Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said during a speech in New York City’s Washington Square Park Monday evening that certain industries – namely, the fossil fuel industry, gun industry, and pharmaceutical industry – are causing the deaths of American citizens across the board.
In a speech focusing on her plan to end corruption in Washington, Warren pointed to three issues specifically – climate change, gun safety, and health care – to illustrate the need for anti-corruption reform.
“Despite our being the strongest and wealthiest country in the history of the world, our democracy is paralyzed. And why? Because giant corporations have bought off our government,” Warren said, accusing the fossil fuel industry, gun industry, and health care industry of buying off the government, concluding that Americans are losing their lives as a result.
Americans are killed by floods and fires in a rapidly waning planet. Why? Because huge fossil fuel corporations have bought off our government. Americans are killed with unthinkable speed and efficiency in our streets and our stores and our schools. Why? Because the gun industry has bought off our government. Americans are dying because they can’t afford to fill prescriptions or pay for treatment. Why? Because health insurance companies and drug companies have bought off our government.
Warren’s wide-ranging speech also took aim at the wealthy, with the crowd repeatedly chanting “two cents” in response to Warren’s “Wealth Tax.”
“That is a two-cent tax on fortunes over $50 million. Your first $50 [million] – don’t worry, you’re in the clear,” she said, adding that it’s “just two cents.”
“I look at it this way. You built a great fortune here in this country– worked hard, stayed up late – unlike anyone else. Yeah– you worked hard, you built a great fortune, or you inherited one. Good for you,” Warren continued, echoing her previous “you didn’t build that” sentiments.
But I guarantee that any great fortune in America was built at least in part using workers all of us help pay to educate. Built at least in part, getting your goods to market on roads and bridges all of us helped pay to build. Built at least in part protected by police and firefighters all of us– help pay their salaries. And we’re happy to do it. This is America. We’re happy to invest in opportunities for everyone, but we’re saying if you make it big … then pitch in two cents so everyone else gets a chance to make it.
“And what can we do with two cents?” Warren asked, listing universal childcare, universal pre-k, and tuition-free college as a few examples. She also promised to raise the wages of childcare workers, cancel the bulk of student loan debt, and invest $50 billion in minority institutions.