Speaking to supporters in Detroit on Super Tuesday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren assured supporters that crowd she’s still "in this fight."
WARREN: I’ll tell you another thing about that story. That story is a story about my mother. It’s a story about millions of people all across this country who do this every single day.
But it is also a story about government, because understand this. When I was a kid, a full-time minimum wage job in America would support a family of three. It would cover a mortgage, it would pay the utilities, and it would put food on the table. Today, a full-time minimum wage job in America will not keep a mama and a baby out of poverty. That is wrong, and that is why I am in this fight.
I’ll tell you something else about that. That change did not happen by accident. That change was not the result of gravity. That change happened because of who government works for. When I was a kid, the question asked in Washington for setting the minimum wage is, “What does it take a family of three to make it in America’s middle class? What does it take a family to have something solid they can build on? What does it take a family to be able to just get a toehold in this economy and build something, going forward?”
Today, the question asked in Washington for setting the minimum wage is, “What will maximize the profits of giant multinational corporations?” Well, I don’t want a government that works for giant multinational corporations. I want one that works for our families, and I’ve got a plan for that. In fact, I’ve got a lot of plans for that...
So I go to Washington, and, basically, I knock on doors, anybody who’ll talk to me, Democrat, Republican, I don’t care. I’m just trying to pitch the idea for this agency. We’re in a crisis. We’re going to rewrite the laws. Let’s get this agency in it, and here’s what happened.
Basically, I started getting the same two answers from everybody. This just really knocked me over. The first answer was, “Huh. That’s actually a pretty good idea. You could make a real difference. That’s structural change. That would actually make a difference in the market.” The second half to the answer was, “Don’t even try. You’ll be up against the banks. You’ll be up against Wall Street. You’ll be up against all of the Republicans and, shoot, you’ll be up against half the Democrats on this. You will never get it done.”
Yeah. So I heard this, and I thought, “I get it. Big, structural change is hard, but it is the right thing to do.” So we got in this fight and took on the big banks. They were spending more than a million dollars a day for nearly a year just trying to fight back against this and the other financial reforms. But, boy, this was the heart of it. They were out there. We fought the Republicans. We fought them all. But we built the coalitions, and, in 2010, Barack Obama signed that agency into law. Dang.
Here’s the thing. Here’s the thing. That little agency has now forced the banks to return more than $12 billion directly to people they’ve cheated.
So I take away two lessons from that. The first is you don’t get what you don’t fight for. I am in this fight. The second, and this is really important, after 40 years of Ronald Reagan’s trickle down economics, the second … Ah, I see you’ve heard of Ronald Reagan’s trickle down economics. Can we just all stop and say it has been a monumental failure for American families?
But the second lesson I learned about this agency, as we built this agency, is we can make government work for the people. That’s what this agency has done, and that’s why being here with you tonight is about two things for me. It’s about the fight, but it’s also about the hope. It’s about what we will be able to do together. So that’s why I’m here.