel the more aggressive, less practical side of the Massachusetts Senator, imagining what she might tweet. On the Sunday morning talk shows, Liz says she too is “ready for Hillary.” Perhaps she really is! The line that stood out most from Hillary’s announcement yesterday was: “the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.” That’s vintage Warren.
Nonetheless, here are five imaginary, edgy Warren tweets that were never sent. And won’t be.
1. Over more than two decades, the Clintons advanced and accelerated fundamental policies which have helped America edge closer to oligarchy than it’s been in more than a 100 years.
[Ed. Note: This process began well before the Clintons arrived on the scene. The U.S. is perhaps at a quarter to twelve on that clock; not yet mid night].
2. Bill and Hillary drank a lot of the post 1970s De-regulation Kool-Aid, some of which was sound and needed; but overall (in its zealotry) harmed a lot of average people.
[Ed.Note: The post 1970s De-regulation Movement, reversed a lot of Progressive era and New Deal policies aimed at (harmful) concentrations of wealth and power and protections for consumers and labor. While some deregulation fostered more competition, a good (rhetorical question) looms: “Is there a single example of consumer prices going down and market competition increasing after deregulation of a U.S. industry?”]
3. Speaking of deregulation, the Clintons were totally on board to gut decades old financial regulations in 1999 which had protected average people’s money from being squandered in risky big bank investments.
[Ed. Note: In 1999, Democrats led by Bill Clinton and Republicans by Senator Phil Gramm, repealed the Glass-Steagall Act, which had (among other things), separated commercial and investment banking. That enabled big banks to use the money of average people and (barely) middle class home buyers to make risky investments. The ensuing crash decimated the wealth in the middle. Repeal of Glass-Steagall was of course not the only reason for the crash, but it played a big part].
4. The Clintons have been gung-ho NAFTA style free traders, and brought a lot of other Democrats with them. The form of free trade they supported helped decimate the wages and benefits of U.S. workers.
[Ed. Note: For U.S. multinational companies, in particular, NAFTA has been a way to keep a lid on worker wages and benefits, and avoid thorny regulations (which presumably restrain trade). This is not your father’s, nor David Ricardo and Adam Smith, Classic Free Trade. There is evidence that trade pacts help nations avoid conflict. That’s good. But that has costs which need to be borne by all of society, not just average people].
5. Clintonian Welfare Reform left many poor people with no work or low wage, subsistence jobs. Democrats’ support for “welfare reform” helped feed Republican ideology around “free-loading” and Romney’s 47 percent theory.
[Ed. Note: New Deal and Great Society welfare (public assistance) needed to be reformed. But Clinton policies were long on getting people off welfare rolls (and maybe into work), and short on providing the right training (or apprenticeships) to find decent paying jobs. These are the main criticisms of Clinton welfare reform. Arguments that trumpet the policy’s success are represented here].
Channeling Elizabeth Warren’s aggressive side as it might view the Clinton presidential candidacy was a revelation. It was soon clear that most of the words pouring out didn’t do a very good job of separating Hillary from Bill. Is that sexist? And unfair? Perhaps both, though surely not intentionally.
The problem is that we don’t know very much about Hillary’s position on wage stagnation, inequality, financial sector regulation, free trade, the condition of the middle class, and many other core and defining financial and economic issues of our time.
That’s partly because Hillary dealt mostly in foreign affairs during the years these issues have been front and center. But she has also avoided saying much about them, beyond high level generalities. She won’t be able to continue doing that much longer.
If she watched the video announcing Hillary’s presidential run, am sure that Warren appreciated her saying “the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.” That is, indeed, vintage Warren! But it still falls in the platitudinous category. It will be fascinating to see how the cross word puzzle is filled-in over the next twenty months.