Warren ‘chapped’ about income inequality
Says nation needs a new energy policy, condemns fishery science
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN said on Monday that she is “chapped” about income inequality and what it is doing to America.
At a meeting at the Worcester Telegram & Gazette with editors and reporters from news outlets in the state’s major Gateway Cities, Warren talked about the need for a national energy policy, the dismal state of fishery science, and her desire to partner with incoming Gov. Charlie Baker. Yet the senator said what really chaps her – chaps is apparently a Warren synonym for anger – is the yawning gap between the rich and everyone else.
Warren said she had been crunching numbers for a speech she plans to deliver this week on where income is flowing in America. She said that, from 1935 to 1980, 90 percent of Americans received 70 percent of the growth in income. The remaining 10 percent of the population pocketed 30 percent of the growth in income. “That’s how we built America’s middle class,” she said.
But from 1980 to 2004, Warren said, 100 percent of the growth in income went to 10 percent of the population and the remaining 90 percent received none of the growth. “In fact, they end up a little behind from where they started out in 1980,” she said.
Warren said this shift in wealth manifests itself in a variety of ways in Washington, including Congress’s reluctance to address soaring student loan debt or initiate tax reforms that would benefit everyday people. She said a recent move by Citigroup and other firms to weaken the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was one of the most blatant examples of how the federal government is working for those able to hire armies of lobbyists but not so much for everyone else.
“We have turned in a different direction,” she said. “We’ve got to turn back. If we don’t start running this country again for America’s working families, then this country will fundamentally change. It won’t be the same America.”
Warren said one of the reasons she accepted the position as strategic policy advisor for the Senate Democrats is so she can fight for the middle class. “I wanted a seat at the table when those policies are argued,” she said.
Warren, who is expected to replace outgoing Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu on the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, said she is alarmed that the first order of business of Senate Republicans this year is going to be approval of the Keystone Pipeline, which would deliver crude oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries. She said the pipeline isn’t a stand-in for a national energy policy that needs to focus on shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
Concerning local energy issues, Warren said she isn’t convinced Massachusetts needs the proposed Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline. She said she would favor expansion of existing pipelines to bring in natural gas needed to help the state and the region transition to renewable forms of energy. “Massachusetts needs renewables. America needs renewables. The earth needs renewables,” she said.Despite the need for renewables, Warren said she didn’t know whether Cape Wind will ever get built. “I hope so,” she said, noting the proposed wind farm in Nantucket Sound would help reduce dependence on fossil fuels and add jobs in New Bedford servicing the offshore wind industry.
Warren also had harsh words for the science behind the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s decision to close down the cod fishery off the coast of Massachusetts. “The fishermen have good reason to be doubtful of NOAA decisions when they’re based on shaky science,” she said.