Transcript of Elizabeth Warren’s June 8 remarks to Netroots Nation, an annual gathering of progressive bloggers and activists, which took place this year in Providence, R.I.
I was last here two years ago, right after the president had just signed the Dodd Frank law. After that speech, I spend nearly a year standing up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. We worked hard to stop the tricks and the traps on credit cards, on mortgages, on bank fees, and to start the process for repairing a broken consumer credit market. This agency has the capacity to help millions of people across the country. It won’t fix everything that’s sinking American families, but it will go a long way toward repairing one big hole in the bottom of the boat. The problem is there are so many holes that need repair.
Today, we face a choice between two fundamentally different visions of how we build a future. Today’s Republicans call for tax cuts for the wealthiest, and fewer regulations on Wall Street. Think about that: they want to give the richest and the most powerful more money and more power. And at the same time, they want to cut investments in education, in infrastructure, and in science. They argue that is how we will build a more successful and a more successful and a more powerful country. Their vision boils down to a single sentence: “I’ve got mine; the rest of you are on your own.”
Progressives have a different view. We believe we must invest together in the things we cannot build alone. And we believe in rules for markets so that we have a level playing field for our economy.
Now, Republicans claim they believe in markets. But as anyone will tell you, a market without rules is not a market; it’s the place where the most powerful come to hammer on the least powerful. Progressives understand that markets are like football, that every game needs rules, and the referee blows the whistle to enforce those rules. Without rules and a ref, it isn’t football — it’s a mugging. That’s the big picture, and that’s why I’m running for the United States Senate.
So, these competing visions of America are playing out right now in Washington, and all across this country. The Republican voting record and the voting record of my Republican opponent, Scott Brown, make this competition clear. I’ll mention just four examples of how the Romney-Brown vision is put directly into policy.
When some of us were working to rein in Wall Street, the Republicans were fighting regulation tooth and nail. Scott Brown personally held the reforms hostage as he negotiated to weaken the rules and to give the big banks a $19 billion break. Scott Brown and his Republican buddies voted against funding for summer jobs, and voted twice to let the interest rate on student loans double. Just this week, Scott Brown and his Republican buddies voted for the second time against equal pay for equal work. And just a couple of months ago, he sponsored a law to let employers block access to birth control and routine cancer screenings from health insurance.
And Scott Brown and his Republican buddies voted to limit the EPA’s authority and repeatedly voted to give subsidies to big oil companies.
Now, if you have any doubt on where the Romney-Brown Republicans stand, just consider this: The Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, has said that he would repeal all financial reform. The Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, said that people who are concerned about income inequality are just [unintelligible]. The Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, said corporations are people. No, Mitt, corporations are not people. People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they love, they cry, they dance, they live and they die — learn the difference.
And Mitt, learn this: We don’t run this country for corporations; we run it for people. We are progressives, and we stand up for people. We stand for families; we believe in making investments in education, and building a future for our kids. We stand for jobs; we believe in putting people to work to rebuild the transportation system and investing in clean energy. We stand for working people. We believe in the right to unionize, and in collective bargaining. We stand for expanding equality and opportunity for all Americans: Equal pay for equal work. Marriage equality and civil rights and justice.
We stand for small businesses, and for the millions of people who work every day to build a better future. And we stand for accountability and a level playing field so no one steals your purse on Main Street or your pension on Wall Street.
I got in this race because real people are getting hammered, and they’re counting on me to stand up for them. And let me be clear — I’m not backing down. But I can’t do this alone. And that’s where you come in. I need the people of Netroots Nation. I’m counting on you for your help; we’re all counting on you for your help. The president is counting on you for your help.
But I want something more than winning an election. I want to change the national conversation. I want real change. It’s up to us to put the wind in our own sails. With your support, I know we can do this. Are you ready to do this? Are you ready?
Because we need to do this. Thank you.