The PJ Tatler

Warren: Things Were Great Until the 1980s

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a potential dark horse challenger to Hillary Clinton in 2016, writes in her new book, A Fighting Chance, that the political system is “rigged to work for those who have money and power” in Washington.

“Big corporations, hire armies of lobbyists to get billion dollar loopholes into the tax system and persuade their friends in Congress to support laws that keep the playing field tilted in their favor,” she writes.

On MSNBC last night, she argued that America was able to “build a strong and robust middle class, really basically from the Great Depression until about the 1980s.”

“And then you hit the 1980s. And instead it starts to shift. The Republicans say, you know, what we really have to do is we’ve got to open up a bunch of tax loopholes and the way we’re going to pay for that is we’re going to cut back on what we spend on educating our kids. We’re going to cut back on funding basic infrastructure, those roads and bridges and power grids that let businesses get started and move forward. We’re going to cut back on funding basic research in this country, that great pipeline of ideas that had built so much innovation and creation,” Warren said.

“…So, what happens? The American government says we’re going to lend you the money to go to college, but they don’t actually spell out what’s going to happen next. You’re going to pay back the cost of the funds. You’re going to pay back the bad debts, covering that, the administrative costs.”

The senator said the student loan system is set up “so that the United States government can make tens of billions of dollars in profits off the backs of our kids. That is obscene.”

Warren said she wants to pay down student loan debt by passing the Buffett Rule. “The United States government can invest, it can invest in billionaires by saying keep those big tax loopholes. Or it can invest in people who are frying trying to get an education,” she added.

Student loan legislation was her first bill since coming to the Senate, but she said she’ll introduce a tweaked version next time around to try to make it more palatable and increase its chance of passage — at least in the upper chamber.