On Monday night Senator Elizabeth Warren and Dr. Thomas Piketty sat down for a discussion presented live on The Huffington Post. The interviewer was a surprisingly knowledgeable Ryan Grim, and was conducted in front of a live and enthusiastic audience at the Old South Meeting House in Boston. Here is the link to the video:www.huffingtonpost.com/...watch-elizabeth-warren_n_5434250.html
Senator Warren and Dr. Piketty essentially discussed the main themes from their respective books. In A Fighting Chance, Senator Warren discusses the rigged nature of the current system, with an eye on an attempt to level the playing field.
Dr. Piketty shows in Capital in the 21st Century how the economic system of Capitalism distributes income in a perversely unequal way, that taxes on incomes and wealth are required to allow the system to function in an equitable manner.
The discussion is too long for me to reproduce here, but the crux of it can be best summed up in Senator Warren's remarks about the failed theory of "trickle-down economics." First she points out that the best characterization of the theory came from George H.W. Bush when he called it "Voodoo Economics."
She went on to sum it up quite nicely when she said that "...wealth does not trickle down, it trickles up. It trickles from everyone else to those who are already rich."
Dr. Piketty pointed out the need for a graduated wealth tax. We have an existent wealth tax in property tax, but this is levied at equal percentages for all, no matter the value or the equity of the property, and must be substantially expanded.
They discussed a range of issues, such as (spreading the benefits of) free trade, the importance of Labor Unions, not just as a practical matter of workplace fairness, but as an historical force for good in issues like Social Security, Medicare, and Civil Rights, just to name a few.
Also discussed in quite a unique way was the issue of Global Climate Change, which Senator Warren posited to be part of the same dynamic as the economic issues, pitting the haves , who benefit from polluting, against the have-nots who suffer from the effects.
My favorite line from Senator warren was her advice to Dr. Piketty about how to handle the flood of criticism. "Hit back," she said.
Also, quite notably now, Senator Warren was asked about all she could potentially accomplish related to this discussion if she would run for president. The crowd was very loud and enthusiastic in voicing approval. And NO DENIAL was forthcoming from the Senator, which is a departure from how she's answered this question before.
Does this mean she's going to run? In the words of Stephen Colbert, "I'll take this as a probably!"