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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

 
Chris Hayes asks the right questions, Elizabeth Warren gives the right answers.

by David Atkins

Chris Hayes and Elizabeth Warren had a great conversation. Chris Hayes rightly calls out the Democratic Party for failing to do enough about the decline of the middle class over the last 40 years, and Elizabeth Warren gives the right answers:



My favorite part of the conversation is this, wherein Warren explains the history of the struggling middle-class and the fundamentally broken and unsustainable economy in which we live.

WARREN: This isn't about me. This is about the issues, about what's happening to America's families. America's middle class, America's hard working families have been hammered on for a generation now. And it's not just one problem. It's one after another after another. They've been hit with flat wages or even slightly declining wages. And all the core expenses of being middle class, of housing, of healthcare, of what it costs to keep a child in daycare or send a kid to college, to medical care. All of those costs have shot through the roof. That has put a squeeze on these families. They sent as many people as they could into the workforce, in two-parent families, they sent both Mom and Dad or both Moms into the workforce, but it still wasn't enough. They turned to debt and then they were targeted by a credit industry that figured out you could make huge profits from lending to people who were already in a financial squeeze. And so what's happened is that America's middle class has just been under this enormous pressure, and parts of it are beginning to break apart. Our once steady, solid, almost dull middle class, that was the idea. We were so sure it would always be there. Pieces are starting to break away. Families can no longer say to their kids, "you're going to do better than I did." And that's what it is we have to attack.

HAYES: Senator, here's my question. The trend you're talking about and have been tracking and are trying to address in legislation like this and other pieces of legislation you've introduced, these are 30 to 40 year trends.

WARREN: Yep.

HAYES: I mean, we've seen this kind of system, this sort of version of American capitalism, and the Democratic Party has been in power during periods in which that has exacerbated. Democrats voted for the bankruptcy bill which you opposed strenuously. I don't know if Democrats have done enough to combat this. Has the Democratic Party focused enough on this core issue?

WARREN: Look, the question is what are we going to do going forward? We have to outline our priorities and we have to be willing to get in there and fight for them. And that's what all of this is about. It's about how we fight for our college kids, the ones who are trying to get an education and being crushed by student loan debt. It's about how we fight for seniors to protect Social Security and to help people get more money into retirement savings. And in this particular case with this bill, it's how we fight for people who have been hit with one economic blow or another and are out there trying to compete in the job market and just want a level playing field. You're right, the pieces come together because a lot is broken, and it's going to take a lot of pieces to get it fixed again.

The reason there's a big movement to draft Elizabeth Warren for President is simply that she gets it. She understands the history. She doesn't pay lip-service to the middle class while actually pushing for higher asset growth and broad social equality. She understands that the economy is fundamentally broken and requires big changes for the middle class to survive.




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