Warren: We’re in this mess because Washington has ignored the middle class for a generation

By David Ferguson
Thursday, November 21, 2013 10:27 EDT
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Elizabeth Warren via screencap
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On Wednesday night, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) stopped by “The Rachel Maddow Show” to discuss economic populism, wealth inequality and possible ground games for the Democratic and the Republican Parties in the coming years.

Maddow began the segment by discussing the recent decisions to raise the minimum wage in New Jersey and Massachusetts. In New Jersey, voters overwhelmingly agreed to raise the minimum hourly wage in the state to $8.25. The Massachusetts state Senate voted to increase that state’s minimum wage to $11 an hour.

This week, Sen. Warren made a floor speech about how the time has come to stop threatening the popular and successful Social Security program with budget cuts and privatization.

Maddow welcomed Warren to the show and asked her why people in Washington are so dead set against talk of expanding Social Security.

Warren replied that it’s because the interests of the middle and working classes have been off the table in Washington for a generation.

“Adjusted for inflation,” she said, “the wages for a middle class family have gone down” for decades, and yet basic costs of living have all increased. Housing, energy and food prices have all increased steadily during that same period of time.

“Families cut back as best they could,” Warren said. “They sent two people into the work-force if they had a two-person household.”

And yet, she said, they have found that they still can’t get by.

“So they stopped saving and went into debt,” she continued. “And now as they’re starting to hit their retirement years, what we’re seeing is seniors who are really in a financial squeeze.”

Now, she said, there are fewer workers with pension plans and other workers who thought they had pension plans are seeing those monies raided and confiscated by Wall Street hedge funds.

All many of these people have, Warren said, is Social Security. “This is no time — this is the last time we should be talking about cutting Social Security.”

“This is about what kind of people we are,” she said, “and what kind of country we are trying to build. I believe fundamentally that we are a people who believe that anyone should be able to retire with dignity. And that’s what Social Security is about.”

Watch the video, embedded below via MSNBC:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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