Elizabeth Warren was the future, once. Now that she’s entering the Democratic presidential primary, though, she’s a stale politician pushing stale policies that would preserve the status quo.
The Massachusetts senator has been the most eloquent and most consistent Democrat at arguing that the game is rigged today in America’s politics and economy. In announcing the first official stage of her presidential campaign on Monday, she spoke of problems such as inequality and then fired a shot at the culprits.
She hit close to the bull’s-eye: “The problem starts in Washington. Our government has been bought and paid for by a bunch of billionaires and giant corporations that think they get to dictate the rules that affect everyone.”
We agree wholeheartedly that Washington is a tool all too often controlled by billionaires and giant corporations.
We’ve also applauded some of Warren’s proposed lobbying reforms. She would bar Cabinet secretaries, congressmen, and senators from owning individual stocks. She would apply conflict-of-interest laws to the president and the vice president. She would extend the current short-term ban on lobbying by ex-members to a lifetime ban. All of these rules go straight at the mechanism whereby the powerful “get to dictate the rules that affect everyone,” in that these rules regulate government officials.
But after this is where Warren goes astray. Although she says the problem starts in Washington, with a “bought and paid for” government, she inexplicably wants to give the government more power.
Big government is a home game for big business. Who can better pocket the subsidies, game the rules, afford the regulations, shape the policies, and buy and pay for the politicians? Warren knows firsthand how big government serves the big and well-connected.
Warren touts her favored regulations by pointing out how much big business loves them. “Industry leading firms including Vanguard, TIAA, and Transamerica expressed their support for the rule,” Warren’s office bragged of her proposal to force stock brokers to adopt the business model these giants use. She actually held up the support of BlackRock and Capital One to demonstrate the virtue of her favored rule.
Warren has been a champion for the medical-device industry, as laid out in a 2015 Time magazine piece. “Warren’s coziness with those companies is now earning her criticism within her party, with one former Democratic Senate staffer describing some of her positions as ‘repulsive.’”
The military-industrial complex is another beneficiary of Warren’s big-government largesse, profiting from her support for export subsidies and defense earmarks.
Subsidy suckling big businesses aren’t the only elite beneficiaries of Warren’s big-government plans. On Monday, she mentioned student debt relief. That’s a subsidy for the elites, as the working class isn’t primarily going to college and data show that tuition subsidies don’t really lead to more working-class graduations from college.
Warren is not alone in portraying her politics-for-elites as populism. Everyone from former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, have played a similar game. That may be what sinks Warren: She’s old hat, now, in a party filled with younger, more interesting characters.
The whole party has tacked hard to the left. What seemed edgy about Warren in 2010 is now nothing out of the ordinary: more big government serving the well-connected.
The Washington Examiner