Elizabeth Warren: Presidential Primary Candidate

Elizabeth Warren: Presidential Primary Candidate

The following is a New
Hampshire primary 2020 special presentation. “The Exchange” candidate forums
from NHPR bar in partnership with New Hampshire PBS. From New Hampshire Public
Radio, I’m Laura Knoy, and this is “The Exchange.” Today, we continue our series
of presidential primary 2020 candidate forums. And on this show from
Wednesday, October 30th, we’re talking with Elizabeth
Warren, a US senator and Democrat from Massachusetts. She’s with us before a live
audience in NHPR’s studio D. [applause] Our questions today
will include some of the many we received
from listeners, so thank you for your
contributions. Also, I’m joined by NHPR
Reporter Casey McDermott. She and I will both
be asking questions. And Senator Warren, welcome
and thank you for being here. Thank you. I’m delighted to be here. So you call yourself a
capitalist to your bones. How do you reconcile that,
Senator Warren, with your plans to expand government,
raise taxes, and increase government regulation? As you know, if
you’re the nominee, many Republicans will say you’re
more socialist than capitalist. Nonsense. Capitalism requires rules. Markets require rules. Without rules,
capitalism is theft. So for me, it’s about making
sure we have a set of rules so that you really
get competition, so that nobody gets
cheated, so that everybody has an opportunity. Those are the
functions of government to help keep the system
working in a way that opens up more opportunity for
small businesses, opens up opportunity
for individuals, opens up opportunities so
we can have that competition and create all
kinds of new things. That’s what I believe in. Setting aside the regulatory
aspects of your proposal, let’s talk about the
taxes, Senator Warren. I’d love for you to
explain it to me. To pay for ideas
like free tuition at state college, universal
child care, and others, you would create a
new wealth tax of 2% on those with wealth
of $50 million and up and 3% on those with wealth
of $1 billion and up. How is this different, Senator
Warren, from just raising income taxes on wealthy people? Well, because it’s about
accumulated wealth. And understand this. We have a few, relatively
speaking, great fortunes in this country. About 1/10 of 1% of
folks in this country have a fortune
above $50 million. Something changes when you
get a fortune that big. That fortune has its
own money managers. That fortune has its own PR. It has its own administrators. It has its own tax advisors. And what’s happening
is those fortunes are growing and
growing and growing. And so what I propose
is to say, look, we’ve been doing a
wealth tax forever. Anybody in this room own a
home or grow up in a house that somebody owned the home? Yeah. You’ve been paying a
wealth tax all those years. They just called
it a property tax. What I’m proposing is
for the top 1/10 of 1%– that is, for folks who have more
than $50 million in assets– that their property tax include
not just the real estate, which is no longer
the biggest asset, but that it also includes the
stock portfolio, the diamonds, the Rembrandt, the yacht, that
you get all of the property and ask for $0.02. Your first $50 million
is free and clear, but your 50 millionth
and first dollar, you’ve got to pitch
in $0.02 for every $1. So it’s kind of like a
property tax on, as you said, the yachts and the
Rembrandts and the diamonds. And understand this about it. There’s a reason behind it. Look, you built a great fortune
in America, good for you. You had a great idea. You rode it all the way. You worked late at night. You built a great fortune. That’s great. But I guarantee if you built
that fortune here in America, you built it at least in
part using workers all of us helped pay to educate. You built it at least in
part getting your goods to market on roads and bridges
all of us helped pay to build. You built it at least
in part protected by police and
firefighters all of us help pay the salaries for. And we’re glad to do it. We’re Americans. We believe in making these
investments together. All we’re saying is
if you make it big– I mean really big. I mean super duper
1/10 of 1% big– pitch in $0.02 so everybody
else gets a chance to make it in this country. As you know, Senator
Warren, European countries have been getting rid
of these wealth taxes. Two decades ago, 12
nations had them. Today, just three do. Problems included difficulty
assessing the value of assets, people moving assets, and
exodus of wealthy individuals and their money from
certain countries, and so on and so forth. And in the end, these taxes
didn’t raise as much revenue as hoped. How confident are you that
all the money you anticipate will be available? Well, I’m really confident
in the amount of money that we think this will
generate because we can learn from doing it badly. So, for example, the wealth
tax in several countries went way too deep
into the population. This one is about
the top 1/10 of 1%. And that has a couple
of implications. It means you don’t have a
lot of middle class families struggling around with it. It also means you can
concentrate your enforcement on just 70,000 fortunes, which
is actually not that many. The second part
is some countries made the mistake
of saying, wealth held here in the country. Well, guess what
really rich people do? They put the yacht
somewhere else, right? They move the cash
somewhere else. Nope. This one says wherever held. And here’s the
part that’s changed in the world over the
last more than a decade, and that is we’ve been
signing more and more treaties with other countries
that say, you tell us what assets are held by
Americans in your country and we’ll tell you what
assets are held by the Swiss or the Spaniards in
our country so that we have a lot better tracking of
big assets around the world. The third part of this
is Reuven Avi-Yonah, a terrific tax expert– I think he’s at the
University of Michigan– did an analysis of this. And he says, look, a big
chunk of the wealth held by those at the very top
is in the stock market. We already know where it is. With real estate, we’ve
already got the records. With fine paintings,
they’ve been tracked. In other words, we know where
a big chunk of this stuff is already. And built right into the plan
is super duper enforcement. No more you assign
two IRS agents to try to keep up
with the whole thing. Nope. We put it right into
the cost that you’ve got IRS agents to track this
stuff down, to keep track of it over time. And even on top of all of that,
we assumed a cheat rate in it. So I know. I know. Cynic that we are,
right, on doing this. But the whole idea is
to have real confidence that the kind of money we’re
talking about producing really will be there. And I’ve talked
to the tax experts who’ve been doing this
stuff for a long time. I’m confident. So you think that
you could do it better than the failed
experience of a lot of these European countries? Well, yeah, because I
think we can learn from it. We can look at it and
say, you know what? That was a bad way to do it. We’re going to do it a
better way than that. I want to ask you,
Senator Warren, about some of the parameters
of your spending proposals. And there are a lot, and we
could take all day on that. And Casey McDermott is going
to ask you about health care, so I’ll set that aside. Student debt cancellation
caught my attention. I have got a child on the
way into college and one in college now. Would there be any
limits on how much debt cancellation, Senator
Warren, or what type of college or what type of debt,
or is it just everybody gets their debt canceled no
matter who or what or where? So my proposal is that student
loan debt would be canceled up to $50,000 per individual. So for a couple, that might
be $100,000, obviously, if that’s what they had. It’s limited on income. So if you’ve got more
than $250,000 in income, you don’t get any cancellation. This is for people who
have less income than that. It covers all student loans, so
the typical federally insured student loans, the
Parent PLUS loans. If you have a
private student loan, you’re permitted to convert
it to a public student loan and then do the student
loan forgiveness so that we get the maximum relief. Now, one of the things I should
explain about it because I think it’s important is in
looking through the data on who has student loans
and what the impact of this would be, among those it would
affect the most are people who did a year of college, who
did two years of college, and then were just overwhelmed
by the costs, who couldn’t manage it, who couldn’t
see a degree program that was working for them,
and so they’ve ended up in the worst of both worlds. That is, they don’t have
a college diploma to try to put them into the
next income category, but they’ve got all of this
student loan debt and student loan debt that is
multiplying out for them. What incentive
would colleges have to reduce costs if
everybody’s debt was paid off? So this is part of the–
a lot of pieces here. A second part on the
same $0.02 because we’re paying for this out of
the $0.02 wealth tax is to provide tuition free
technical school, two year college, and four year college. But there are some
strings on this, and that is about colleges
keeping costs under control. So the federal government picks
up the tuition part that goes to the students, but in return
the college has both got to do or the state has to do
maintenance of effort– that is, putting that same money
into UNH and the other state schools– and the college has to keep
those costs under control because they can’t just
ratchet up tuition around it. So in effect, think
of it this way. Let’s reverse what
you just asked me. Think of it as with the
$0.02, we’re going to invest in our babies, we’re going to
invest in our public schools– and I hope we’ll talk
about all of that– and we’re going to invest in
post high school education. But we’re also going to
deal with the hangover debt from student loans
for people who’ve gone to school in the last
10 years– for some, 15, for some, 20. Two other things I should say
about the student loan debt just because you were
asking about the numbers– one is the student
loan debt number is designed to help reduce
the black-white wealth gap. So it turns out that
African-American students are more likely to have to
borrow money to go to school. They borrow more money
while they’re in school. And they have a harder
time paying it off when they get out of school. There’s new data out from
the Education Department that shows– hang onto your
hats on this one– 20 years out that
about 94% of whites have paid off their
debts and that about 4% of African-Americans have
paid off their debts. This is becoming a long hangover
tail that once again helps expand the black-white
wealth gap where we are now, rather than contracted– And, Senator, what
I want to ask you– We put the numbers
where we will actually shrink the black-white wealth
gap by about 24 points. I want to ask you one more
question then turn it over to Casey McDermott. Sure. What role would
cutting government play in helping to pay
for all the proposals that you talk about? Is there any type
of spending that you would cut, Senator Warren? Oh, there are places I would
cut spending, for example, over in the Department
of Defense with OCO. But this is not about cutting. What this is about is
about the $0.02 wealth tax asking the richest people
in this country, the people who have built up
fortunes, the people who, quite frankly, may not even
be producing a lot of income that they get taxed
on as income tax, but who have these
great fortunes that are continuing to grow. Just to ask them to
pitch in $0.02 out of those great fortunes
to fund an investment in universal child
care, universal pre-K, raising the wages
of every child care worker and preschool
teacher, $800 billion into our public schools,
universal college, $50 billion into historically black
colleges and universities, and canceling student loan
debt for 95% of the folks who’ve got it. All right. I’ll turn it over to my
colleague, Casey McDermott. Go ahead, Casey. So we’re now going to
talk about health care. Hi, Casey. OK. Hi. So just a few days ago, I
was out talking to voters, and I was talking to a man
who lives here in Concord. He said he voted for
President Trump in 2016, but he’s keeping
his options open. He’s looking for
someone potentially new. And he likes some of what you’ve
said about Medicare for All. That’s a good start. He said health care’s
a big thing for him. But he said, quote, “She
still hasn’t come out and said where this money
is going to come from.” So where is the money
going to come from? So I’m working on
the plan on that, and it’s going to be out soon. And it’ll talk about two things,
both how much Medicare for All will cost and how
we can pay for it. So it’s hard. It’s something I’ve been
working on for a long time. But I’ll have a plan on it soon. So we’ve got another
question, actually, from a listener who asked
it maybe a little bit more directly. William asked, “Will my taxes
go up under Medicare for All?” So let me put it this way. I have spent a big part
of my life studying why families go broke. And one of the principal reasons
is the cost of health care. Back when I was
studying it, about two out of every three families
that filed for bankruptcy did so following a
serious medical problem. And here’s the thing. About two out of three of
them had health insurance at the onset of the
illness or accident. In other words, people
who have health insurance are still not covered, but
the costs brought them down. So here’s how I think of this. We know that Medicare
for All is the cheapest way to provide health care
coverage for everyone. So we can pay for this– we will
see most likely rich people’s costs go up,
corporations’ costs go up, but the costs to middle
class families will go down. I will not sign any
legislation into law for which costs for middle
class families do not go down. I’ve spent my life
fighting for families who are on the edge
of going broke, and we need to change
that in this country. And one part of
that is we’ve got to reduce the costs
of health care. Do you have a sense of when
we might expect to see it? Soon. So we’ll stay tuned on that. OK. Your colleague, Vermont
Senator Bernie Sanders, told CNBC recently
that he does not think that now is the
time for him to come out with his own plan on how to
cover the costs for Medicare for All. He says that the bigger priority
is focusing on making sure that America understands
how much they’re already paying for health care. I just wonder what you
make of that rationale. Look, Bernie and I have
been friends forever. And Bernie’s out there
talking about how he wants to be president
and what his vision is, and I’m here today
talking with you about how I’m
running for president and what I’m going
to put forward. We just each run
our own campaigns. Regardless of what kind
of money is involved, Medicare for All
would likely result in a pretty significant
kind of shift in how our health care
system is structured, and even supporters of that
approach within the health policy world have said
that that likely would mean lost jobs in some form. An economist at the University
of Massachusetts Amherst told Kaiser Health
News earlier this year that that could result in
about two million jobs lost. He said those would be mostly
administrative positions and insurers, doctors offices. And he said that
politicians who want to move toward that
system, Medicare for All, have to think about
what a, quote, “just transition,” a fair
transition, would look like. What would that
look like for you? So I agree. I think this is part
of the cost issue and should be part
of a cost plan. Although, do recognize on
this what we’re talking about, and that is in effect how much
of our health care dollars have not gone to health care,
how many of those dollars have been pulled out
in other directions. You don’t think about
the for-profit insurance system that lies right
at the middle right now of our health care
delivery system. That system made $23 billion
in profits last year. And that’s after all of
the executive salaries, all of the
administrative people, all the fancy glass office
buildings they built. And how did they
make those profits? Think about it. It’s how much they
took in in premiums and then turned
around and said, no. And every time
they said no, they made another dollar of profits. That’s just not a sustainable
health care system. Coming up, more with Democratic
presidential candidate and Massachusetts US
Senator Elizabeth Warren. We’ll talk about foreign policy,
climate change, education, and much more. You’re listening
to “The Exchange” on New Hampshire Public Radio. [music playing] You’re watching Primary 2020,
“The Exchange” candidate forums from NHPR produced in
partnership with New Hampshire PBS. This is “The Exchange.” I’m Laura Knoy. Today, it’s the latest in our
primary 2020 candidate forums. We’re talking with Democrat
and Massachusetts US Senator Elizabeth Warren. NHPR’s Casey McDermott
is also with me. And Casey, I know you
had one more health care question for Senator Warren. Yes, we do. And your website and
your campaign speeches go into detail on a number
of health policy areas, but not as much when it
comes to mental health, which is a big issue here locally
and across the country. You do say we have to prioritize
affordable, high quality mental health services. You say your Behavioral
Health Coverage Transparency Act would hold insurers
accountable for providing adequate benefits. But here in New
Hampshire and a lot of other parts of the
country, the problem isn’t just insurance. It’s finding someone who
can provide that treatment. Just to put it into
further perspective, according to our local
chapter of the National Alliance on Mental
Illness, just yesterday there were 42
adults and five kids waiting in ERs
across New Hampshire because they didn’t have
access to the kind of treatment they need. What would you do about that? So let me make a pitch
here for Medicare for All, and that is that it’s
about universal coverage. And when I talk about
universal coverage, it’s not simply that every
human being gets covered here. It’s they also get covered for
the full range of health care services. And that means both mental
and physical health. It’s long been the
law that there’s supposed to be parity
in terms of coverage between mental health
and physical health, but that simply hasn’t happened. The whole idea behind
Medicare for All is if providers know that
everyone who comes in and everyone who needs it will
be fully covered and fully paid for, then more
people can move in. More people can open clinics
and know that they can make them work economically. I worry a lot about where we
are right now with mental health coverage, obviously for adults. I also worry about
it for children. And so a part of
what I think about is the intersection
between making sure we have mental health coverage
in our health care plans but also that we’re getting
the right kind of access in our education plans. The schools are called
on to deal with children, to try to help children. Sometimes, you have
very serious problems. And they need real help
to be able to do that. So I think when we’re
talking about building out, I talk about the wealth tax and
the importance of putting more money into our public schools. We didn’t get to talk
about that as much. But $800 billion into
our public schools, letting more of our schools
be community schools, wrap around services
with our schools. Think about how transformative
it would be if families didn’t have to worry about health
care coverage and those who are providing those services
knew they’d be covered and at the same time
our public schools had more federal dollars
put into them as well– We’re definitely going
to talk about it– –to be able to help
take care of our kids. Good. I’m glad that’s the case. –because that’s a big
issue here in New Hampshire. Good. But I wanted to pivot first– Because I think these intersect. –Senator Warren,
to foreign policy after the death of the
Islamic State leader in a raid by US forces. I’m sure you were watching that. The Pentagon says there may
be more operations targeting other ISIS leaders,
and defense leaders tell us there are
still many thousands of ISIS forces in the region. What would a Warren
administration’s broad, overall policy be toward ISIS and other
potential terrorist groups? I have confidence in our
intelligence community and our special forces
to locate terrorists and to continue to take
them out when necessary. We should be working with
our allies to do that. The United States is
not the only country interested in beating back
the impact of terrorism. What I don’t believe
is that we should continue to fight endless
wars that don’t help us here. We’re now in our 18th
year in Afghanistan. I was on the ground
in Afghanistan with Senator McCain
in what I think was his last overseas trip
a couple of years ago. I talked with Afghan leaders. I talked with our
own military leaders. I talked with civilians. And here we were, at
that point, 16 years in. And what was happening– we weren’t winning a war. Our forces combined with the
Afghan government’s forces controlled less than
60% of the land. The opium trade had expanded. So not a lot of improvement. The border between Pakistan
and Afghanistan was a mess. The government was not
supported by the people. There was widespread corruption. So you said you’d pull US
forces out of Afghanistan? Combat forces. Combat forces. Because here’s the thing. Our military is
the best on Earth. All three of my brothers
served in the military. They will do anything
we ask them to do. But we should not be asking
them to solve problems that can’t be solved militarily. For that, we need more
diplomatic, more economic, more intelligence, and we
need to work with our allies, not turn our backs on them. So what’s the difference between
pulling out of Afghanistan but keeping forces in Syria
working with the Kurds? Because that was
a big controversy. I want combat
forces out of both. Combat forces are not helping. We don’t have a mission
that we’re taking forward. Look, keep in mind that
when, for example, we took out Osama bin Laden,
it was in Pakistan, a place where we had no
forces of any kind. We used intelligence, and
we used special operations. And we were able to
pinpoint where he was and execute on a
mission to take him out. We need to use our intelligence. We will need to use
our special forces. But that is not the same
as waging an endless war. So more focused, targeted
approaches, it sounds like. More focused on the
threats that appear. That’s right. Regarding military
involvement and its impact, here’s a question from
a listener, Wayne, who asks, “As a
Vietnam veteran, I am wondering how your
views on veterans services have been influenced by
knowing the experience of your brothers.” And you just referenced
your brothers. That’s right. So as Wayne maybe has
heard me say before, my oldest brother, Don Reed,
spent about 5 and 1/2 years off and on in combat in Vietnam. My second brother,
John, was stationed overseas for over a year. My third brother, David,
trained as a combat medic. And you better believe
when I talk to my brothers, as I do on a regular basis,
I get an earful about the VA and the need to make changes. Part of it is we need
to make sure there are adequate resources. I visit VA hospitals that
were built more than half a century ago. Hallways that are too narrow
to get the equipment down. Operating rooms that
are too small to hold the kind of high
tech equipment that’s available today to keep people
alive during delicate surgery. We need better facilities. We also need to
make sure there are adequate both physical health
and mental health resources for our vets. But that takes commitment
from the federal government. It takes acknowledging
that the costs of war are more than just sending over
tanks, that the costs of war are the long-term
costs of honoring our promises to our vets. This one for me is personal. I will make sure we
have the money in this. I’m glad he submitted it. Me too. We have been evolving in
questions from our listeners throughout this series
of primary 2020 candidate interviews. So thank you again,
Wayne, for contributing. One more foreign policy
question, Senator Warren, and then I do want to
turn it back to Casey. Since President Trump withdrew
the US from the Iran Nuclear Agreement, Iran has taken
several major steps away from the original deal, has
made some threatening gestures in the region. If you were president, what
would your broad approach be toward Iran? Well, I would go back to
negotiating a deal with Iran. I think it was incredibly
foolish of the president to withdraw from that deal. I cannot see how it
has improved anything. Iran has become
more belligerent. Iran has moved closer
to the development of a nuclear weapon. That has created more
instability in the region. I would have stuck with
the deal to begin with. Now, what we’ve
got to do– we will be where we will be
come January of 2021. But I think it is important
to work with our allies. That’s how we got the
Iran deal to begin with. We got our allies
to all agree we’re going to put economic
pressure on Iran. That’s how we got them
to the negotiating table. We got a good deal
negotiated with Iran. And then not only to pull
out of the deal, as President Trump did, but to do it in
defiance of all of our allies who had worked with us and who
had said the deal is working– Return to the table, basically,
with the policy with Iran. Yeah. It’s get back to the
table and strengthen the hands of the
folks in Iran who want to try to build a
more stable country, who want to be a force for
stability in the region instead of strengthening the
hand of the extremists in Iran, which is what
Donald Trump has done. Let me turn it
back to you, Casey. Sure. So this is an issue
that kind of bridges both foreign and domestic
policy, voting and elections. The former special counsel– Yeah. There was a time
you would have said a question about
voting and elections was entirely domestic. Think about– Perhaps. No. Think about what it
means that we now think of this as a
national security issue and a foreign
policy issue. So on that note, your
election reform plan addresses this in some way. You say the federal
government will manage the cybersecurity aspects
of elections and to develop additional security procedures
for election administration and end-to-end
handling of ballots. But some cybersecurity
experts say that the decentralization of
US elections– in other words, that they’re run at the
local and state level– is actually a strength. So how would you balance that? Look, I believe in getting
the best advice you can and the best technical advice. But I have to say
anyone who wants to defend the current system,
man, I am just not there. There are current
systems that are running on outmoded cyber
protection, that are running on outmoded systems. And the fact that
there are 50 of them doesn’t help us a lot because
what we know is the Russians and others have the patience
to go to all 50 of them and try to attack them. And without the kind of
expertise and resources for the expertise that we can
provide at the federal level, that means the states are
individually vulnerable. There’ll be some states that’ll
spend enough money to protect themselves, but what
about the ones that don’t? And when will we discover it? When it’s way too late. So how do you guard
against a situation where perhaps all states are
using the same kind of back end systems for their
voting, elections, other kind of infrastructure,
and someone figures out how to get into that and
then it’s game over? Except it’s not game over. Let me just do the
other part of that, and that is, for me,
the importance of truing the vote with paper ballots. I’m all for electronically
counting them because it moves faster. I get it. But there has to be a way to
be able to go back and say, if there’s a problem, how do
we know how the people of New Hampshire voted? And that’s what a paper
ballot does for you. Last I heard, there is
no cyber expert on Earth who can actually
invade a paper ballot. So I think that’s
what we have to do. So on a similar
note, you’ve proposed more uniform federal standards
around ballot access, perhaps mandating automatic
voter registration for one. But some local
election officials, including here in
New Hampshire, are wary of a federal official
coming in and telling them how to run their elections. How do you deal with that? Well, you offer best practices,
and you offer to pay for it. You put money on the table and
show them the best way to do it and then count on the good
folks of New Hampshire to elbow their officials
until they get it done. I just think that’s
what’s crucial. Look, I don’t want
a federal government that comes in and says, there’s
only one way to do anything. There are a lot of
different ways to do things. I respect that. When we got a chance talk, for
example, about the education plan, it’s very much about
how it should be done locally. The same is true in health care. I believe in Medicare
for All, which is about where you send the bill,
but how you actually do the treatment is between
the patient and the doctor or the patient and the nurse or
the patient and the therapist. In the case of voting, let’s put
the best practices out there. Let’s offer to pay
for it so it’s not going to cost anything. And then, if there
are variations that are appropriate to
New Hampshire for reasons that are specific
here, that’s what New Hampshire should decide. So you’ve also been critical
of some recent changes to New Hampshire election
laws, including a new residency law that may have some
implications for voting. Your top New Hampshire
campaign staffer just recently filed an affidavit
in a lawsuit that’s seeking to overturn that new law. I should say that there’s
a hearing in federal court today on that same law. Why take that step of getting
involved in this kind of case in a state where
you’re on the ballot? Well, for two reasons. The first is a
point of principle. I believe that every
American citizen is entitled to vote and
to get that vote counted. And I think that’s
where we should start. That is the bedrock
of democracy. And every effort to try to keep
American citizens from voting raises my suspicions. But the second part
is that we simply offered evidence of what we’re
encountering when our folks are out on the ground. And you put it very
diplomatically. It might have some
effect on– it’s designed to keep college
students from voting. Come on. Can’t we just be
blunt about that? That’s actually been something
that’s been difficult for us to get the state to
acknowledge, so that’s– Whether they
acknowledge it or not, we’re there to say college
students keep coming up to us and saying, I’d like to be
engaged in this campaign. I really want to be able
to vote in the primary. Can I? I don’t know the rules. What are the rules? Am I in? Am I out? Do I have to go
register somewhere else? Do I register here? If I register my car, is that
what will make the difference? What does it take? So we’re here to say two things. The principal– everybody
ought to be able to vote. But the second part is
to say we have evidence that it’s causing a
great deal of confusion. And when you’ve got confusion,
you suppress voting. And I just don’t believe
in suppressing voting. Everybody votes. We count it up and
count it accurately. That’s what democracy is about. That’s how it should work. Senator Warren, I want to
ask you about climate change. Democrats did a very long
event on climate change, so I won’t get into
all the details here because we could
spend many hours on it. But I did look at your
climate change proposal. There’s a long list of ideas. There are two that I’d like
to specifically ask you about. One is a carbon
tax, Senator Warren. Is that part of
your climate plan? Sure. I’m open to this. Although, I want to be clear. It’s just not
going to be enough. I don’t think that’s– if we’d done that
25 years ago, we’d be in a very different position. Today, I think what
are going to be the real drivers of attacking
climate change are going to be about having regulation
in some key industries and about things like a green
manufacturing plan, which I’m glad to talk about. Well, and the other
piece that I want to ask you about–
and again, it’s just a quick question–
does your decarbonisation plan include nuclear power? So we’re going to probably
have to rely on existing nuclear power to
produce electricity without putting more carbon
into the air for some years into the future,
but I don’t support building new nuclear plants. In all cases, we’re going to
have to follow the science and where it takes us. I believe in science. That’s why one of
my principal plans is to double down and
double down again and double down again on the investment
in research and development in basic science that takes us
across the spectrum of not just green energy, but how
we clean up the water, how we clean up the Earth,
desalinization because there’s actually an opportunity here. Think of it this way. We could go to zero carbon
emissions as a country by 2030, 2035. That will be hard work,
but we could do it, and I totally support it. But if we do, it’s only
20% of the problem. We have to think
about the entire world and how we bring down carbon
emissions not just here in America, but all
around the globe. Coming up, more of
our conversation with Democratic Presidential
Candidate and Massachusetts US Senator Elizabeth Warren. We’ll talk about education,
campaign finance, and a lot more. Stay with us. You’re listening
to “The Exchange” on New Hampshire Public Radio. [music playing] You’re watching primary 2020,
“The Exchange” candidate forums from NHPR, produced in
partnership with New Hampshire PBS. Today, our series of primary
2020 candidate forums continues with Democratic
Presidential Candidate and Massachusetts US
Senator Elizabeth Warren. NHPR’s Casey McDermott
is also with me asking questions of Senator Warren. And Senator Warren,
just before the break, we were talking
about climate change. We could talk about
this for many hours. But we did receive a question
from a listener who really, I thought, asked a great question. And we’ve been asking all
the candidates about this. Her name is Carissa, and she
says, “What specific steps have you taken in your
campaign to ensure that your campaign’s
environmental impact is as limited as possible?” Now, yesterday, Tom–
excuse me, Monday. Tom Steyer told us that
he’s only flying commercial. And he said that means a lot
of time waiting in airports for me and my staff. But there’s a huge carbon
footprint of a private jet, so that’s the sacrifice he
said he was willing to make. How about you? So I’ve mostly been
flying commercial. But we’ve been trying
to look at other ways that we can reduce
our carbon footprint. And it’s everything
from the kind of car we drive and down to
do we purchase offsets. Can we make that work as a way
to try to reduce the footprint? One of the things that’s
been so interesting to me in the whole area
of climate has been the good ideas that
have come from lots of different campaigns. One I just want to get
a pitch in here for is when Governor
Inslee was running, he talked about the
importance of regulating three industries– that by 2028, no new
buildings, no new houses that have any carbon footprint. Zero carbon footprint
on new building. By 2030, all newly
built cars and trucks– zero carbon footprint. And by 2035, all
electric production– zero carbon footprint. We do those three things, we cut
carbon emissions in our country by 70%. Think about that. Three things, 70% reduction. Now, we’ve still got to
work on the other 30%. Including all the old buildings
here in New Hampshire. We’ve got to work on the 30%. But think about
how the willingness to step up and use some
regulation in this area could make a huge difference. So I’ve been working with
Governor Inslee on that. That’s part of now my plan. But it’s part of saying when
you can find good ideas, especially on climate
change, let’s pick them up. Because this is not going to
be one thing or another thing. It’s going to be an
all of the above. Go ahead, Casey. Sure. So we’re going to turn
back to education, which I know you alluded to
previously, and specifically education funding, which is
just a perennial issue in New Hampshire. We’ve been engaged in court
battles, legislative debates over it for decades. According to Vox, you are
aiming to turn federal money into a carrot to get states to
invest more of their own money. States that adopt
progressive funding formulas and keep their promises
for allocating that money consistently would
get additional Title I money under your plan. But, as we mentioned,
that’s been tough to get New Hampshire
officials to buy into. How would you deal
with the situation if New Hampshire would not step
up the additional funding that would be necessary? What would that mean for
New Hampshire’s students? So let me describe this
slightly differently. No one’s going to lose any
funding under this plan. But from that $0.02 wealth
tax that we talked about back at the top of the hour,
we’ve got about $800 billion that we can put directly
into our public schools. What I propose is
quadrupling the funding that goes into Title I schools,
schools that are teaching low income children. It’s important in
designing something like this that you have a
strong maintenance of effort and that states are
continuing to pay their fair share because
you sure don’t want a situation where you
put in federal money, the state takes out its money,
and the kids are no better off. The idea here is to
be able to expand. But there’s nothing that takes
away money from New Hampshire, and there’s nothing
that requires New Hampshire to do its school
funding in any particular way. That’s for the folks of New
Hampshire to figure out. What I’m doing with this
plan is putting money on the table for them. If they do
maintenance of effort, if they’re trying to put in
something to help those kids, then we’re going to
make sure they get help. There are two other parts
on funding that I want to make sure you know about. And the second one is for the
first time in history to fully fund I-D-E-A, IDEA, which means
full funding for children with disabilities so that they get
the education that they need to reach their full potential. And the third is $100
billion in excellence grants. That works out roughly
to about $1 million for each public school system– I’m sorry, for
each public school. Not for systems. Each public school. And it’s for that
school to spend the money the way they want to
spend it, the way they think will provide excellence. So up north, it
might be that they need a couple of new school
buses and some school bus drivers, and that would help
them on the transportation end. Somewhere else, it
might be that it’s time to bring in more
counselors or that they want to be able to expand
their music and arts program. So as they see fit. It’s as they see fit. It’s back to this notion of the
federal government shouldn’t be telling people how to do it. It’s about being a good partner
when our local schools are doing their best. Senator Warren,
speaking of money, I wanted to ask you about
some of your own fundraising. You say you’re 100%
grassroots funded in this presidential
campaign, most of the money coming from
donors giving $200 or less. According to “The Washington
Post,” though, you also tapped millions of dollars
for this presidential race with money left over
from your US Senate race, which included cash from
those high dollar donors that you sometimes criticize. Why is it OK to use those moneys
to get this presidential bid off the ground and then
swear off that kind of money for the rest of the campaign? Look, when I was up for
re-election in 2018, I raised $20 million through
grassroots donations. And I then gave away or directly
raised about $11 million for other Democrats
around the country. I gave contributions to every
single Democratic Party. I knew, or at least
believed, that I could run my campaign without
spending a whole lot of money on radio and TV. Instead, going out and
doing a lot of town halls was how I ran. And so I had the
money left over. And I took that– Did you have a change of
heart about the sources of that money? No, it’s not a change of heart. It’s an understanding– look,
this is a presidential primary. We are Democrats running
against Democrats. We have an opportunity to
build a grassroots movement, to build a campaign
not by sucking up to corporate executives
and high dollar donors, but to build it person by
person across this country. We should use this
opportunity when it’s just Democrats
against Democrats to build that
grassroots movement, and I’ll tell you why. Because come November
2020, when you’ve built the grassroots
movement, that’s going to be our
comparative advantage. I want to ask you about that. If running for
president in America is nothing more than going out
and sucking up as much money as you can and then
running a bunch of TV ads and doing some photo
ops, then democracy is going to keep working
better and better and better for the richer and richer and
richer folks in this country and leaving everyone else behind I do want to ask you– I think the primary’s
our chance to fix that. –about the primary itself. And as you know, Senator
Warren, Democrats are desperate to get
President Trump out of office. If you’re the nominee,
what’s your message to those Democrats who worry
that you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage with
self-imposed fundraising restrictions? No big money. No corporate money. No PACs. They’re worried that you
won’t be able to compete. I don’t think this
is a disadvantage. People have contributed
$5 and $10 to my campaign. And Bernie Sanders and I
were the two top fundraisers by a huge amount in
the latest quarter. And that’s the way we’ve
funded this campaign. I think people are
sick of an America and sick of campaigns
that are bought and paid for by billionaires and
by corporate executives and by lobbyists who are just
in a transactional business trying to make sure
that they’re going to get what they want on the
other side of the election. People invest in my campaign,
whether it’s $5 or $25. And I should add whether
they volunteer an hour or volunteer every
Tuesday morning, it’s volunteers
that are the heart and soul of this campaign. Look, democracy is
broken in America. Democracy is broken. People understand this democracy
is working for the rich and not working for
much of anyone else. If we can’t run a Democratic
primary without the high dollar fundraisers every single day– I’m talking about
the general election. I get it. But the point is, if
you don’t build it now, you won’t be there. Now, look, I’m not asking
Democrats across this country to unilaterally disarm. I’m not asking state
parties to disarm. I’ll help them raise money. I think that’s great. But the way we ought to run
our presidential primary and then create the
strength, the way we ought to run for president
is we ought to do it as a truly democratic movement,
enough people pitching in their $5 and volunteering
an hour that we not only win. In the process, we actually
repair our democracy. Go ahead, Casey. Sure. So we asked listeners
what they wanted us to ask presidential
candidates, and one of the
most common themes was how you’re going to
find common ground when things seem to be
so divisive both in and outside of government. So a listener, Megan,
from Charlestown asked, how do you plan to work
with the other party when both parties seem
unwilling to listen to or work with each other to be effective? So I do work with
the other side. I’ve gotten more than a
dozen bills passed into law, and they’ve been bipartisan. And that’s just been
since Donald Trump has been elected president. I’ve got a huge one that
I’m really excited about. It’s going to reduce
the cost of hearing aids by permitting
over-the-counter sales and did it entirely
in a bipartisan manner and signed into law
by President Trump. I know how to work
with the other side. But I think of this as
a much deeper question. I mentioned my three
brothers back in Oklahoma. One is a Democrat. Do the math, right? But the thing is, there
are things we disagree on. And I get that. And we try to
disagree respectfully. And sometimes, we
even raise our voices. But at the end of the day, our
values are very much the same. None of my brothers or
I want to see anybody go broke because somebody
in the family got sick. None of my brothers or I
want to see a child not get the best possible education
because that kid lives in the wrong zip code. None of us want to
see an America where we can’t hold our
heads up overseas, where we’re seen
as the country that turns our backs on our
allies and cuts and runs instead of supporting the
people who fought alongside us. When we talk about those core
principles, about who we want to be as a country, and the
kind of investment we want to make in the future, a
future that doesn’t just work for the rich but a future
that works for everyone, I think there is a
lot of common ground. I’m somebody who has a basic
moral guiding principle. There’s value in each
and every human being. We find that value. We work together. We build a future. So following up on
that same theme, both here in New
Hampshire and also nationally if you’re following
the coverage of conversation with voters, a lot
of the things that come up when people
talk about your campaign is people like you. Some Democrats might like
you, but they worry about whether you could
be at a disadvantage during a general
election campaign because of the attack ads
that Republicans might run, because of the perception
that you’re too left wing, you’re a coastal elite. The list goes on. How do you respond
to those concerns from people within
your own party that you may not be able to
survive a general election? I think of it this way. I think of it as two parts. First, the question
is about Donald Trump. He’ll be out there every
day saying ugly things. Can we just be clear? That won’t just be about me. It’ll be about whoever
our nominee is, whoever threatens this man. Did we just see
yesterday where he attacked someone who had
served our country honorably? And why does Donald Trump attack
him and question his loyalty? Because he threatened
Donald Trump. He threatens Donald
Trump’s security. He threatens Donald
Trump’s personal interest. So he’s going to do
this no matter what. But here’s what I also believe. The Trump show is growing old. People are just
getting tired of this. They’re just worn out. And I think folks are ready
to change the channel. And so when we
change the channel, it can’t just be more
about Donald Trump. He doesn’t get to control
every story, every narrative. We’ve got to be
there with our ideas about what we can do,
about the kind of America that we can build, our
ideas for what’s broken and what we’re going
to do to fix it and how we’re going to build
a grassroots movement to get it done. I think, Senator Warren,
what we’re trying to get at is many Democrats here
in New Hampshire– I’m not talking
about Donald Trump right now, but many
Democrats that we talked to– again, as Casey said, they
like the way you campaign. They like your energy. They like some of your ideas. But they do worry that
your tax and spending policies will be unpalatable
for the general election. They talk to us all the time. They say, we like
Elizabeth Warren. We wish she would
moderate a little bit– Wait a minute. –to make herself more
palatable in the general. Whoa, whoa, whoa. That’s what I hear from people. Well, all I can say is– So what do you say
to those fears? The $0.02 wealth tax
is not only supported by a majority of Democrats and
a majority of independents, a majority of Republicans
support the $0.02 wealth tax. Look, the idea that
this country is working great for the rich and
the powerful and not for anybody else, working
great for giant drug companies but not for people
who are trying to get a prescription
filled, working great for oil companies that want
to drill everywhere but not for the rest of
us who see climate change bearing down upon us, it’s not
just Democrats who see that. It’s Democrats and
Republicans who see it. I think trying to define things
in terms of the old left, right– sure, that’s what some of
the Republicans want to do. That’s what Donald Trump will
do if he thinks it’ll work, if he thinks anybody’s
still listening. But the key is to think of the
world in terms of how people are living it,
people who are trying to get a prescription
filled, people who see the high
cost of housing, people who are getting crushed
by medical bills and student loans. In 2020, we’ve got a
chance to change that. Senator Warren,
there’s a lot more we could have talked about. Here’s a last easy
question for you. How many hours of sleep
do you get a night? Oh, I got a good seven to
eight, sometimes 8 and 1/2. OK. I sleep. I do my exercise, and I sleep. I’m taking care of
myself because I’m going to be in this
fight all the way. [applause] Well, thank you, Senator
Warren, for being here. Thanks also to my
colleague, Casey McDermott. And also, thanks to our
audience for joining us. Thank you for coming
out this morning. This is “The Exchange” on
New Hampshire Public Radio. [applause] This has been a New
Hampshire primary 2020 special presentation. “The Exchange” candidate
forums from NHPR.

Posts created 37648

8 thoughts on “Elizabeth Warren: Presidential Primary Candidate

  1. Marvellous Job, I totally liked it!, See this New Album 'Monish Jasbird – Death Blow', channel link www.youtube.com/channel/UCv_x5rlxirO-WKjLIyk6okQ?sub_confirmation=1 , if you like to ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. My problem with Warren is that since she did not endorse and work for the only progressive running in 2016 against the establishment, Bernie Sanders, how can I ever trust she would actually work for her Medicare For All plan when confronted with the powers aligned against M4A in DC and by the insurance industry?

    That's why I'm voting for Bernie.

  3. President Trump has black, Hispanic Asian and female unemployment at an all-time low. The unemployment rate is the lowest almost fifty years. More Americans working now than ever before. Average household income at an all-time high. And Elizabeth Warren wants to kill two million jobs. It's a no-brainer folks.

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