‘I’ve got a plan for that’

Sen. Elizabeth Warren has risen to the top tier of Democratic presidential candidates

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts speaks to the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco in June.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts speaks to the California Democratic Party convention in San Francisco in June.


An unabridged version of this interview is available at newsreview.com/reno

After two rounds of debates, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has risen to the top tier of Democratic presidential candidates. She’s spending quite a bit of time in California, which moved up its primary from June to March 3 to have a louder voice, and in Nevada, whose caucuses on Feb. 22 are the third nominating contests on the calendar.

Warren’s mantra is that she has a plan for everything, and she does—on health care, criminal justice, climate change and more. Last weekend, she put out another plan on gun control and gun violence after the mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. She’s really busy running for president, so Brad Bynum, editor of Reno News & Review, actually had closer to only 8 minutes with Warren on Aug. 2 during a campaign visit to Nevada. Here are some excerpts of their conversation.

It’s a housing crisis. Is that a problem the federal government should help with? And if so, how?

Half a century ago, there were two ways that housing was produced for middle-class, working-class, working-poor, poor-poor people—and that was private development and the federal government. The private developers that built the two-bedroom, one-bath house that I grew up in—the garage converted to house my three brothers—they’re not building those anymore. … The second that’s happened is that the federal government has largely withdrawn from building affordable housing.

I will build 3.2 million new housing units across this country—it’s housing for middle-class families, for working families, for the working poor, for the homeless, for seniors who want to age in place, for people with disabilities. We need more housing—a lot more housing. And the federal government can make that happen.

You unveiled a huge universal child care program. How’s it going to be funded?

The universal child care is funded by a 2-cent tax on the largest fortunes in this country. So on fortunes above $50 million. … That will generate enough revenue to pay for child care for every baby in this country age zero to 5, preschool for every 3-year-old and 4-year-old, raise the wages of every child care worker and preschool worker in this country, and cover the costs of college, add $50 billion to historically black colleges and universities, and cancel student loan debt for 95% of the kids who have it. …

And here’s the thing: It could do all those things I described and there would still be a couple of hundred billion left over.

Leading up to the last Democratic debate, a lot of the buzz and promotion was Warren versus Bernie Sanders. So what is a key major policy difference between you and Sen. Sanders?

I’m not here to try to define somebody else’s policy. I can tell you what I’m fighting for. The best part of these debates is when we get a chance to do that. We have an America that works great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top, and it’s not working for much of anyone else. Our government in Washington has been captured by money. And it’s far more than just political contributions. It’s lobbyists, bought-and-paid-for experts, think tanks. Washington is flooded with money, and every decision that gets made there is influenced by that money. And day by day, decision by decision, the government does just a little bit more in favor of the wealthy and the well-connected and against everyone else. I believe we can turn that around. I believe we can make this government work, not just for those at the top, but make it work for everyone. …