Sen Elizabeth Warren on Progressive Priorities Sept. 8 talks to
3:26PM Oct 8, 2021
visited UMass Dartmouth for a town hall. And before the event, she sat down with my colleagues 12 News, politics editor Ted Macy. And her Warren, thanks for taking the time to sit down with me while you're here at UMass Dartmouth today.
Thank you for having me. delight to see it.
So um, let's start with start with what's going on in Washington right now, big debate among Democrats about this reconciliation budget bill. And just the last 24 hours, I saw a report on axios that Senator Manchin is suggesting he won't support potentially more than 1.5 trillion in the budget bill, which is a lot less obviously than the White House has put forward. You know, Congress. Well, at this point, how do you read a budget bill that satisfies everyone from AOC to Senator Manchin in just a few weeks? Look,
that's the whole point. We are negotiating, we are talking people are pushing their issues, back and forth. But I'm looking at this way. We need to think about the things from the ground up, that we need to invest in not just our top line, gold finger, but what's it going to take, you know, we would need a huge reconciliation package if we've been making these investments all along. So pick childcare. Right now, one in four women who is not the workforce says that the reason is childcare. That means it's not only really hard on them really hard on their careers will have long term implications, even reaching out to their retirement. But it also is hard on our economy. Women who can't get back to work if they can't have childcare. So we need to make an investment in childcare and investment. That is good for our babies, good for our Mamas and daddies and also investment that raises the wages of childcare workers and preschool teachers. Well,
and to your point, it came to your mind first when I talked about the legislative process is that is the childcare investment in the below sort of a red line through the thing you go to the mat for I know there's a lot of things you like in the bill, but is that a top top priority flow is this
absolutely, we must have a child care bill and we must have a childcare bill. So that parents have access so that it is affordable, and so that it is high quality. Now, I'll try to do some of the others really quick. We also need home and community based care. Now there are a lot of folks, they're not home with little when they having to help out an elderly parent, for example, getting some home and community based care, lets people stay in their homes longer, lets people who are in in in combined families be able to get out and get to work. We need to expand Medicare, vision, dental hearing, lower the age to 62. That's all on the table. And then the really big one in terms of dollars and the future. We got to fight back against the climate crisis. You know, I don't I don't have to push that hard. When I'm down here in Dartmouth. People see firsthand the effects of climate change. And we need to be building more resilience. We need to be shifting to clean energy, we need to be cleaning carbon out of the air, we got a lot of things, a lot of work we need to do on multiple fronts. So lots to
be done. You know, there's some w some viewers even some who like each individual thing you mentioned, who worried about the price tag, they see gas prices are up other signs of inflation. And I know there's debate around that, but it does make the average household nervous. What do you say to people who are worried that maybe this is biting off too much at once, even if they agree with you on the priorities.
So what's important is how we pay for this, because I believe we should pay for this. And let me just give you three ideas. First one around tax two cent tax on families with more than $50 million done with that for a while now. I've been talking about this for a long time, or some variation on it. We can raise trillions of dollars depending on how we do it. Let me give you another one. And that's a real corporate profits tax. This is a tax on one giant corporation like Amazon stands up and says to its shareholder says to the public. They made $11 billion in profits last year and turned around and paid zero in taxes. That is wrong. So what I have is a proposal right now that says what's your above $100 million in profits? You got to pay at least seven personal profits, not revenue, profit, you have not revenues profits, you got to pay 7% of what you publicly report. Do you know how much money that would raise I don't about $700 billion over the space of 10 years. That's a long way toward three and a half trillion dollars that we need. And then I'll mention just one more. That third one is that we need to enforce the tax laws. Now, right now, there's pretty strong enforcement against people who live paycheck for living because it all gets reported to The government, right? But the very, very wealthy, increasingly seem to think that paying taxes is optional. And the problem is the IRS has just been hollowed out, they don't have the money, they don't have the skilled people to be able to go after the folks who cheat on their taxes. And I'll know that they've got very little chance of getting caught. Because the IRS doesn't have the crack teams because they don't have the budget. So this is one of those who spend a little money to make a lot of money. We put more money into the IRS and get them focused on the tax cheats at the top. And we have the opportunity to bring in a lot of money, those three things more than cover what we want to spend on child care on Medicare and on climate
saving events. Senator Manchin over the coming weeks, let's turn to military matters, shortly served on the Armed Services Committee, and the chairman jack Reed of our island has said he plans to hold a hearing soon on the evacuation of Afghanistan and how that went. What do you want to hear from the generals and Pentagon officials about how that went down in the last couple weeks? The evacuation?
Well, obviously, we'd like to have more details about what happened. I particularly would like to continue a line of questions that I've been asking for years now. And that is how it is that we put so much money into the Afghan army, how it is we've spent nearly a trillion dollars on these folks. And how it is that we armed them how it is that we equip them? How is that we put so much time into training them? And then when we said okay, we're we're ready now to leave Afghanistan, that they will lay down their arms and turned away. I want to understand what it is that our generals weren't watching over the last 20 years. That would cause that to be such a surprise.
I cut between coverings here and reading covering you I follow the armed Service Committee. You've had a lot of hearings in Afghanistan over the years. Do you feel the committee was was misled? Or do you just feel there was they just didn't have good information even at the Pentagon?
You know, one of the things that really frustrated me sitting on Armed Services has for the last several years, every time the generals would come in from Afghanistan, whether it was in open hearing or whether we were getting some kind of classified briefing? Basically, I asked the same kind of questions. And that was, so where are we relative to a year ago, five years ago, over and over and over, I would be the one who would have to point out that we controlled less land than we had before the popping crop, the heroin crop was bigger than it had been before. The movement back and forth across the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, including letting terrorists run back and forth, was more active than ever. That corruption was endemic in the country that that the leaders didn't enjoy the support of the people. I asked them about each one of these and the generals each time reluctantly would say, Well, yes, it's true. It's worse on this. It's true. It's worse on that it's true. It's worse than that, but we're turning the corner. I had so many generals Tell me over and over and over for years now that we were turning the corner and Afghanistan that it is felt like we're going in a circle. And that's the part that was really frustrating to me. Nobody ever held accountable. Nobody ever dragged back and to say, wait a minute. You were the guy who was here two years ago, saying we turn the corner Nope, that guy is now gone. moved on got his battle ribbon.
Being down a skeptic then in the committee hearings. Were you you know it sadly unsurprised when you watched how the evacuation unfolded? Or did it go worse than even you would expect it from from taking part in all
that, you know, the, the collapse of the Afghan army went even faster than I thought. I had worn down for a long time on our generals about quality of that army, and they had sworn over and over and over. It was better, it was stronger. They knew how to fight they would fight. And I think that much of what happened near the end is premised on the fact that there still would be at least some remnants of an Afghan armies that had been well trained that have been well equipped that they would still be there and obviously died. So I wanted to
see a bigger picture, picture questions the first time you and I sat down with your presidential campaign. And you're not the first message senator run for president. He saw the man who held the same CDF now ted kennedy man in 1980. And after that, you can seem to shift and say I'm going to focus on I'm going to focus on the senate and then he has made quite a legacy legislatively in the years after that. I'm wondering is that model for you now that you did not become president in 2020, or do you still think no, that might be the direction I go in the future? Or has it refocused you on the senate? When you think of her ted kennedy went through the same
thing. I, I have always thought of this a little bit differently. I never thought of wanting for the president when I came to the Senate. You know, I didn't have an older brother, who had been president another, a little a little different. For me, it was always one of the core sets of changes that we need to help people here in Massachusetts prosper and to help people all across the country. So think about some of the things that Massachusetts is strongest one is in health care. We do