MSNBC's Ruhle vs. Sen. Warren: Why Didn't You Do Anything About Working Americans When Dems Held WH For 8 Years?

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Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks on the nature of Donald Trump economic plans and the future of corporate America in an interview on MSNBC. MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle asked Elizabeth Warren why income inequality "failed to get significantly better" after eight years of Democratic control of the White House.

"Why has income inequality failed to get significantly better in the last eight years?" Ruhle asked.

"You know, that's a big part of what’s going on here, is that it's policy set right here in Washington that, over and over and over, help those who can hire armies of lobbyist and those who can hire armies of lawyers," Warren said. "The policies here are for the billionaires, they’re for the bankers, they’re for the giant corporations. They get the tax breaks. They get the regulatory boosts. They get the great deals in Washington."

"But Senator, you guys were in power for the last eight years," Ruhle said to the Democratic Senator. "Why is it that it didn't work for those good Americans you were working for?"

From their exchange:

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC HOST: Joining me now, Massachusetts Democratic senator, Elizabeth Warren.

Senator, welcome, thank you for joining me this morning.

You are a fearless woman who every day is out there fighting, fighting for the little guy and you have put regulations in place or worked to put regulations in place over the last eight years to protect that exact person.

And many of those forgotten Americans, they believe that President Trump has the answer.

So what are they missing?

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASS.: You know, President Trump tapped into something important and that is that families are feeling a lot of pressure. And a lot of folks are feeling angry, angry that a young person can't make it through college without getting crushed by student loan debt, angry that wages have stayed flat and that expenses have continued to decline for housing and health care.

Angry that it's really tough to retire in America now and be able to keep a roof over your head and groceries on the table.

But what Donald Trump has done since he got into the White House is he's turned over the keys to government to the billionaires and the bankers and basically said, run this government the way you guys want to make it work better for you.

A problem is not that Washington doesn't work well enough for the billionaires and the bankers, it’s working just great for them. Our problem is it's not working for working families.

RUHLE: Why?

Why has income inequality failed to get significantly better in the last eight years?

Because we look at the last 45 days, President Trump is surrounded by those CEOs, who have been complaining the last eight years.

Why is it good times for them?

WARREN: You know, that's a big part of what’s going on here, is that it's policy set right here in Washington that, over and over and over, help those who can hire armies of lobbyist and those who can hire armies of lawyers.

The policies here are for the billionaires, they’re for the bankers, they’re for the giant corporations. They get the tax breaks. They get the regulatory boosts. They get the great deals in Washington.

And regular families, just people who are trying to put it together day by day by day, they are the ones who get left behind.

RUHLE: But Senator, you guys were in power for the last eight years.

Why is it that it didn't work for those good Americans you were working for?

WARREN: Let’s be clear about what it means to be in power. The Republicans had a blocking position. When they didn't have a blocking position, we got the Affordable Care Act through and when they didn't have a blocking position, we got through the Wall Street reforms.

But once they had a blocking position in the Senate and then in the House, we couldn't get the minimum wage increase. We couldn't get increases into Social Security. We couldn't get a more progressive tax bill.

So look, I don’t want to try to shuffle off all the blame. I think there's plenty that we can do, we should have done, we must do in the future on our side of the aisle.

But let's be very clear. The Republicans have made their part of the agenda 100 percent obvious. They are here to make sure that Washington works for those at the very, very top. And they have done a great job of that.


Warren said a "rising stock market" does not necessarily mean the economy is good for everyone. She said while we may be setting stock market records and indicators like the GDP keeps going up, "they're not all of the indication about what's happening."

STEPHANIE RUHLE, MSNBC: Well, the stock market is certainly working for people at the top, at least the last -- in the last couple of months. This is the first market-moving president we've ever had, calling out specific companies, discussing those companies, meeting with them during the transition time.

And now we're in a position where he can use someone like Carl Icahn, one of the biggest, most predatory investors out there, to help advise him on regulation.

Who is he going to be choose to be regulators?

How do we address the fact we have a market-moving president?

I mean, Martha Stewart went to jail over lying about timing and information that she had. You know, insider trading is a big, big deal and we have someone who can send out a tweet and move a stock in seconds.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: Right. And let's be clear. There are a lot of giant corporations right now who are just rubbing their hands, saying that what's coming for them is that the cops are going to be taken off the beats. There's going to be less regulation and that they're going to get even more tax breaks.

So they think the world looks pretty great with Donald Trump out there. And every time he sends a tweet, they're just happier than they were the day before.

But that rising stock market covers a lot of other problems around this country. Incomes are not going up for working families but expenses are. Students trying to get an education are taking on an additional $100 billion in debt to try to get that education every single year.

Seniors are retiring with -- Social Security for many of them is the only thing that stands between them and poverty. And Social Security stays stuck at much too low a level.

The way I look at this is, yes, it's true. We're setting records in the stock market. GDP keeps going up and those are important economic indicators of how America's economy is doing. But they're not all of the indication about what's happening. We need to look at the lived experience, family by family across this country.


Warren responded to Trump's tweet on International Women's Day about his "respect for women". She said talk was cheap.



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