Elizabeth Warren Formally Enters Presidential Race

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren is the latest entrant into an already crowded field for the Democratic nomination.

Less than a month and a half after announcing the formation of Presidential Exploratory Committee, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren formally entered the race for President yesterday with a campaign kickoff in her home state:

LAWRENCE, Mass. — Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts formally announced her 2020 presidential bid Saturday, calling for “fundamental change” on behalf of working people and arguing that President Trump is “just the latest and most extreme symptom of what’s gone wrong in America.”

Speaking on a clear, chilly day against a backdrop of old red brick mill buildings at the site of one of the nation’s most famous labor strikes, she said workers now, like workers then, had had enough. She said that replacing Mr. Trump, whose administration she called “the most corrupt in living memory,” was only the first step in fighting back against a system tilted in favor of the wealthy.

“It won’t be enough to just undo the terrible acts of this administration,” Ms. Warren said. “We can’t afford to just tinker around the edges — a tax credit here, a regulation there. Our fight is for big, structural change.”

The selection of Lawrence was symbolic: In 1912, a historic labor strike was started by a group of women at Everett Mill, where Ms. Warren made her announcement. The senator drew on the strike as a story of women, many of them immigrants, taking on a stacked system and triumphing by gaining raises, overtime and other benefits.

Ms. Warren described the American economy as similarly tilted against the middle class, with wealth and political power concentrated at the top.

“Today, millions and millions and millions of American families are also struggling to survive in a system that’s been rigged, rigged by the wealthy and the well-connected,” Ms. Warren said. She added: “Like the women of Lawrence, we are here to say enough is enough!”

Ms. Warren, 69, who took the stage to the Dolly Parton song “9-to-5,” described her own journey, growing up as the daughter of a janitor and going on to become a law professor and a senator. As a scholar of bankruptcy law, she explained, she had studied how the opportunities she was afforded had narrowed in recent decades, as the rich became richer and the middle class was squeezed.

She said that the current rising generation of young people could be the first in which a majority were worse off economically than their parents, while the rich “seem to break the rules and pay no price.” In response, the crowd began to shout, “Enough is enough!”

When they quieted, Ms. Warren said, “When I talk about this, some rich guys scream, ‘Class warfare!’ Well, let me tell you something: These same rich guys have been waging class warfare against hard-working people for decades. I say it’s time to fight back!”

Ms. Warren touted proposals aimed at diminishing the financial industry’s power in Washington and cited her proposed wealth tax, which she called an “ultra-millionare tax.”

“When government works only for the wealthy and the well-connected, that is corruption plain and simple,” she said, adding, “Our fight is to change the rules so that our government, our economy and our democracy work for everyone.”

Ms. Warren also received important endorsements Saturday from Senator Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts; Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III of Massachusetts, her former law student; and from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee.

While Warren probably could have afforded to wait a little bit longer before formally entering the race, she was no doubt motivated in no small part by the fact that the race for the Democratic nomination has taken off in a big way in the new year. Over just the past six weeks, we’ve seen a number of candidates, we have seen a number of candidates, including Kirsten GillibrandJulian CastroTulsi GabbardKamala Harris, and Cory Booker, enter the race. Additionally, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is expected to enter the race later today and other candidates, such as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, former Vice-President Joe Biden, and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, are expected to announce their plans by the end of the month. Counting Warren, that makes for ten candidates in the race before the end of February alone, and that doesn’t include long-shot candidates like South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Maryland Congressman John Delaney, who have also announced that they are running. With the prospect of other candidates who could be entering the race, that makes for field nearly as crowded as the one Republicans had in 2016. Given that, it was a wise move for Warren to formally get into the race sooner rather than later.

Warren enters the race roughly in the middle of the pack according to the most recent polls, which is somewhat surprising given the fact that there was strong support for the idea of her entering into the race back in 2016. Part of that at least appears to be due to the fact that the Biden and Sanders are, for understandable reasons, dominating the early polling among Democrats and Warren finds herself having to compete for support among the progressives that she appeals to against not just Sanders, but also other candidates such as Harris and Booker, as well as other potential candidates such as Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, who is apparently also considering getting in the race. Additionally, the momentum that Warren might have enjoyed from her early decision to form an exploratory committee has been blunted by the controversies that continue to plague her regarding her claim of Native American heritage in the past.While it’s unclear how much this actually matters to Democratic primary voters, it’s something that her campaign has clearly mishandled, and it is notable primarily because Democratic voters looking at 2020 appear to be focused primarily on the candidate most able to beat the President rather than the one they agree with the most.

In any case, Warren enters the race a somewhat wounded candidate, but it is still early in the race so it’s always possible she’ll be able to put all that behind her.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. MarkedMan says:

    It will be interesting to see how she handles the Indian Ancestry swift boating that is going on. If she continues to operate in Kerry mode, i.e. defense, defense, defense, it bodes very ill for her long term prospects.

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  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    Doug, I’d be interested in your view of the constitutionality of Warren’s wealth tax. My own non-lawyer sense is that it’d require an amendment and anyone who starts out with, ‘First, we amend the constitution,’ just elicits eyerolls.

    I am genuinely ready to let progressives have their day, but they’ve got to stop talking nonsense. There is absolutely zero chance that we can make the US zero-emissions in 10 years, as AOC’s Green New Deal proposes. Even getting close will require increasing nuclear power bigly, and ten years wouldn’t get past the environmental studies and the attendant lawsuits.

    Dear progressives: you can have more of my money in taxes, but you’ve got to stop bullshitting me. If I wanted to be lied to I’d be a Republican. Their lies let me keep my money.

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  3. Eric Florack says:

    Swiftboating? I think not.
    It comes down to one question. If White privilege exists, why is it she tried to pass yourself off as an Indian?

    will she give back all of the scholarships and awards that she was given while people were willing to accept the idea that she was in fact an Indian?

    And by the way, what else was she lying about?

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  4. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Eric Florack:
    This from a man who has gobbled up 8,000 Trump lies without so much as a burp.

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  5. CSK says:

    In Cedar Rapids this morning, Warren said, “By the time we get to 2020, Donald Trump may not even be President. In fact, he may not even be a free person.”

    Look for an explosion of rage tweets from Trump.

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  6. @Michael Reynolds:

    Outside of the general idea I haven’t seen anything specific enough about it to have an opinion. However, it does seem that there could be some Constitutional impediments to a tax that was based on “wealth” rather than income.

    Prior to the adoption of the 16th Amendment, Congress was only authorized to impose taxes on the basis of “capitation,” meaning that it had to be equally apportioned among the states based on population. The 16th Amendment changed that portion of the Article I to allow for taxation of “income.”

    Taxing wealth rather than income would not appear to be authorized by the 16th Amendment, and it would not appear to otherwise by authorized by the Constitution. This article has a pretty good summary of the legal arguments against the idea.

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  7. Gustopher says:

    @Eric Florack: Did you just acknowledge that the Swiftboat Veterans For Truth were a bunch of lying liars?

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  8. Tyrell says:

    What will Senator Warren do to help the middle class working people out here? How about a tax cut? She talks about the big banks, but my credit card rates are still too high. The middle class people need a break.
    We need energy research that will bring new innovations and cost saving ideas (ion engine, nuclear fusion pants), not some sort of energy plans that put more taxes, carbon fees, and regulations on the people and businesses.
    There needs to be government reform and modernizing of the various departments and agencies: get rid of the Tandy computers, typewriters, and rotary dial phones. Cut out waste and fraud; run government more like a business. And let’s think about term limits for members of Congress.

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  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Tyrell:
    A tax cut? I hate to break it to you, but struggling working folk don’t pay much at all in federal income taxes. The middle class gets hit much harder by real estate taxes, state sales and income taxes, and of course payroll taxes, eg. Social Security and Medicare.

    What Warren is talking about is taxing the wealth, not the income but the wealth (property, investments) of the super rich precisely to ease life for people closer to the bottom of the economic totem pole.

    The Green New Deal (AOC’s thing) is about raising taxes on the incomes of the super rich to pay for just what you’re talking about: serious investments in energy research and deployment of green technologies.

    You should read some of the progressive’s ideas, you’d find you agree with a lot of it, maybe more of it than I do.

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Thanks. Yeah, that’s my read as well though IANAL. I’m frankly not thrilled with the idea that the USG can simply tax (take) people’s property.

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  10. Mister Bluster says:

    …my credit card rates are still too high.
    So why are you borrowing the money?

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  11. Mister Bluster says:

    …term limits for members of Congress.

    Fifteen States, AZ AK CA CO FL LA ME MI MO MT NE NV OH OK SD, have term limits on members of their legislatures.
    If anyone can demonstrate to me that the laws passed out of these chambers are somehow wiser and more efficient than laws passed by the other 35 State assemblies, I will consider that term limits on members of the United States Congress (that’s the Senate and the House of Representatives Gee Nose) might be worthwhile.

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  12. Gustopher says:

    @Tyrell:

    What will Senator Warren do to help the middle class working people out here? How about a tax cut? She talks about the big banks, but my credit card rates are still too high. The middle class people need a break.

    I invite you to read up about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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  13. Gustopher says:

    Warren is my favorite of the announced or likely candidates, but she has to figure out how to move past the heritage question.

    Every one of our candidates is going to have something like this. I’m worried about anyone who doesn’t have it pop up in the primaries, as we won’t see how they handle it.

    I think she should go in the gutter, myself, and give him a stupid nickname. “Small-fingered gentleman from Queens” is a bit wordy, but touches all his nerves. Let the press bemoan the pettiness on all sides in the Trump Era.

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  14. Mister Bluster says:

    Self confessed sexual pervert is fewer words and more to the point.

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  15. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:

    In an odd way, I think you have to be as hopelessly vulgar as Trump is to get away with that. And it only seems to appear to his base anyway.

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  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: And I’d be willing to bet that there’s not any less institutional corruption, either.

    ETA: @Gustopher: I’d go with small-fingered wastrel heir from Queens, myself. Or Pseudo Manhattan captain of industry wannabe maybe.

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  17. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Or, how about “Little bankrupt Donald?”

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  18. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher:

    Warren is my favorite of the announced or likely candidates, but she has to figure out how to move past the heritage question.

    I think it’s worse than that. She’s my clear favorite in terms of her positions, but the heritage controversy–however bogus and overblown it may be–has not given me confidence in her abilities as a candidate. She’s apologizing way too much, when she really did nothing wrong beyond being a bit too credulous about her family lore (though who hasn’t been?). She’s had multiple opportunities to set the record straight, and she just continues digging a bigger hole. Once you’re apologizing, you’re losing.

    I keep seeing the specter of Al Gore and the way he was slammed over the “invented the Internet” misquote and a variety of trivial errors that were spun into lies, and all he did was either ignore them or bashfully apologize for “factual errors,” when he should have gotten in front of them, said they’re all nonsense, and gone on the offensive against Bush’s many lies on the campaign trail. The Dems seem to have a penchant for nominating candidates who just wilt like a flower in the face of the most outrageous attacks, who allow the slime machine to define them forever after. Obama stands as the one and only exception in my 40-year lifetime.

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  19. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Little multiple-times bankrupted desperately insecure failed social climber semi-literate Donald.

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  20. Teve says:

    OT a little fact that a friend on Facebook mention to me: 2 years into the Trump administration, the seven administration officials convicted so far is a higher number than all the Democratic administration officials convicted in the last 50 years added together. Right now Nixon’s administration still has higher total numbers, but it’s early in the game.

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  21. An Interested Party says:

    I’m frankly not thrilled with the idea that the USG can simply tax (take) people’s property.

    What income tax rate do you think would be fair for you to pay?

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  22. Kathy says:

    @Kylopod:

    I think it’s worse than that. She’s my clear favorite in terms of her positions, but the heritage controversy–however bogus and overblown it may be–has not given me confidence in her abilities as a candidate.

    I share your lack of confidence.

    Especially since the whole issue is 100% irrelevant. Who cares what someone’s ethnicity is? Far more important are policy positions, and one’s track record and actions.

    It’s worth adding that genetic ancestry tests are not exactly accurate. they compare your DNA to existing DNA in given regions, not to some primordial DNA (except for Neanderthal DNA, as there are no extant Neanderthals). Worst of all, though, Warren kept the issue alive by publicizing her test. That’s the perfectly wrong, and irrelevant, thing to do.

    She’s already Trump’s perfect target and she keeps falling for his tricks. Not exactly the best candidate to defeat the Orange Beast, which is the main objective of the 2020 campaign.

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  23. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    Especially since the whole issue is 100% irrelevant. Who cares what someone’s ethnicity is?

    But the argument against her is that she faked her ethnicity–essentially that she pulled a Rachel Dolezal with Native Americans rather than African Americans. That would be a legitimate scandal if it were true. It just isn’t true. Dolezal’s actions were deliberate–she lied about who were parents were and altered her appearance to look more stereotypically African-American. She also made her alleged blackness a centerpiece of her public identity, including her job as president of an NAACP chapter. In contrast, Warren didn’t lie about anything; she sincerely accepted a family claim that had been passed down to her. There’s no evidence she made a claim she knew to be false, nor did she make the claim a major aspect of her public identity or use it to advance her career. The fact that it took the media this long to find a single example of her identifying as Native on a form that was merely for statistical purposes shows how little relevance it had to her.

    Of course, even if she had done all those things, the “Pocohantos” smear would still be racist, just as it would be racist if you went around referring to Rachel Dolezal as “Shaniqua.” But the notion that Warren engaged in ethnic fraud gives the Republicans cover. It plays into some of the worst stereotypes of white liberals.

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  24. An Interested Party says:

    She’s already Trump’s perfect target and she keeps falling for his tricks. Not exactly the best candidate to defeat the Orange Beast, which is the main objective of the 2020 campaign.

    Keep an eye on the candidate(s) that can deftly swat away the ridiculous arguments made by President Pissy Pants and his minions…

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  25. Gustopher says:

    @Kylopod:

    I think it’s worse than that. She’s my clear favorite in terms of her positions, but the heritage controversy–however bogus and overblown it may be–has not given me confidence in her abilities as a candidate.

    Yes, I’d love for her to figure this out, but I have doubts she will. She has a year before the voting begins.

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  26. Gustopher says:

    @CSK:

    In an odd way, I think you have to be as hopelessly vulgar as Trump is to get away with that. And it only seems to appear to his base anyway.

    I’m thinking the goal isn’t to appeal to anyone, but to get him sputtering mad, and use that to show he’s weak. His base will turn on him if they think he is weak.

    The Cuck from Queens.

    And, the press is going to do their focus on something stupid anyway — direct it towards something that is also Trump’s flaw (not suggesting Warren or anyone go out and start grabbing women by the nether regions, or anything).

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  27. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Trump will skull drag her up and down the campaign trail and get re-elected.

    What is it about Democrats that makes them have to make history with every election cycle now? This is how Trump got to be President in the first place. Because Democrats HAD to have a woman President to make history. She turned out to be the worst Democratic candidate…who couldn’t beat the worst Republican candidate anywhere of strategic value outside of overwhelmingly safe Blue States.

    Obama was a special candidate that HAPPENED to be black. He would have been President if he were white, Asian, Bengali, whatever. EW doesn’t look the part, has a terrible tone of voice, lacks an interesting narrative, has little charisma or sense of humor…. None of the intangibles that weigh heavily with unsophisticated voters are present.

    She will have troubles in the South for sure and I’d say also with married women and men of color. As you found out in 2016, the President being a racist is more energizing to white people than to other groups. Most old white guys are racist and have been. Almost every past President was a racist. I’m more concerned about racist local/State officials in my community that affect day to day life. Worrying about a racist President is a luxury.

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  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I like that, too, but I was going for shorter, punchier names that might tweet well.

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  29. Kylopod says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Obama was a special candidate that HAPPENED to be black. He would have been President if he were white, Asian, Bengali, whatever.

    I agree up to a point–but I always find formulations like that to have some of the air of “If my grandma had wheels she’d be a wagon.” First of all, being a biracial black man was an integral part of Obama’s identity, and he’s always been keenly aware of that; based on everything I’ve read about him, he never thought of himself as a candidate who just happened to be black. He decided as a matter of strategy to avoid discussing his race on the campaign trail, but he was deeply conscious of the fact that he was going to be defined according to his race no matter what he did, and he shaped his campaign with that consideration heavily in mind.

    More to the point, though, I don’t think you can separate his path to the White House with how he was perceived as the first black nominee. When I mentioned how he’s the only Democratic candidate in my lifetime who successfully resisted the smear campaign against him and didn’t allow it to define him, I wasn’t just referring to his talents as a politician. He wasn’t completely invulnerable to Republican attacks. He definitely stepped in it with his remark about blue-collar voters clinging to their guns and their religion. It didn’t cause him to lose the nomination or the election, but it did reinforce an image of him as an elitist that followed him throughout his presidency and probably played a role in the exodus of that demographic from the party.

    The problem is that Obama’s opponents always ended up going so far in their attacks that it ultimately backfired on them. Obama knew it, and used it to his advantage, rope-a-dope style. When they tried to paint him as a Kenyan Muslim terrorist filled with anti-colonial rage, voters only had to turn on the TV to find a thoughtful, plain-spoken moderate who didn’t remotely fit the image his enemies tried to create of him. The smears against the Clintons, Al Gore, and John Kerry were more persuasive because they found genuine weak spots to exploit. The Clintons may not have been been massive crooks who offed Vince Foster, but they often came off sleazy or insincere when they spoke. The Swiftboating of John Kerry was a pure hoax, but he gave the Republicans plenty of rope with his muddled position on the Iraq War, and his choice to stay positive during his convention speech and focus entirely on his military record was the equivalent of taping a kick-me sign to his own back.

    It was hardly inevitable that the first black nominee would possess Obama’s skill at turning his opponent’s attacks against them. But that doesn’t change the fact that a white candidate with his profile and demeanor would never have been attacked the way he was–this constant, obsessive attempt to find an angry black man lurking beneath his cool-as-a-cucumber exterior.

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  30. SC_Birdflyte says:

    Since we’re searching for a suitable nickname for the incumbent, maybe “Donny Little Paws.”

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  31. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “Yeah, that’s my read as well though IANAL. I’m frankly not thrilled with the idea that the USG can simply tax (take) people’s property.”

    Have you not noticed that you’ve been paying property taxes ever since you bought your first home?

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  32. Blue Galangal says:

    @Kylopod, @Kathy:

    I would argue, though, that the media is doing much to paint this as a bigger issue than it is, both-sides-ing the heck out of it, and letting it get the traction it’s got. Don’t report Trump’s racist-af tweets as your headline, you Village Idiots. If you have to headline it, go with an honest headline: “Trump tweets racist af statements about nonstory AGAIN.” (I know, if wishes were horses…) They’re “but her emails”-ing Warren and no matter how many times and how many ways HRC and her allies said there was no there there – she even sat through 11 hours of Congressional hearings – the above-the-fold story every other day was, “BUT HER EMAILS.”

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  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @An Interested Party:
    Income tax? Well, at present between feds and state the net bite for my wife and me is somewhere around 45%. I have no objection to returning to the status quo ante of a fed rate of 39.6%. And I’d go higher if, BIG IF, I were convinced we were solving actual problems.

    The wealth tax Warren proposes is a whole different animal. The consensus seems to be that such a thing would require a constitutional amendment and any plan that starts with, ‘First we amend the constitution,’ is nonsense. Ain’t happening.

    This is why I push back on the Green New Deal and Warren’s tax on wealth. I’m not volunteering to piss money away on pie-in-the-sky. Show me the numbers, show me your work, show me the dotted lines from here to there. I have no interest in or tolerance for bullshit.

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  34. Kylopod says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    They’re “but her emails”-ing Warren

    The difference is that HRC was the subject of an FBI investigation that was going on during the general election, and which was briefly reopened (albeit bogusly) at the very end. Unless the news media is continually finding new pieces from Warren’s past where she registered as an Indian, it’s probably not going to have that level of traction. I’m just worried about what it says about Warren’s instincts in how to handle controversies.

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  35. Michael Reynolds says:

    @wr:
    Property taxes are levied by states and localities, they aren’t constrained by the constitutional limits on federal taxation. And crucially they pre-existed any decision I made to buy property, meaning that I was able to make an investment decision based on available facts. This would be the federal government coming along ex-post facto and deciding that I had too much in my IRA and taking money I’d already been taxed on (even if deferred) at least once. That rankles, and it will rankle a lot of voters who, like me, don’t own enough to be affected now, but could end up facing confiscatory seizures down the road.

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  36. just nutha says:

    @Michael Reynolds: T he biggest problem with a wealth tax is that it seems to be for the purpose of punishing people for becoming rich. The progressives need to make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes that they made during the Great Depression. The idea of using statutory and tax law to punish Mellon for being Mellon has provided the right with ammunition for close to a century now. Senator Warren needs to consider whether she’s good with continuing that trend. From what I’m reading on the thread, so do others.
    @Tyrell: Last year, I paid ~$1,000 in taxes on about $30,000 gross income (including, income on investments). I’m single, so my taxation levels are as high in each tier as they can get. I don’t know how my taxes can get any lower than they are and as a single person, I’m actually close to the center of the middle class with that income. You sound like those guys who think the perfect tax rate for the middle class is -10% and that that rate should start at about $200,000.

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  37. wr says:

    @Michael Reynolds: “That rankles, and it will rankle a lot of voters who, like me, don’t own enough to be affected now, but could end up facing confiscatory seizures down the road.”

    Isn’t that the same reason white trash in trailer parks oppose higher taxes on the rich — thinking that one of these days they’re going to be super-rich and they won’t want to pay high taxes?

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  38. Tyrell says:

    @Gustopher: I don’t have any interest or ax to grind concerning her Native American ancestry one way or the other. And the “Pocahontas” deal – I remember in school learning about her and her achievements and brave actions. We looked on her as an American hero, right there with Washington, Revere, Grant, and John Paul Jones. The Disney movies about her are very well done and informative.
    What I would like to see from her are some ideas on the Federal Reserve problem, the high credit card rates, and all these bank mergers. Soon we are going to end up with one or two huge banks.

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