From the “Remind Me Why I’m Supposed to Hate Elizabeth Warren, Because I’m Not Seeing It” files, this portion of a 2009 interview she did on a PBS news program. Full transcript here. Excerpt:
HINOJOSA: So, how is it possible? We were all upset about these big bonuses and all this executive pay. And it’s right back—this is like deja vu all over again.
WARREN: Yeah. This one, I have to say, truly amazes me, that these folks who are supposed to be the smartest folks in the room, believe that they can take taxpayer money and save their businesses from complete destruction, and still continue to reward themselves as if—they had earned it all. It’s as if they don’t understand the world changed when you had to take money from the taxpayers to stay alive.
HINOJOSA: But did the world really change for them?
WARREN: Well, evidently not. And—I think what that means is that we really have to change this one now, again, by statute. I’m sorry, I—I was really a believer. “The market will heal itself, everything will correct here,” at least on executive pay. Because no one would be so foolish as to think, “I’ll take taxpayer money and then, while people are unemployed, I will lard my—myself with—with pay.”
HINOJOSA: So, what are you saying? You—you—you believe that—
WARREN: We’ve gotta change the executive compensation structure. And it’s straight across the board.
HINOJOSA: For every single company across the board?
WARREN: You—you bet.
HINOJOSA: But when you look at Goldman Sachs, for example, they did pay back the Tarp money. So, what responsibility do we have, what authority do we have to go in and say, “You need to check out your executive pay and lower it”?
WARREN: They paid back the Tarp money, but they’re still operating with government guarantees. They still are counting on the taxpayer to back stop them. And I believe that gives the taxpayer a seat at the table in decision making over executive compensation. It’s our money. The key has to be that congress needs to rewrite all of the rules on executive compensation. And we need a special set of rules for any company that’s relying on any kind of taxpayer back stop.
HINOJOSA: And the hands are gonna go up and say, “Oh, my god, they’re controlling executive pay. This is—we’re going down the tubes in America.”
WARREN: They’re saying, “You might cut us off from our taxpayer subsidies.” And, you know, that just breaks my heart.
HINOJOSA: Okay. But—but if they’re saying, “Look this is capitalism.”
WARREN: No, this is not capitalism. That’s the whole point. This is socialism. This is the part where they’re using taxpayer guarantees and taxpayer support in order to eek out some kind of private gain. And this is just wrong.
HINOJOSA: So, it’s—it’s socialism for—socialism for rich people?
WARREN: For rich people. And, you know, I just gotta say I’m tired of that one.
Obviously this collectivist kook is Rosa Luxemburg reincarnated, and must be stopped!
Seriously, check out Russell Arben Fox’s piece on Front Porch Republic arguing that an earlier, Tory George F. Will would likely have viewed Warren with more sympathy. Note too Scott Galupo’s earlier blog on Will’s decline. In it, he quotes an early Will column:
Shaftesbury was one of those Tories—the young Disraeli was another—who were early and vigorous in fighting, for impeccable, conservative reasons, the rawest abuses of the early industrial system. He understood that conservatism is about the conservation of certain values and these values have social prerequisites. He believed that nothing is more subversive of a nation than the existence of a permanent underclass, blocked from upward mobility, and brutalized by conditions destructive of institutions like the family and values like gentleness and lawfulness that are, conservatives know, mainstays of civilization…
Elizabeth Warren is a liberal Democrat who, whatever her flaws, is vigorously fighting the rawest abuses of the late finance-capital system. She has said time and time again that without a strong middle class, America is done for. She believes, and has publicly said, that the way the wealthiest bankers and financiers behave is destructive of the middle class, and therefore subversive of the national interest. If nothing else, do conservatives really not understand how all this stands to affect the stability of families, of communities? Why does it fall to a liberal Democrat — one who has earned the wrath of her party’s leaders — to say these things so forcefully and clearly?
Where is the Tory Elizabeth Warren? Find her, please.
(And by the way, I’m not being facetious when I ask why I, as a conservative, am supposed to fear and loathe Elizabeth Warren. I don’t get it. Please help me see what I’m missing, if indeed I am missing something.)
UPDATE: I take Jim Antle’s point about paleocons who were burned by cheering for a Democrat before (the Jim Webb case).