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I agree with Kos that Elizabeth Warren is not running for president.   I also think there is a reasonably good possibility that Hillary Clinton will run and win, although obviously much can happen in three years.

But Elizabeth Warren can do something very important, even if she does not run and is never elected President.  She has the seat of Teddy Kennedy and can emulate him as the leader of progressives in the Senate and can help create change in our nation.  

Today she gave an excellent speech to the Roosevelt Institute regarding the way forward and what needs to be done:

I spent most of my career studying the growing economic pressures on middle class families — families that worked hard and played by the rules but still can’t get ahead. And I’ve also studied the financial services industry and how it has developed over time. [...]

We should not accept a financial system that allows the biggest banks to emerge from a crisis in record-setting shape while working Americans continue to struggle.  And we should not accept a regulatory system that is so besieged by lobbyists for the big banks that it takes years to deliver rules and then the rules that are delivered are often watered-down and ineffective.

What we need is a system that puts an end to the boom and bust cycle.  A system that recognizes we don’t grow this country from the financial sector; we grow this country from the middle class.

Powerful interests will fight to hang on to every benefit and subsidy they now enjoy.  Even after exploiting consumers, larding their books with excessive risk, and making bad bets that brought down the economy and forced taxpayer bailouts, the big Wall Street banks are not chastened. They have fought to delay and hamstring the implementation of financial reform, and they will continue to fight every inch of the way. That’s the battlefield.  That’s what we’re up against.

Greg Sargent provides an excellent analysis of her position:
In Warren’s telling, rampant inequality and middle class stagnation are not simply unfortunate excesses of competitive capitalism, which can be regulated against. They are the product of a rigged game that has rendered the system anti-competitive and less socially mobile, and deeply dysfunctional for the middle class, while increasingly transferring the benefits of the economy ”to an increasingly tiny sliver at the top,” as economist Joseph Stiglitz puts it in “The Price of Inequality,” which tells this larger story.

Among politicians, Warren may be uniquely positioned to make the big picture — and yes, class-based — case many Democratic activists seem to crave: That only accountability for those who are directly responsible for rigging the game in their own interests can begin to make the system work for the middle class again. As David Dayen puts it, many Democratic pols give lip service to the idea of ”tougher rules for Wall Street,” but Warren is talking about a much deeper level of reform designed to address inequalities resulting from the upward transfer of “a giant share of the money flowing through the system,” reform that gets to the core question of “what kind of economy we want for all of our citizens.”

Telling the story, making the big picture, matters.  

And the more the story is understood and acted on, the more likely real change is possible.  She may have a very big role in creating the conditions for change.

Originally posted to TomP on Tue Nov 12, 2013 at 11:50 AM PST.

Also republished by Massachusetts Kosmopolitans.

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