Elizabeth Warren — Massachusetts senator and a Democratic candidate in the 2020 presidential race — spoke Tuesday evening in a crowded gym at Lansing Community College about an economic program she proposed in Detroit the same day, climate change and more.
“I wanted to roll out something about jobs, about innovation, about the future of our country, and about the future of our planet. I figured Michigan’s a good place to do that," Warren said. “For decades now, America’s basic economic policy has been: help the big corporations do whatever they want to do."
Warren said corporations might not care about American workers, but she does and that's why she's campaigning for president.
She outlined her plan, which she said includes bringing jobs back to America and raising wages.
She also emphasized a need for more attention around climate change through expanding research, development, clean technology and more.
“It starts with a fact and that is climate change poses a survival threat to the world,” she said. "In order to fight back against that threat, we’re going to need all of the research, all of the innovation and all of the manufacturing of good, green products to help us turn around climate change. And that’s why I’m here in Michigan.”
Warren said she would make a “commitment to spend a trillion and a half dollars in buying green. Our federal government needs to go entirely carbon-neutral.”
“Let’s say we get there by 2030 — we’ve got to bring the rest of the world with us,” Warren said. “We’ve got to use our research, our innovation and our manufacturing, and we’ve got to sell it to the rest of the world.”
She said creating this plan could also create 1.2 million new jobs in America.
Warren addressed a question that is frequently asked of widespread economic plans like hers: “How are we going to pay for it?”
She proposed stopping subsidies to oil and gas companies and removing tax breaks received by large corporations like Amazon.
Warren also proposed paying for this program with part of her proposed wealth tax.
“Let’s pass a wealth tax,” she said. “For the top one-tenth of one percent, what I want to say is ‘let’s include the diamonds, the stock portfolios, the Rembrandts and the yachts.'"
“Your first fifty (million)? Cool. But for your fifty-millionth and first dollar, you’ve got to pitch in two cents, and two cents for every dollar of wealth after that.”
“What can you do with two cents from the top one-tenth of one percent? Well here’s where we can start: We can do universal childcare for every baby in this country."
“And there’s more: with that same two cents, we can also provide universal, tuition-free technical school, community college and four-year college for everyone who wants it ... and I’m still not through. For that same two cents, we can cancel student loan debt for 95% of people who have it.”
Warren described some economic hardship her family faced when she was a child. After her father had a heart attack, “he couldn’t go back to work for a long, long time,” she said.
She said her family came close to losing their house. “(Her mother) walk(ed) to the Sears, and (got) a full-time, minimum-wage job answering phones. That minimum-wage job saved our home.”
“It was only years after that I came to understand that our story was also a story about government,” she said. “When I was a girl, a full-time, minimum-wage job in America would support a family of three. Today, a full-time, minimum-wage job in America will not keep a momma and a baby out of poverty. That is wrong, and that is why I am in this fight.”
According to FiveThirtyEight, recent polls place Warren in third or fourth place in the crowded Democratic primary field. The two Michigan-specific polls they list place her in a solid third, behind Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden.
The Michigan Democratic primary will be held on March 10, 2020, ahead of the general election November 3, 2020.