Friends of Senator Warren have pegged their hopes on her aggressive menu of policy initiatives. They’ve been widely touted in the media, with one problem: few popular sources have said much other than there are a lot of them. Coffee conversations with progressive and conservative friends alike indicate that laundry lists of proposals have the impact of Nerf balls. They can be tolerated for awhile, not taken seriously, and quickly become nuisances. It’s partly because few know what her proposals are, and partly because even fewer have confidence they will ever get beyond the campaign stump speech stage. In that sense, Warren and Sanders have a lot in common.
Because I know you’re interested, Warren’s proposals fall into six broad categories, as far as I can tell: 1) Lobbying reform; 2) Corporate governance reform; 3) Tax reform; 4) Election reform; 5) Criminal justice reform; 6) Foreign policy
She wants members of congress to be prohibited from ever serving as lobbyists, and from engaging stock trading while serving. I wonder if mutual funds would be OK?
Forty percent of corporate board membership would have to be elected by workers. I presume she means major corporations, ones at least in the S&P 500.
Top marginal income tax rates would be increased substantially. An additional excise tax of 2% would be levied against estates greater than $50 million. I’m assuming it means the first $49 million would not be subject to the excise tax. For estates greater than $1 billion, the tax would be 3%.
Elections would be made more fair by eliminating gerrymandering, reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act, and finding a legislative way to overturn Citizens United.
Other than legislation banning private prisons, her criminal justice reform package seemed vague to me. Maybe there’s more.
The same with foreign policy. She wants NAFTA to be renegotiated to provide more worker protection, and the same for all other bilateral and multilateral trade agreements. Add to that adequate funding for the military, and that’s about it.
I admire her passion, and believe her proposals are each worthy of consideration. More than that, they’re worthy of enactment in forms that can make it through to signature. But they’re not going to inspire voters to rush to her side. For one thing, they’re way up in the stratosphere, and voters are more focussed on potholes. If her rhetoric can’t make her ideas look and sound like practical ways to fix potholes, they don’t have a chance. For another, voters, at least informed voters, are more aware that the president doesn’t have much power to push things through congress. Even Trump’s bombastic attempts at authoritarianism only block and throttle. When he tries, he flops.
Warren is a powerful and needed voice in the senate. That’s where she should stay. Same for Bernie.