tv Road to the White House 2020 Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Iowa CSPAN January 7, 2019 2:10pm-3:15pm EST
productivity versus having humans do routine tasks. so i think the china approach is , focused on immediate and iand monetization think those approaches are more business driven. >> watch the communicators on c-span2. massachusetts senator elizabeth war and spoke in des moines, iowa after announcing she was running a committee to ask laura running for prez. takes questions and she met with members of the audience. >> hello, des moines. [cheers and applause] >> the bad news is i have caught a cold. the good news is -- nevertheless, i persist.
[applause] >> so i want to start by saying, these are dangerous times for our country, and the direction we go will in part be set right here in iowa. i am grateful to all of you who take this seriously, who are in this fight all the way, and who are going to make us a better country. so thank you. thanks for being here. [applause] >> ok. i thought i would talk a little bit and tell you a little bit about myself and why i am in this fight and then we will just take some questions. afterwards, if you want to, we will take some pictures. [applause] >> none of that. so, isabella got it started. i grew up in oklahoma. big 12. we've got a few oklahoma people
here. i grew up in a family. my daddy sold stuff. he sold carpeting, he sold paint, he sold housewares. i have three older brothers. they all went off and joined the military. they carry their veterans' cards today proudly. [applause] >> i was what used to be known as the late in life baby. my mama always called me the surprise. i was about 30 before it hit me what that meant. it worked out. for a long time, it was just my mama, my daddy, and me. when i was in middle school, my daddy had a heart attack, and my mom and i thought that he was going to die. he did not. he was in the hospital for a while, and then came home but he could not work.
so the bills piled up. we lost our family's station wagon and at night my mama would tuck me into bed and i would hear him talk, and i learned words like mortgage and foreclosure. heavy words for a kid. one day i walked into my folks' bedroom and laid out on the bed was the dress. some of you know the dress. it is the one that only comes out for weddings, funerals, and graduations. my mother had it laid out, and she was pacing back and forth. she was in her stocking feet and she was crying. she was saying, we will not lose this house. we will not lose this house. we will not lose this house. she was 50 years old.
she had never worked outside the home, and she was terrified. so, finally, she pulled that dress on. she put on her high heels, blew her nose, and she walked to the sears and got a minimum wage job. that minimum wage job saved our house and it saved our family. if you want to know who i am, there it is. that is the story written on my heart. for a long time, i thought that story was a story just about my mother, a story about how she dug deep, and when she had to, she dug deeper. then i started to understand, years later, it is the story of millions of families across this country. people who do what needs to be done, to take care of those they
love. then, years after that, i came to understand it is also a story about government because, when i was a kid, a minimum wage job would support a family of three. yeah. [applause] >> it would cover a mortgage. it would cover utilities, and it would still get basic food on the table. today, a minimum wage job in america, full-time, will not keep a mama and a baby out of poverty. that is wrong and it is why i am in this fight. yes. [applause]
>> so it was a bumpy path for me. i wanted to be a schoolteacher. we got any schoolteachers here? i wanted to be a schoolteacher, but that meant college. there was no money for that. so, like i said, it's a bumpy path. i got a scholarship, dropped out of school, got married -- smart. [laughter] >> my chance was a commuter college that cost $50 a semester. yeah. yeah. an america that invests in young people. i had babies. i went to a state law school, and i ended up as a professor. that was pretty amazing, but the one thing i can tell you about all of my grown-up professional life is that it is centered
around one fundamental question. what is happening to working families in this country? why is it getting harder and harder for young people to be able to build some security? why is the path getting rockier, and particularly rockier for people of color? why is that happening in this country? [applause] >> so, let me just lay it out a little bit. it is washington. think about it with the story i started out with. back when i was a little girl, the folks in washington -- they thought about the minimum wage in terms of "what does it take a family of three to survive?" that is where they thought the minimum wage should be set because it should be an opportunity, a gateway, a chance
to get in. today, the folks at washington who are in charge think the way to set a minimum wage is to maximize the profits of a multinational corporation. they work for the rich and the powerful, not for the rest of us. it is not just there. it is throughout the system. washington works great for giant drug companies, not for people who are trying to fill a prescription. [applause] >> washington works great for giant oil companies that want to drill everywhere, but not for people who are worried that this planet is going to burn up if we do not make changes. [applause] >> washington works great for giant financial institutions,
but not for people whose social security numbers get stolen. this is one step after another. washington works for the rich and the powerful and leaves everyone else behind. this is corruption, plain and simple, and we need to call it out. [applause] >> it is corruption, and it is eating away at our democracy, and at the very fiber of our lives. [applause] >> i will do a couple of quick ones. today, in america, wages have basically not budged for the median family for an entire generation, but the cost of housing has gone up.
the cost of getting an education has gone out. the cost of childcare has gone up. the cost of health care has gone up. families are squeezed because washington is working for the rich. let me do another one. homeownership, number one way in america for middle-class families to build wealth. it is generation after generation. today, in america, african-american homeownership rates are the same as they were when housing discrimination was legal. think about that. student loans -- like i said, i got a four year diploma at a cost that i could pay for on a part-time waitressing job. today, young people in this
country are getting crushed by a trillion and a half dollars in student loan debt. we have got to turn this around. [applause] >> understand the impact of this corruption. whatever issue brought you here tonight, i guarantee it intersects through a washington that is working for the rich and the powerful. guns, gun safety -- it goes through washington. we cannot do basic things that most of us agree on. why? because we have the nra calling the shots in washington. not our democracy.
[applause] >> climate, an existential threat to all of us, but the oil companies, the coal companies keep calling the shots in washington. we have to fight back. we can talk about a lot of these, but i wanted to put on the table an idea. that is, we need change, but not just one statue here or one wall over there. that is not going to get the job done. we need big, structural change. [applause] >> we have got to go big on this.
let me give you ideas and examples and then we will get to some questions. here is the first one. we need to change the rules in washington. yes. it is about money in politics. it is about the influence of money. i have the biggest anticorruption proposal since watergate. [applause] >> yes. how about we block the revolving door between wall street and washington? [applause] >> no kidding. how about if we say that everyone who runs for federal office needs to put their taxes
online? [applause] >> change the rules in washington. citizens united, money and politics, change the rules in washington. that is one. two, we have to change the rules of this economy. i want to start again with structural change. we have a problem with big corporations. billionaires are calling the shots. we need to strengthen our unions, our workers. get balance back. [applause] >> and we need to attack head on the rising costs that are crippling middle-class families. health care is a basic human right. [applause]
>> a chance to get an education without getting crushed by student loans. [applause] >> childcare. how about we join the rest of the developed economies and help pay for child care? and strengthen social security and protect our pensions. that is how we do this. [applause] >> so, we have to change the rules in washington. we have to change the rules in our economy, and we have got to change the rules in our politics. that means we need to protect democracy. that is my first idea. i want to see a constitutional amendment so every american citizen has a right to vote and that vote will be counted.
[applause] >> i will loop back into say one more time we have to get money out of politics. overturn citizens united. return democracy to the people, where it belongs. [applause] >> i never thought i would run for public office, not in a million years. it was not on my to do list. not on my bucket list. not on my anything list. here's the deal. my daddy ended up as a janitor, and i got a chance to become a public school teacher, a college
professor, and a united states senator because america invested in opportunity for me. i am determined that we will be a country that invests in opportunity for every one of our children. that is why i am here. [applause] >> this is about how we make change. for me, i will tell you what i am doing here in iowa. that is trying to build grassroots. i do not believe democracy should be for sale to billionaires and giant corporations. [applause] >> i do not take corporate money. i do not take pac money of any kind. i do not take money from federal
lobbyists. [applause] >> this is about rebuilding what we do together. this is about rebuilding our democracy, person by person by person, across iowa and across this country. so, i am going to do this grassroots. i hope everybody in here will sign up, will be part of this. elizabethwarren.com. go there. volunteer. be part of this. get a sign, a bumper sticker, offer to make a few phone calls, pitch in five dollars. make an investment in democracy because this is our chance. this is our chance. we, together, can dream big and
fight hard, and that is how we will make change. [applause] >> questions? [applause] you're going to do questions. thank you. >> hi, everybody. you all were given tickets when you came in, raffle tickets, and we are going to draw some of these. there are two microphones, one at the front on both sides, and
we are going to draw numbers. if you would make room for people to come down with their tickets -- i'm going to call some of these numbers. you all were given tickets when you came in, raffle tickets, and we are going to draw some of these. there are two microphones, one at the front on both sides, and we are going to draw numbers. if you would make room for people to come down with their tickets. i'm going to call some of these numbers. 9397, 9271.
>> we have a winner. >> 9396. come on up. >> hold on. let him do some more. >> 9293. >> one more. ok. we ready? >> my name is jeffrey. welcome to des moines. >> i love being in des moines. >> first, i want to thank you. i am a bankruptcy practitioner. thank you for sponsoring the bankruptcy reform act of 2018. >> yes. it is a nerd thing. >> it is a nerd thing. >> but it matters to families in trouble and small businesses in trouble. i'm going to nerd out with you and say it is a good bill. >> much appreciated. you have already hit one of my top issues, which is corruption and money in politics.
able to worship as you want. what worries me now in america is whether that is turning into a weapon. when i see a case like hobby lobby, in which a corporation free exercise has to be protected, and that means the corporation does not have to provide a full range of health services for women, this has become, in a case like hobby lobby, a tool to advance an ideological agenda. i think hobby lobby is wrong. we have to fight back on this. i was a fifth grade sunday school teacher. that is a long story in itself. all i can say is no one was injured. it was a very low bar. but i believe this is what makes our country great is that people are free to choose their religion or to choose no religion at all, but they do not
get to use that to keep others from their rights. thank you. good question. who is next? have we got one? we have one over here -- where are we? ok. ok. >> first of all, thank you for coming to iowa and bringing a positive message. i wanted to ask -- how do you debate someone who is not interested in civility or facts? [laughter] [applause] >> did you have someone specific in mind? >> let me preface that with -- it is a question for you, but also for us. >> so, here's how i see this. we have a chance now, over the next year and three quarters, to get out there and talk about something we have not talked about nearly enough. that is what we are fighting for. i believe that when we get a chance to do this, we can actually come together on this.
i told you i grew up in oklahoma. all three of my brothers still live in oklahoma, and one of my three brothers is a democrat. [laughter] >> we are working on it. here's the deal. i love all three of my brothers, and what i believe is that, whatever else is going on, the noise and the nonsense and the wind and the craziness, we have to stay focused on what matters to us. and what matters to us is that everybody gets a fighting chance to build something. what matters to us is that people get a chance to get an education without getting crushed by student loan debt. what matters to us is that people get access to healthcare, that they can afford, and it's real and it's there in rural hospitals and communities all across this country.
you have to go out and say let me show you the 45 pieces of evidence. democrats, republicans, and independents -- there are some signed on a different direction, it they know our government is broken. they know it is working for everyone who has made it big, and it is not working for their families. that needs to be the place we start, that's how we begin to build a movement and change that country. that's what i believe. thank you. [applause] sen. warren: do we have another one? >> 9320. have you got one? sen. warren: are you one of these? >> first off, it's been a few years, but i remember you talking about letting students refinance their loans through the post office and i haven't heard that for a while, but i think that is a great idea. sen. warren: thank you. >> i think as democrats, we need to run as the party of the people. sen. warren: yep. >> what do you think is the big anchor issue that we can use not just to join progressives
together, but the american people so they understand that you are fighting for not just the middle class, because we need to help build up the middle class, how can we build up the working class? sen. warren: it is a great question. and for me, the center part of this is about opportunity. like i said earlier, it is not like i have tested this out with some focus groups or done a bunch of polling. i am in this fight that has been the same fight of my lifetime. and it is a fight to make sure that the chances i got are there for other kids. that the chances to build something are real. and i watch every day as those chances are denied.
to young people, that are denied to people of color, they are denied to immigrants, they are denied to people in the lgbtq community. they are denied to native americans over and over and over. a rocky path gets rockier and rockier. i believe that what we need to fight for is an america where it's just a level playing field. i don't think they are asking for handouts. they just want a chance. [applause] sen. warren: they work hard, they play by the rules, they can do this. i think that's where we started. and i do have to say it, we have to call corruption out. we have to call it for what it is and stay on it. good. we got some more? >> we got some more. 9261. 9296. 9353. got those tickets. there are two mics, that site and the side. bring your ticket. come on up. this system worked really well in massachusetts, i'm told. [laughter]
sen. warren: it does. it is going to work in des moines. the idea that everyone is going to get a chance to ask a question, not just the people who run to the front. let's see if we can make this work. we have somebody? [laughter] [applause] sen. warren: go ahead. >> good evening, my name is amber. i am from kansas. olathe, kansas. we traveled three hours to be here. [applause] sen. warren: that's commitment. i'm impressed. thank you. >> i appreciate the opportunity to be here, and i want to say that you are probably one of the
most natural feeling candidates that i have met and that speaks volumes. and i hope this is not the last time we see you in that we see you in a more presidential position. [applause] sen. warren: thank you. >> i am a recent public administration graduate, and my focus was health equity and housing. i want to know as someone who was on the grassroots, who experiences housing inequality, who is rent burdened, who does not work a job that will allow them the opportunity to own a home, and i know the recent bill -- the bill you recently introduced -- sen. warren: i'm going to talk about it. >> please talk about it. i know maybe there's a lot of people here who don't know about it. but as someone who is on the ground, what can i do to keep pushing that message in my community about inclusivity and housing affordability for everyone? [applause] sen. warren: so, how many people in here worry about the rising cost of housing? [applause]
sen. warren: so, here is the deal in america, but let's really wonk out for a minute here. new construction america has moved to the high-end. for the rich, there are a lot of housing opportunities. but if you are middle class, working class, working poor, or poor poor, what's basically happened is there has not been much housing coming in. the government has backed out from what it was doing and the consequence is housing is deteriorating and at the same time, the price is going up because of the demand. what can we do about it? we can build 3.2 million new housing units across this country. urban, rural, we can do this. [applause] sen. warren: what would be the consequence of doing that? first is we would produce about
1.5 million jobs, that's a good part. second, we would bring down, according to moody's, the price of rent, instead of their continuing to go up, by about 10%. that's their estimates. think about it. you bring 3.2 million new housing units online. it affects prices overall, not just the new uses you bring in but because it affects the market. but that's not all we need to do. housing, we talked about earlier, the number one way that families, working families, middle-class families built wealth is to buy a home. and that is how it has worked, generation after generation for white families.
but not for african-american and latino families. [applause] sen. warren: and here's the deal. not just because of gravity, not just because that's how it worked out. it was official government policy to redline african-american neighborhoods and prevent them from participating in housing wealth until the mid-1960's. think about that. that was the policy of our government, and many of those redline neighborhoods have never recovered. so, that's how we end up with african-american homeownership rates back where they were when housing discrimination was legal. so, what does this housing bill proposed to do? 3.2 million new units, but it also says we need to take a first step towards rectifying the wrongs of the past. and help people informally
redlined areas be able to buy homes. [applause] sen. warren: i will tell you one more part about this bill. it also requires that we put the money in to fully fund our obligations for housing in our native reservations. something that we have not done in the past. [applause] sen. warren: now, let's talk democracy for just a minute. this is an expensive plan. there's a lot to this plan. but a lot of help for a lot of
people. how do you pay for something like that? i got an answer. [laughter] sen. warren: and the answer is if we just go back to the estate taxes and tax the families that were taxed upon death during the george w. bush administration -- that's all it is, just that far back, we can raise enough money to pay for 3.2 million new housing units and not cost american taxpayers a single dime. [applause] sen. warren: but here is the part about money talks. i go talk to experts in washington, i put this bill together.
i talk about this. this will be senior housing. this will be housing for people with disabilities. housing in rural areas where it is falling apart. lots of good stuff that comes out of this. remember, 3.2 million new housing units plus all the spillover effects from this and jobs. and who would help pay for this? the 10,000 richest families in america. and do you know what people in washington say to me? you can never do that. because 10,000 rich families have so much more power in washington than millions of american families who are struggling to pay. so what i say to them, you just wait until 2020. [applause] sen. warren: this is fun.
let's do a couple more. >> senator warren coming up talked a lot about -- sen. warren: tell me your name. >> my name is andreas. you talked a lot about tackling corruption at a national level in national politics. but i want to talk about tackling corruption on a party level. given some of the undemocratic behavior between the dnc and hillary's campaign in 2016 against senator sanders, what sort of impact do you hope to have on the party for more fair and transparent primary process? [applause] sen. warren: i am going to say two things to you. the first one is i'm not relitigating 2016. [applause] sen. warren: but i think right now in a 2020 presidential primary that as democrats, we
have a chance to strengthen democracy and here's how i think we ought to do it. i think that all the democratic candidates, whoever they turn out to be, should link arms and say our primary is not for sale to billionaires. [applause] sen. warren: none of us want super pac's to help us and none of us believe that billionaires ought to be able to self finance. it ought to be about building a movement, person by person by person. this is how we will build democracy. this is how we restore confidence in the democratic party. we are the party of the people, but we got to walk the walk. thank you. >> one more question. sen. warren: make it a good one. [laughter] sen. warren: and then we will do pictures. >> bienvenidos, iowa. [applause] ohio was the first the battle of women to into the legal box and become attorneys. you are in a thought leading state of the union. welcome. put that aside. i've got a question for you, because i'm very worried about
the course of our corporations. many of them are offshoring to ireland and other offshore locations. i want to know we can do in 2022 to incentivize them to stay here and balance the responsibility towards our communities, because we built their wealth and i think it's an opportunity in 2020, and i want to hear what we can do. sen. warren: this is great. great question about corporations. i will just do the short version of this. and what it starts with, kind of the core of what this is about, it is back to the point about corruption. why do you think the tax bill gave away $1.5 trillion to giant corporations, multinational corporations and billionaires? think about it. the estimate that i saw was that these multinationals that got
literally hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks, 40% of their shareholders are not even here in the united states. so we just gave away money. why did we give away money? because washington is corrupt. because money talks. part of it has to be -- this is why i was talking about systemic change. structural change. we've got to start with an anticorruption bill. we have to push them back, and that gives us the chance then to hit them on the tax code. and this is going to be a really shocking principle. are you guys ready? everybody should pay a fair share. [applause] sen. warren: but there is one more i want to throw in about
this, and that is corporate behavior is determined by corporations themselves, and up until the early 1980's, you can look at corporate minutes, you can look at the groups that represented corporations, and you know what they say? they say, here in america, and across europe, corporations have a responsibility to their shareholders, to their employees, to their customers, to their communities. that was how it was. and it used to be the case that as corporations got richer, everybody participated. but the workers got richer, too. everybody got a bigger slice of pie. that changed in the late 1980's and corporations said it is only
one thing. it is shareholder wealth. and we are here to maximize it, even if it means we are making big money and we lay off our american workers to go somewhere else. we dump all kinds of poisons in the river because it improves our profitability. that's the way corporations have shifted over time. and they don't want to talk about this. they have pr firms, they put little green logos on things. but understand the rules that govern corporations are not just up to corporations, they are up to you and me. so, i have a proposal for something called accountable capitalism, that says -- [applause] sen. warren: that the giant corporations have to get a charter that requires them to respond not just to their shareholders, but their employees and customers and communities. and i think employees should be
allowed to elect 40% of the board. [applause] >> one more and then one quick housekeeping after this. you are going to say hello to these folks and here and the senator is going to stay and see as many as she can. and we will work this way. last question. >> thank you for being here, senator. all of a sudden, this country no longer talks about the national debt. it just grows and grows and grows. i am very impressed -- actually, i am just stunned that donald trump turns around and gives giant tax breaks when the national debt goes up and he's giving it to corporations that are trying to destroy the unions and many, many workers do not keep up. my question for you is when you get to be president of the united states -- [applause] >> -- will you tell us tonight that you will stand against the presidency towards a national budget amendment? sen. warren: you bet.
wait, i didn't hear the last few words. let me say on this, we need to make our dollars, our budgets work for our people. and i agree, our national debt right now is a drag on our young people, on their future. it is obscene what america has done, that america went to war 17 years ago and put that on a credit card for our children to pay. that is fundamentally wrong. that america gave away $1.5 trillion in tax breaks, fundamentally wrong. but i think the way we have to do this one is going to be down in the trenches. we have to rewrite our tax laws. we have to come back in this economy and we have to make the investments again. the investments in infrastructure, the investments
in education, the investments in housing. >> would you be willing to roll back the tax cuts donald trump gave? sen. warren: for billionaires and big corporations, you bet. [applause] sen. warren: thank you. good question. first, thank you all for being here. i really do appreciate this. but let me say something about this fight. this is about dreaming big. and it's about fighting hard and it is about making structural change. not a nibble here and a piece around the edge. and a lot of people say it's
just too hard. you just can't do that. it's just too hard. so let me just say to all of you, people told me after the financial crash we can never get a consumer agency. that crash was caused one lousy mortgage at a time. one giant bank that cheated one family, another family, another family. targeted communities of color, targeted young people, targeted seniors, and crushed them.
but people said to me, the banks have all the money, and they will prevail. they spent more than $1 million a day for more than a year lobbying against financial reforms, in particular, that consumer agency. but here's the deal. we have nothing on our side. we didn't have money or big groups on our side, but we got organized and we fought back and the consumer financial protection bureau is the law today. [applause] sen. warren: and mick mulvaney tries to sideline it. but it is doing its work. it's going to stay in there. i will tell you another one. back in 2011, 2012, i got a whole bunch of phone calls from people who said to me i love you, elizabeth, but massachusetts is not going to elect a woman to the senate. all i want to say is we got organized, we fought back and i am now the senior senator of the commonwealth. [applause] sen. warren: ok, and just one more. just one more. [laughter] sen. warren: wells fargo -- [booing] sen. warren: you've heard of wells fargo, i can tell.
wells fargo cheats millions of its customers and decides the way to deal with that is to fire a bunch people who make $15 an hour. and we saw what happened during the crash. the ceo's of the giant banks they just rolled in the money and stayed in their jobs. people said to me, you can't get any accountability, personal accountability from the executives of a big company like wells fargo. but all i can say is you get in that fight, push back, and the ceo of wells fargo is gone. [applause] sen. warren: the point of that is yeah, it's hard. well damn, a lot of things are hard. if they work hard, somebody else would have already done it. but we are hard americans. and we have a history of coming together to fight the hard fights. the abolitionists. they didn't say, this is too hard. the suffragettes, they didn't say this was too hard.
america's labor movement, they didn't say this was too hard. america's civil rights movement. [applause] sen. warren: yes, these folks were told it's too hard. give up before you start. but they organized, they persisted, and they changed america. [applause] sen. warren: i'm here tonight because i believe. i believe in what we can do. i believe that this right now is our moment. our moment to dream big, to fight hard, and to take back this country for democracy. [applause] ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> ♪["respect" playing] ♪ [indiscernible conversations] >> are you going up there? >> yeah. ♪ >> everybody that wants to take a picture with the senator, make your way to the right side of