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Mon Aug 25, 2014 at 08:46 AM PDT

The day I met Ted Kennedy

by Elizabeth Warren

When I was a law professor, I spent years studying why middle class families were going broke. I went into this area of study believing the hype – that people who were declaring bankruptcy must be gaming the system and going on too many shopping sprees at the mall.

My academic research showed that three things caused more than 90% of bankruptcies: A serious medical problem, a job loss, or a family breakup. These were good people who worked hard, played by the rules – and, for most of this, a twist of bad luck had turned their financial lives upside-down.  

So, in the 1990s, when the big credit card companies tried to make it harder for working families to straighten out their lives using bankruptcy, I was determined to fight back. And that's how I came to meet Senator Ted Kennedy.

I told the story in Springfield a few months ago. Take a look:

Senator Kennedy led the charge to stop that bad bankruptcy bill for ten years. It wasn't something that made headlines, and it wasn't something he got a lot of praise for – after all, there aren't any lobbying groups or high-dollar PACs for people who are about to go bankrupt. He did it because it was the right thing to do.

And then five years ago today, we lost our champion Senator Ted Kennedy. Not a day goes by that we don't miss his passion, his enthusiasm, and – most of all – his commitment to working families.

After all these years, I still have a voicemail saved from Senator Kennedy about our work together on consumer issues. Every once in a while, I listen to it just to hear his voice. I wish I could thank him one last time. I wish I could tell him that I'm doing my best to honor his memory, and to do what Senator Kennedy taught all of us to do: to fight for the millions of hard-working families who are counting on us.


Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 12:06 PM PDT

Why I went to Kentucky

by Elizabeth Warren

This election year, we have a chance to change Congress—and that change starts with replacing Mitch McConnell with a fresh, new, dynamic woman who will fight for America's families. That's why I went to Kentucky this past weekend, campaigning with Alison Lundergan Grimes.

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When I learned last winter that I would have a seat on the Senate Banking Committee, I was very happy because I knew it would give me the opportunity to ask tough questions and push for some accountability from Wall Street and its regulators.  In the last six months, that's exactly what I've tried to do.

Again and again, I've been making a simple point to anyone who will listen: we need to learn from the financial crisis of 2008 and, moving forward, to prevent the kinds of high-risk activities that made a few people rich but nearly destroyed our economy.

Now it's time to launch the next push. I joined forces with Senators John McCain, Maria Cantwell, and Angus King to introduce the 21st Century Glass Steagall Act of 2013 to reinstate and modernize core banking protections.

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Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 03:10 PM PST

It just happened

by Elizabeth Warren

Just moments ago, I received a call from Sen. Harry Reid’s office, confirming my position on the Senate Banking Committee in January.

I appreciate the faith that Leader Reid has put in me to take this assignment, and I
am looking so forward to playing a role in Congressional oversight over big banks on Wall Street and the banking agencies in Washington. Middle class families need more watchdogs in Washington that will try to hold the big guys accountable and to stop bad deals for the American people. I’m ready to help.

Please join me in thanking Leader Harry Reid for this incredible opportunity.

Over the years, your faith in my work has strengthened me. You donated to my election campaign, you made phone calls to help identify volunteers and get out the vote in Massachusetts, and you pushed hard again and again to put wind in my sails in every way imaginable so that I could take on the big guys.

Against the odds, you helped give me a real shot at winning.

You’ve been there for me since the beginning, and I’m so grateful. This is how real
change happens – we do it together.

Of course, fighting for the middle class means more than talk or strongly worded blog posts. It means across-the-board, consistent accountability for anyone who breaks the law — no matter where they work or who their friends are. And that’s what we’re going to work hard to accomplish.

But before we get started, please join me in thanking Leader Reid for his giving me this incredible opportunity.

I’ve taken on Wall Street banks and other powerful interests for years, and, with your help, I’ll continue to do so for many years to come.

Thank you for being a part of this, and keep fighting!


Wed Aug 29, 2012 at 08:11 AM PDT

We built it together

by Elizabeth Warren

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave a speech last night at the Republican National Convention about the Greatest Generation.

Let's talk about what really made the Greatest Generation so great.

Coming out of the Great Depression, America was at a crossroads. The future of our economy - and our democracy - was at stake.

We made a decision together as a country: To invest in ourselves, in our kids, and in our future. For nearly half a century, that's just what we did.

And it worked. For nearly 50 years, as our country got richer, our families got richer - and as our families got richer, our country got richer.

And then about 30 years ago, our country moved in a different direction. New leadership attacked wages. They attacked pensions. They attacked health care. They attacked unions. And now we find ourselves in a very different world from the one our parents and grandparents built. We are now in a world in which the rich skim more off the top in taxes and special deals, and they leave less and less for our schools, for roads and bridges, for medical and scientific research - less to build a future.

Last night, Chris Christie and the Republicans told the American people that we're to blame for our broken economy. He told families to tighten their belts. He told seniors to live on less. He told teachers to stop fighting for fair pay.

He never, ever mentioned how much more the richest have taken, and he had no mention that those who broke our economy still haven't been held accountable.

The Republicans believe in an America that is rigged for the big guys - giant corporations that can hire an army of lobbyists, ship jobs overseas, and take their profits to the Cayman Islands.

That's not who we are as a people - and that's not the kind of country we want to be.

We built America together, and that's what makes America great.


As we mark the one year anniversary of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), I’ve been thinking about how for years leading up to the 2008 financial crisis, I asked students in my contract law class to read a credit card agreement -- either an offer that they’d received in the mail or the actual agreement they’d signed onto -- and answer some basic questions. Some were easy: When is your bill is due? Do you get points? The students always answered those.

The next questions went to the heart of the deal: Does your credit card have an arbitration clause, preventing you from suing in court if the company cheats you? No one knew. How long it would take you to pay off a $1000 purchase with interest if you paid the minimum monthly payment? They didn’t know. And when I assigned that basic question as homework, almost all of them spent hours knee deep in fine print without finding an answer.  

Markets work when people can evaluate the prices and risks of different products, then pick the ones that work best for them. But when the terms of the deal are hidden, competition doesn’t work. And customers aren’t the only ones who are hurt. If a small bank with a limited advertising budget offered a better card, no one could figure that out and switch. That had been the state of the consumer credit market for years.

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Wed May 09, 2012 at 08:46 AM PDT

Weakening the consumer agency

by Elizabeth Warren

Wall Street and the big banks — and their lobbyists and allies in Congress — couldn't stop the new financial watchdog, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), but they're doing everything they can to remove its teeth.

On Monday, the House Budget Committee considered a bill that would strip the new consumer agency of its independence by allowing pure politics — and Wall Street lobbyists — to control its funding.  

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I was the little sister. When I was three, my oldest brother, Don Reed, left for the military, followed in a few years by my brother John, and a few years later by my brother David. We were proud of "the boys," as they were always called in our family. Proud, but always aware of what a military commitment meant.

Don Reed served 288 combat missions in Vietnam, and John was posted to North Africa. David stayed stateside, but he was separated from his young bride shortly after they were married. I’m proud to come from a military family and to honor the courage, dedication, and sacrifice of our soldiers and their families.

My mother always watched for the mailman. When a letter came from one of the boys, the day was extra sunny. She would read and re-read the note, then call my Aunt Max or my grandmother to read it out loud. On letter days, she always met my father at the door with the note in hand. "We got a letter today!" He never had to ask who sent it. Her face said it was from one of my brothers. For now, everyone was safe.

(Continue reading below the fold)

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Thu Jan 19, 2012 at 06:37 AM PST

Money Bomb Today!

by Elizabeth Warren

UPDATE (6:55 p.m. ET): We just broke through the $1 million mark in today's money bomb! Thank you -- now let's keep it going and reach as big a number as possible before midnight. Please contribute to today's money bomb now.

UPDATE (1:00 p.m. ET): Join me over at Crooks & Liars now for a live chat, hosted by Digby!


Remember two years ago, all the talk about "the People's Seat"?

And how that special election held two years ago today would ensure the people of Massachusetts elected a leader -- a trustworthy steward of "the People's Seat"?

That's what we were promised, but it's not what we got. Forbes magazine calls Scott Brown, "one of Wall Street's favorite Senators."

I am running for the United States Senate because I think it's time we take the "People's Seat" back from Wall Street and other powerful interests.

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It's great to be back blogging at DailyKos! As you know, I've been a little busy the last few months, so I haven't been back to post recently, but I definitely plan to stop by more frequently over the weeks ahead.

Quick update: Our campaign for the U.S. Senate is going strong. We've had a great first few months up here in Massachusetts. We're building a strong grassroots campaign all across the Commonwealth that can go toe-to-toe with Scott Brown, Karl Rove, and all the Wall Street bankers already spending millions of dollars trying to defeat me.

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Wed Sep 14, 2011 at 03:57 AM PDT

I'm running!

by Elizabeth Warren

UPDATE (Thursday @ 4:30pm ET): Yesterday was a whirlwind day! I'm so energized by the strong grassroots support I've received across Massachusetts, here on DailyKos, and across the Internet while launching my campaign for U.S. Senate.

Thanks to everyone who spent a few minutes with us in South Boston, New Bedford, Framingham, Worcester, and Springfield yesterday -- and to all of you -- for your encouragement and support. I look forward to checking in with you frequently as this campaign continues!

-- Elizabeth


I'm running!

Today, I am launching my campaign to represent the people of Massachusetts in the United States Senate. After listening to people all across our state who know that we can do better, folks who are frustrated like I am that Washington just doesn't get it, I'm running for the Senate so I can fight every day for Massachusetts families.

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Do we need more proof Washington's not working for middle class families? We got it once again this week.

The big banks and their army of lobbyists couldn't stop the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, so now they are trying to undermine its work, enlisting their Republican friends on the Senate Banking Committee to stop the nomination of Richard Cordray to lead the agency -- just to try to slow up the agency from doing its work.

It's outrageous -- and we've got to hold them accountable.

I’m starting a petition: Sign on now to call on the Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee to protect the interests of middle class families, to confirm a director for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and to let the agency do its work.

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