Elizabeth Warren

  • October 19, 2016
    Guest Post

    *This post is taken from the ACS publication: What's the Big Idea? Recommendations for Improving Law and Policy in the Next Administration

    by Sen. Elizabeth Warren

    Ideas matter.

    Eight years ago, the United States was facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Wall Street firms had gambled away the hard-earned savings of hard-working Americans and sent the stock market into a tailspin. Ordinary folks who were conned into purchasing homes they could not afford saw their homeownership dreams slip away. College graduates ready to enter the workforce were stranded with mountains of debt and no meaningful job prospects.

    There is no question that the Obama Administration had its work cut out for it. And it took some big ideas to make real change. A record stimulus pumped money—and jobs—into an imploding economy. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act helped reel in some of the shadiest Wall Street practices and created a new consumer watchdog, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Affordable Care Act expanded health insurance coverage to over 11 million Americans.

    The country stepped back from the brink, but the problems were bigger and more systemic — and the continued attachment to the ideas born of trickle-down economics cramped our response and prevented full recovery.

    Now, as the country continues to wrestle with pressing questions that will define this generation and the next, the need for big ideas is clearer than ever. The next administration must confront a tangle of interwoven problems. How will we address the growing income and wealth gap between the top 1% and everybody else? How will we rethink and rebuild a broken criminal justice system that disproportionately locks up and disenfranchises black and brown Americans? How will we ensure that the water our kids drink and the air they breathe are clean and safe? How will we expand and defend gender equity and LGBTQ rights? How will we ensure that non-citizens are treated fairly and humanely? How will we make our government work to advance the interests of all Americans, not just those with the deepest pockets and the highest-paid lobbyists?

  • February 26, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Matt Ford considers at The Atlantic whether a new bipartisan coalition can help end mass incarceration.

    Elizabeth Warren argues in The Washington Post against the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a “massive free-trade agreement with Mexico, Canada, Japan, Singapore and seven other countries.”

    In the ABA Journal, Erwin Chemerinsky writes about King v. Burwell, arguing that the “case is about life and death in determining whether millions of people will still have health insurance and access to health care.”

    Brianne Gorod explains at the blog for the Constitutional Accountability Center that the government’s loss in Yates v. United States on Wednesday may signal good news for the future King v. Burwell decision.

    Jamelle Bouie of Slate discusses new efforts to restrict voting in various states and why the United States needs a constitutional right-to-vote amendment.

  • January 23, 2015

    by Caroline Cox

    Senator Elizabeth Warren writes in The Washington Post that the Supreme Court case concerning the Fair Housing Act could have severe financial repercussions.

    The Editorial Board of The New York Times asserts that the Supreme Court should “demonstrate a greater appreciation of stubborn and long-term effects of racial discrimination.”

    Laura Burstein argues that the Supreme Court should stop the execution of a man with a lifelong intellectual disability.

    On NPR’s On Point, Tom Ashbrook discusses the legal logic of same-sex marriage. The piece features comments from Mary Bonauto at the ACS National Convention and also includes Camilla Taylor, a member of the ACS Chicago Lawyer Chapter Advisory Board. 

    The National Constitution Center released a new podcast on Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar, in which the Court is considering whether a state can prohibit judicial candidates from personally asking for campaign donations.

  • April 15, 2013

    by Jeremy Leaming

    Despite the lofty rhetoric to the contrary, the Obama administration has failed to help the scores of Americans thrown out of their homes because of rampant foreclosure fraud. The administration instead chose to try to put a sheen of due diligence on a federal effort to get to the bottom of what David Dayen for Salon calls “the largest consumer fraud in the history of the United States.”

    With the nation’s economy still hobbled by high unemployment and a growing gap between the superwealthy and everyone else, the U.S. Treasury Department recently revealed a pathetic settlement with some of the shady bankers behind the criminal foreclosure schemes that fails to provide little if any help to the millions of victims of the tawdry financial machinations. Part of the problem, as Dayen reports, centers on the fact that the federal government allowed consultants hired by banks to conduct so-called independent reviews of millions of foreclosures. The consultants, Dayen continues, made millions and only completed a tiny portion of “independent reviews” requested by scores of aggrieved homeowners. When the Treasury settled with the bankers it announced the “vast majority" of borrowers  – 3.4 million -- will receive paltry sums, like $300 or less.

    But the Treasury Department’s Office of Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) likely didn’t expect U.S. Senators to dig much into the obviously overblown and flawed review of the millions of foreclosure victims. And they likely were not expecting Elizabeth Warren, one of the nation’s most recognizable and passionate spokespersons on behalf of the middle class, to be holding a U.S. Senate seat and a committee position to zero in on their woefully or intentionally inept handling of the foreclosure crisis. 

    But last week, Sen. Warren (D-Mass.), former Harvard Law School Professor, longtime consumer rights advocate and driving force behind the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau did just that. And it was not the first time the senator has used her platform to highlight the federal government’s bungling of the foreclosure crisis. Last week, as TPM’s Sahil Kapur reported Warren has in just a few months in the Senate “seized opportunities to highlight questionable banking practices an ostensibly lax regulatory response, a chamber frequently criticized for its coziness with Wall Street.”

    During a subcommittee hearing Warren, who as Dayen notes has “a grass-roots army of enthusiastic supporters” and “makes headlines crossing the street,” blasted the OCC regulators for “withholding information they said they possessed about improper foreclosures or other abusive financial practices from victims of those practices seeking recourse in court,” Kapur reported.

    The regulators told Warren they had not made a decision about what information they will make public about criminal foreclosures.

    “So you have made a decision to protect the banks but not a decision to tell the families who were illegally foreclosed against?” Warren asked the regulators.

  • October 11, 2011

    by Jeremy Leaming

    As Occupy Wall Street continues to spread from city to city and garner backers from Union leaders to the head of Washington’s largest progressive nonprofit, an important and long overdue focus is shifting to the efforts of the nation’s super wealthy to keep things just the way they are.

    In a piece for The Huffington Post, Dean Baker, of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, laments the stranglehold the status quo has on Washington, where austerity measures are all of sudden the obsession of many conservative politicians, and incessant talk of cutting Social Security and Medicare rules the day.

    While conservative talking heads bemoan the growing gap between the nation’s top one percent and everyone else as class warfare, Baker notes that the only redistribution of wealth occurring in this country is that which helps those within the top one percent.

    Baker concludes:

    In short, we have an economic system that, even when it is working, has been rigged to redistribute income to the rich. And we have a political system that at a time of immense economic distress is more focused on undercutting the means of support for working families than fixing the economy. It is hard to understand why everyone is not occupying Wall Street.

    As noted on this blog numerous times, Columbia Business School Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote earlier in the year about the power of the country’s top 1 percent and its efforts to hold the status quo. He argued that the top one percent is seriously out of touch with the rest of the country, and it appreciates a government that can only push policy that furthers its interests.

    But such action has created the current economic morass, one that doesn’t bother many conservative pundits or is not understood by them.