Presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren stopped by The Breakfast Club on Friday (May 31st) to talk about the 2020 election. From why she chose to run this time around, her student loan forgiveness plan, and reparations, Warren broke it all down for us.
Sen. Warren kicked off her discussion with DJ Envy, Angela Yee, and Charlamagne Tha God by talking about why she decided to run for president in 2020 after opting out back in 2016. "There is so much change we need to make in this country and 2020 is our big chance to do it. I think of 2020 as the election that will decide which direction our country for generations to come. We've come to a fork in the road here." While President Trump needs to go in the next election, Senator Warren also wants us to reckon with "what's been broken, for how long in a country to end up with a guy like Donald Trump as President of the United States." The past few years with Trump in the Oval Office have alarmed Sen. Warren, as well. The thing that alarms her the most is "how much division and hate [Trump] stirs up. How he embraces the racists, the nativists, sexists. He just finds somebody to hate on."
Another thing that's alarming the presidential hopeful? The recent spike in abortion bans across the country. Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi have all instituted strict abortion ban laws in recent weeks. "It's alarming because it's right now. It's gaining momentum. It's not one and everybody said 'whoah back off.' It's one and then the next state says 'oh we can do better than that. we can go further than that. we can push harder than that.' And you're just watching them roll up one after another after another. And here's the thing. Here's what keeps getting me about this. We live in a democracy. At least, that's the theory. The overwhelming majority of people do not want to see us overturn Roe vs Wade."
Sen. Warren has seen that phenomenon with many other important issues facing the American people, as well, including who gets taxed, how much they get taxed, and why they get taxed. "It's true on one thing after another. I proposed a wealth tax. An overwhelming amount of people think that's a great idea. And I'm not just talking Democrats. I'm talking Democrats, Republicans, Independents. A majority. An overwhelming majority of people," she said.
So, what exactly is a wealth tax? Sen. Warren broke that down for us, too. "Anybody who owns a home has been paying a wealth tax. It's just called a property tax. The difference for me is...what I want to see us do across this country is to say to the top one tenth of one percent - that is the fortunes over $50 million - that your fifty millionth and first dollar, you have to pitch in two cents for every dollar in a tax," she explained. "And that's your accumulated assets everywhere. It's your real estate, your diamonds, your stick portfolio, your Rembrandts, your yachts. Whatever you've got. Two cents."
"And here's the deal: if that top one tenth of the one percent - that's about 75,000 families in this country - pitched in two cents...you want to know what we could do with that?" she continued. "Universal childcare for every baby in this country, universal pre-k, raise the wages of every childcare worker and pre-school teacher to a professional level, provide universal tuition free technical school, two year college, and four year college, put $50 billion into the HBCUs, and cancel student loan debt for ninety five percent of those who've got student loan debt, and knock back the opioid crisis by putting $100 million into that. Think how many lives that could touch." Sen. Warren also touch on how her proposed tax would drastically decrease the wealth gap between the black and white communities in America.
When it comes to taxes, Sen. Warren is outraged that big companies like Amazon get away with paying nothing in federal taxes year after year. "If anybody who's listening to this paid $1 in taxes this year, you paid more than Amazon. So, Amazon gets up and announces publicly that they made $11.2 billion in profits, right?" she said. "They set their executive compensation on that, they tell investors 'this is how we're doing' and then they turn around to the IRS and say 'oh, we actually meant to say zero.' And they actually have the gall to ask for some tax refunds. So they actually made money from the IRS. I've got a plan for that one, too."
Here's Sen. Warren's proposal for righting this situation: "companies that make over $100 million - that's a lot of money - whatever they say their profits are publicly, they have to pay 7% of that in taxes across the board. Over ten years, this proposed tax would raise over a trillion dollars. That's money we can reinvest here in America."
Sen. Warren vows to account for every "nickel and dime" of that money, as well, sharing what causes it will support with the American people. She also aims to break up big companies like Amazon and Facebook in order to "level the playing field" so small businesses have a chance to thrive, as well.
During her chat with The Breakfast Club, Sen. Warren took time to address her recent controversy in which she took a DNA test to prove she had Native American ancestry. She faced a ton of backlash for her actions and she spoke on whether she regrets that decision. "I can't go back. I grew up in Oklahoma. I learned about my family the same way most people learn about their families: from my mom, my dad, my aunts and my uncles," she explained. "It's what I believed. But I'm not a person of color. I'm not a citizen of a tribe. And I shouldn't have done it. I can't go back, but what I can do is try to be a good partner. That's what I do everyday."
Sen. Warren agreed with Charlamagne when he pointed out that the United States was designed to help white men succeed and "not anybody else really." She said we've "seen the effects of that for a long time." She then brought up reparations, saying "my view on this one is: we are a country that was built on the principal of liberty, but on the backs of enslaved people. And then you watch generation after generation where it's not just discrimination socially, it's part of official government policy. Into the 1960s, it was official government policy to subsidize the purchase of homes for white people but not for black people...So, what I've tried to think about in the plans I've put together is how is it that you actually make sure the benefit goes where it needs to go? Part of my plan on that two cents tax is to put at least $50 billion in to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)."
Her plan for reparations is HR40 (Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act), which is a bill she co-sponsored. She says, though, it's a complicated issue because experts who have been working on getting a reparations bill on the House floor still have differing points of view on the best way to get it done. "The point is, you've got to figure out the right way to do the plan. Some say on cash payment, some say 'no, no, no you want to invest in communities.' Get it started. Get a commission going and talk about it."