In return for her full-throated support for Hillary Clinton since the Democratic convention, Senator Elizabeth Warren is signaling that she would push a Clinton presidency to adopt her vision of a progressive agenda.
Some of her ideas, though, could have consequences counter to what she says her goals are: helping workers, raising incomes and ensuring that the system is fair for everyone.
I’m not even referring to Warren’s blanket opposition to free-trade deals, which have long riven the Democratic Party, nor to her obsession with bringing back the 1933 Glass-Steagall Act to force large banks to break into investment and commercial banking halves. This would address a problem that doesn’t exist, and in any case Clinton isn’t likely to put Glass-Steagall on the table.
The tug of war might occur on other issues, such as tax and entitlement policies and senior appointments, over which Warren hopes to exert her influence.
Here are five examples of her bad ideas:
She backs up her position by noting that U.S. corporations account for one-tenth of federal revenue today, compared with one-third in the 1950s. But she neglects to mention that rapid expansions in Social Security and the creation of Medicare affected this equation. By the 1970s, payroll taxes to fund those entitlement programs made the contributions from other sources seem smaller. By the 1980s, corporate taxes had declined to 12.5 percent of all U.S. tax revenue, and that was long before U.S. companies started a wave of tax inversions by moving their headquarters to a lower-tax country. Nor does she say that corporate taxes make up about 2 percent of gross domestic product, the same level it has been for the last half-century, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
2) If she is vague on new corporate-tax levels, she is specific in her goal of requiring the federal government to allow refinancing of student debt at lower interest rates.