Warren’s Commission

Hillary’s self-profiling prospect still has a fighting chance.

Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton has been showcasing Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren as a possible vice-president. Warren has been scoring points with fierce attacks on Donald Trump, but according to her self-profile, she’s a lot more than Hillary’s pet snapping turtle.

In Warren’s 2014  A Fighting Chance, she maintains that she is of Native American background, which The Atlantic and Washington Post, among others, disproved in 2012. In this book, Warren comes billed as an “expert on economic issues,” but the narrative raises some doubts.  Consider, for example, Warren’s views about the way people prosper in America.

Nobody in this country “got rich on his own,” she explains. Rather, “you moved goods on the roads the rest of us paid for” and used workers “the rest of us paid to educate.” You were safe in your factory “because of police and fire forces the rest of us paid for.” And so on, the same Big Brother view as the current President of the United States. Not much of that dynamic emerges in Warren’s personal story, which makes it clear that, from humble beginnings in Oklahoma, she rose to a prestigious Harvard professorship through intelligence and old fashioned hard work.

Like the current president, the self-proclaimed economic expert shows little understanding of the role open markets play in prosperity, as opposed to the socialist command economies of Eastern Europe, or basket cases such as Cuba. She ignores their dismal record and A Fighting Chance includes no index entry for Nobel winners Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek, whose The Road to Serfdom was fully endorsed by John Maynard Keynes. On the other hand, the author also proclaims expertise in poverty.

If people are in financial distress, Warren blame their problems on the banking industry, here portrayed as the flywheel of capitalist greed and trickery. In her view, mortgage salesmen “went door to door, often targeting African American and Latino neighborhoods for their highest-cost, most deceptive products.” The author treads lightly on the government practice of leveraging banks to grant questionable loans on the basis of political correctness instead of financial soundness. The Carter-era Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a major source of that practice, gets one mention in A Fighting Chance, conveniently buried in an endnote. 

As Warren sees it, the bankruptcy laws are tilted in favor of the rich and powerful. It has evidently escaped notice that overspending, wasteful and unaccountable cities such as Detroit, San Bernardino and Stockton can also go bankrupt. The economic expert seems unaware that the federal government has been ringing up considerable debt but crunches no numbers in the vicinity of $20 trillion or beyond. She does not explain how, exactly, she would deal with this fathomless debt.

Warren was the force behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a brand new federal agency, created during a recession. Like its backer, this agency assumes that all people are literally helpless in the face of the powerful and manipulative lending industry already regulated by other agencies. In Warren’s world, nobody of their own free will lives beyond their means, buys things they don’t need, and rings up thousands in credit-card debt.

Over the past two generations, the economic expert writes,  “many Americans had come to believe that government service was synonymous with bureaucracy and complacency.” She blames this on Ronald Reagan’s dismissive comments, not on examples of government waste, fraud and abuse often exposed on C-SPAN, such as the EPA’s John Beale, who claimed to work for the CIA and ripped off taxpayers for nearly $1 million.

In Warren’s world, all government agencies are always competent and benign. So no surprise that the author avoids the IRS targeting scandal, the one, as the president said, with “not a smidgen of corruption.”

A Fighting Chance makes it clear that, like the current president, Elizabeth Warren is shrink-wrapped in statist superstition. Perhaps for that reason, she draws strong support in the old-line, establishment media. So on the very slim chance that the FBI indicts Hillary Clinton, the Massachusetts senator may have more than a fighting chance to get what she really wants.