A video of newly elected Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren went viral this past week. No, she wasn’t doing the Harlem Shake, but she did something equally amazing by taking charge at a Senate hearing and asking top officials a simple question: “When did you last take a Wall Street bank to trial?”
The answer, of course, is that they haven’t taken any to trial. Warren already knew this fact, but good on her for make U.S. officials squirm and confirm this fact for the record. After campaigning on a platform of representing the middle class and challenging the big banks, it’s great to see her beginning to follow through so quickly.
This was hardly the first time Warren said something worth getting excited about. Here are eight other terrific Warren quotations that give us hope that she’ll pursue real economic reform in Washington:
1. “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You build a factory out there – good for you! But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for; you didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory… Now look: you built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea – God bless, keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” – on the campaign trail, 2011
2. “You know, I want to turn to these guys [Wall Street execs] sometimes, and I want to say, ‘What part of ‘we bailed you out’ do you not get?’ These are people who would not have their jobs because they would not have their companies.” – The Daily Show, 2010
3. “I’m not looking for my next job – I figure that is the biggest liberator in Washington humanly possible… I’m not going so that I can create a long and illustrious career in the Senate. I’m going to make change.” – New York Magazine, 2011
4. “The reality is Congress is about to write the rules of our economic system that will guide us for the next fifty years. If they get it right, we’re good. If they get it wrong, the country we know will be gone… This is democracy, and if we the people don’t insist that those who are in Washington represent us, then they’ll go back to the same rules that benefit the same large financial institutions. And frankly, at that point, we’re all just working for the big banks.“ - NOW Economics Series interview, 2010
5. “We’re going to fight for a level playing field and we’re going to put people back to work. That’s what we’re going to do. To all the small business owners who are tired of a system rigged against them: we’re going to hold the big guys accountable… To all the young people who did everything right and are drowning in debt: we’re going to invest in you… To all the women… who are working your tails [off], you better believe we’re going to fight for equal pay for equal work.” – Senate victory speech, 2012
6. “No, Governor Romney, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they cry, they dance. They live, they love, and they die. And that matters. That matters because we don’t run this country for corporations, we run it for people.” – Democratic National Convention, 2012
7. “Look around. Oil companies guzzle down the billions in profits. Billionaires pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries, and Wall Street CEOs – the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs – still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors and acting like we should thank them.” - Democratic National Convention, 2012
8. “It is impossible to buy a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house. But it is possible to refinance an existing home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting the family out on the street –and the mortgage won’t even carry a disclosure of that fact to the homeowner. Similarly, it’s impossible to change the price on a toaster once it has been purchased. But long after the papers have been signed, it is possible to triple the price of the credit used to finance the purchase of that appliance, even if the customer meets all the credit terms, in full and on time. Why are consumers safe when they purchase tangible consumer products with cash, but when they sign up for routine financial products like mortgages and credit cards they are left at the mercy of their creditors?” – Democracy (journal), 2007
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