DETROIT — Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren bemoaned the wealth divide during a rally Tuesday, claiming government functions as an arm of pharmaceutical and oil companies and leaves regular people without advocates.
“If there is a decision to be made in Washington, I guarantee it has been influenced by money,” Warren told the crowd of more than 2,200 on Tuesday night at Eastern Market.
“When a government works great for those with money and it’s not working well for anyone else, that’s corruption pure and simple.”
One key policy
Speaking on Super Tuesday, one week before the Michigan primary, Warren promised to tax the wealthy to pay for massive improvements in public education, infrastructure and environmental protections.
The main tool: A 2 percent tax on families worth more than $50 million — 2 cents on every dollar — and a 6 percent tax on those worth more than $1 billion, which she says will raise $3.75 trillion over the next decade.
“All we’re saying is, when you make it big — I mean really big, I mean top one-tenth of 1 percent big — pitch in 2 cents so everybody else gets to make it,” she said to cheers, adding the money would pay for universal childcare, universal preschool and to raise the wages of childcare workers, among other things.
- How Democratic presidential candidates would reform immigration
- What Democrats’ climate change plans mean to Michigan automakers, workers
- How Democratic presidential candidates want to change higher education
- What Democratic presidential candidates’ plans mean for Michigan environment
One political highlight
America’s ultra-wealthy don’t like that plan, she said.
“One went on TV and cried — it was so sad,” she said, referencing hedge fund manager and billionaire Leon Cooperman, who teared up on CNBC while criticizing Warren’s wealth tax.
“Another ran for president,” she quipped, a reference to former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire who has spent nearly $12 million in television ads already in Michigan.
A voter perspective
Some supporters who attended the more than hourlong rally wore “nevertheless, she persisted” T-shirts (a reference to attempts to silence Warren in 2017 over her objections to a Trump Cabinet appointee) and pink pussyhats from the 2017 Women’s March.
Supporters lauded Warren’s detailed plans and willingness to make sweeping structural changes, from upending health insurance to forgiving student loan debt.
But above all else, they cited a need to end the Donald Trump presidency.
“There needs to be change, it can’t just be back to normalcy,” said Ben Harmon, 22, of Dearborn, who attended the rally with his mother Nancy.
“Normalcy is gone, and there’s so many problems that have come to the forefront during this presidency that they need to be addressed.”