Presidential Candidate Paper: Elizabeth Warren

Kevin McLeod
GOV346, Political Parties

She became known as an expert on bankruptcy law and began consulting on policy for the FDIC and Congress. She led the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and President Obama considered her to lead it, but congressional resistance in the GOP led to another selection.

She was a registered Republican herself until 1996, but began voting for Democrats in 1995, and eventually became one. She was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2012 – first woman from Massachusetts to be elected Senator. Joe Biden swore her in.

She has served on four congressional committees, where is where most of Congress’ grunt work happens, including the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the Special Committee on Aging, and seven related subcommittees.

She introduced Bank on Student Loans Fairness Act, which would allow students to take out government education loans at the same rate – 0.75% – that banks paid to borrow from the federal government during the 2008 bailout.

She was re-elected to the Senate in 2018.

During her 2020 presidential campaign, she has introduced several concrete policy plans, more than any other candidate. They list specific details and include funding mechanisms.

The Real Corporate Profits Tax would only apply to companies reporting over $100 million in profits, which affect just 1200 of the most profitable firms in the USA as of 2018. Profits below $100 million are taxed the same as they are now. Every dollar of profit above $100 million, the corporation will pay a 7% tax.

The Universal Child Care and Early Learning Proposal provides free, federally funded day care at local care centers and Head Start-style programs for any family that makes less than 200% of the federal poverty line.

For families over that threshold, rates that are capped at no more than 7% of family income. This translates to basically free care to families earning 50K or less and care at a 50-60% discount for households earning more than $50K/yr. The bill would be funded by an Ultra-Millionaire Tax on people with over $50 million net worth, generating $2.75 trillion over 10years. This would open up child care for 12 million kids, over twice the number of children in formal paid child care now.

The Family Farm Plan would break up the large corporate farming businesses, re-establish farmers’ right to repair their own equipment, introduce new country-of-origin rules for beef and pork and block foreign ownership of American farmland.

Warren’s Public Parks Plan would ban drilling for oil on public lands and set a goal of generating 10% of our overall electricity needs from renewable sources like solar and wind. This would be done offshore or on public lands. The plan would restore protections for two million acres of public lands that Trump removed and fully fund land management programs.

The centerpiece of the bill is the creation of a 21st Century Civilian Conservation Corps with 10,000 young people and vets, funded by bumping up AmeriCorps’ one-year fellowship program budget. It would also make entrance to all national parks free.

Her Affordable Housing Plan invests $500 billion over the next ten years to construct, restore and rebuild affordable housing for lower-income families. It reduces public rental costs by 10% over the next ten years and creates 1.5 million new jobs.

It lowers the for estate inheritance taxes from $22 million or more to $7 million. It raises taxes on properties above $7 million in value, which would affect 14,000 of the wealthiest families each year. Warren claims a Moody’s analysis reports this tax would fully cover the cost of the plan.

It also plows $500 million into rural housing programs, $2.5 billion into the Indian Housing Block Grant and the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant to build or rehab 200,000 homes on tribal land. Four billion goes to a new Middle-Class Housing Emergency Fund to support construction of new housing for middle-class renters where severe housing supply shortages exist.

It would deregulate zoning by eliminating rules for minimum lot sizes and parking requirements. These regulations raise costs for building new housing and prevent families from moving to areas with better career and school choices. States would be required to deregulate before applying for funds from a $10 billion competitive block grant program geared toward building parks, roads and schools.

She has proposed anti-corruption legislation through a series of bills aimed at reducing the influence of lobbyists, providing greater transparency on who is lobbying for what, and getting rid of the “revolving door” between the public and private sector.

Her Too Big To Jail Act would impose mandatory criminal penalties for fraud and wrongdoing by financial executives.

She has written three books, two of them campaign-related: “This Fight is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America’s Middle Class”, “A Fighting Chance” and a textbook, “Chapter 11: Reorganizing American Businesses”. Two of her titles were published in the academic press by Oxford and Yale. She has co-authored six other books.

Reason for Running

She says in her stump speech that her central motivation is driven by “…one central question: What’s happening to working families?” and describes change with a simple comparison between the ability of a single mother to support a child decades ago and now.

The emphasis is on working families and the middle class. She walks through her own upbringing. It wasn’t cushy. She’s comfortable now, but says the experience oriented her entire career – working out how finance works, how it affects working people, and how to mitigate and prevent the negative effects.

She has campaigned twice before for a Massachusetts Senate seat, winning both times. This is her first presidential election. She is going into it with friends. Supporters include her fellow Senators and congressmen from Massachusetts, Senator Ed Markey and Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III – who also happens to be one of her former law school students. Other MA public officials joined the chorus, and other notables supporting her are Hillary Clinton (Warren campaigned for Clinton during her run), Madeline Albright, Sally Yates, and Donna Shalala.

Her largest contributors are Emily’s List, Harvard, WomenCount PAC, University of California and Brown Rudnick LLP. By field, her financial support comes from retirees, generally Dem/Liberal voters, educators, lawyers and women’s issue groups. has an updated list of official Democratic candidate endorsements with
weighted scores, attributed to perceived value of the endorsements, i.e., a former president or national party leader’s endorsement counts for more than one from a state legislator. At this writing Warren ranks 5.