On Tuesday, August 21, Sen. Elizabeth Warren stood before the National Press Club and announced her plan to defeat corruption in Washington. This plan, which she has appealingly named the Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, paired nicely alongside the Accountable Capitalism Act she announced exactly a week prior.
These coinciding plans to save American capitalism and to bring integrity back to Washington won Warren press attention in the kind of the skillful manner that only the PR schemings of a career politician can.
During a week of scrutiny for the Trump administration, it is easy to assume that Warren hoped to use these unveilings to present herself as the empathetic alternative. But no matter how skillful her marketing team, Warren’s actions continue to demonstrate that her true priorities lie with her own interests, and that she will say and do anything to position herself for a 2020 bid.
In a CNN interview on August 22, Warren was asked about the murder of an Iowa woman at the hands of an illegal immigrant. Warren blithely brushed off the woman’s death and instead encouraged Americans to focus on the “real problems” at the border, such as the separation of immigrant children from their parents. This highlighted inability to identify the murder of an American as a “real problem” is a strong demonstration of the misguided thinking that underlies Warren’s perilous legislative approach.
Her Accountable Capitalism Act similarly misidentifies the problems at the root of American income inequality, blaming the wealth of the middle classes for the daily struggles of America’s poor.
Instead of allowing the free market to weed out businesses that don’t serve the needs of their customers, Warren instead wants to regulate further by creating an Office of United States Corporations inside the Department of Commerce, which, among other duties, would require corporations to “consider the interests of … employees, customers, shareholders, and the communities in which [they] operate” in their business decisions.
While this wording may sound innocuous, it sets a dangerous precedent for government to step in and alter the practices of businesses whose community impact they disagree with. This is a huge missed opportunity for Warren, who has focused her policy solutions on slowing down the growth of businesses instead of helping Americans pursue prosperous paths within the fastest-growing economy since 2014.
Warren’s track record with creating government agencies “for the good of the consumer” is one riddled with failure and lined with personal profit. In 2010, Warren created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which she messaged as a watchdog agency to prevent Wall Street from taking advantage of consumers. Instead, the CFPB operates outside of traditional federal restrictions, pays its bureaucrats higher salaries than those earned by Supreme Court Judges, and incurred over $124 million in the highest tax-funded building renovation project in DC history.
Far from its mission to ‘protect’ consumers, the CFPB imposed regulations so stringent that they crushed smaller businesses, ensuring that only Wall Street conglomerates could continue to grow and survive within them. Yet another failure at detecting and solving the real problem, this does not reflect well on Warren’s desire to further “protect” Americans and American capitalism, and proves that her attempts to meddle with the free markets have only resulted in higher taxes and greater burdens for Americans.
Despite her sudden desire to reform American capitalism, Warren has long been comfortable with slamming big businesses from the podium while investing in them behind the scenes. Warren is a vocal enemy of Wall Street, but has amassed a large percentage of her wealth due to investing in those same groups.
Warren publicly condemned Wells Fargo when lawsuits were brought against them for consumer abuse but shied away from applying the same criticism to TIAA when lawsuits of the same nature were brought against them. Warren has invested over $2 million with TIAA, which makes her silence a dark reminder that she is willing to publicly decry Wall Street and the Ex-Im bank while profiting from those same bodies behind closed doors. Instead of putting her money where her mouth is, she is willing to espouse any rhetoric that will win votes and earn her a headline.
Along with rallying for the downfall of big business, Warren has become increasingly vocal about reducing corruption and increasing transparency in Washington. These goals are laughably hypocritical coming from a woman who refuses to admit that her goals lie with the presidency, despite an unwillingness to commit to a full Senate term if re-elected in November.
When called by her opponent Geoff Diehl, the endorsed Republican candidate for Senate, to sign a pledge to serve the full term, Warren refused. While her second new bill, the “Anti Corruption and Public Integrity Act” would require presidential and vice-presidential candidates to disclose 8 years of tax returns and sell off assets that could be a conflict of interest, she seemingly did not deign to grant her own constituents the same courtesy.
The opposite of transparent, Warren went to great lengths to hide the depths of her personal wealth, and used loopholes to omit over $1.3 million from her past financial disclosure, including the omission of funding for her Washington, DC condominium.
Warren’s attempt at stopping corruption is founded on the premise that politicians whose finances don’t match their rhetoric are part of the ever-growing Washington swamp, and not a fit representative of American interests.
By these standards, Warren does not pass her own test, and yet has brazenly pushed this bill to the forefront of current discussion. Another facet of the bill works to ban Congress and White House staffers from owning stocks. The day after Trump’s election, however, Warren herself purchased between $100,000 and $500,000 worth of shares in the Vanguard 500 Index Admiral (VFIAX) in what may have earned her as much as $25,000. These earnings, alongside her other stock market investments, are a large part of her estimated $10 million net worth. These profitable investments further highlight Warren’s hypocrisy, who rakes in stock market profit while criticizing others who do the same.
Whether discussing immigration, capitalism, or integrity, Warren fails to identify the real problems at every turn. Instead, Warren views everything not from the lens of American prosperity, but with the goal of growing government and her own influence.
Her hatred for strong, all-powerful, and controlling entities seems limited only to corporations and businesses, but this same concept of an omnipotent and overseeing government is no problem. In fact, Warren has pushed costly new agencies, increased regulations, and greater restrictions as the solution to every problem from immigration to capitalism and the economy to public integrity.
At her core, Warren does not advocate for a freer and wealthier nation, but instead for a more powerful government, whose regulatory decisions will impose a soviet-like uniformity to the country’s approach to business and politics. Warren’s willingness to favor her own profit and groups like CFPB are also reminiscent of soviet-era corruption, as is her tight-lipped unwillingness to discuss her true goals for the presidency.
Warren’s hypocrisy may be catching up to her. Recent polling shows that her opponent Geoff Diehl is leading Warren by 14 points among independents, and that her time spent campaigning in other states has not gained her favor with her constituents in Massachusetts. As her own lack of transparency becomes more prominent, Warren may find herself having trouble living up to her own standards.
Rachel Tripp writes about liberty from Washington, DC
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.