Thursday, November 21, 2013

Washington Power Players

     In today's Washington, invoking the nuclear option in the Senate is the only way to get things moving along.  This is the only real groundbreaking news to come out of Congress: utilizing unpopular procedural tactics.  It seems each side has become more and more predictable with the ideas they are championing. Republicans are against abortion and Democrats are for immigration reform - it seems like a broken record.  
     New ideas are a bit of a unicorn in today's Congress but this week something remarkable occurred. Democrats are seen as the fighters for, and defenders of the middle class and entitlement programs. The past few Republican budgets have looked to slash and gut these programs and safety nets.  Even President Obama agrees that entitlement must be reformed and used Chained CPI as a carrot to prove to Republicans reform is important to him.  Everyone believes our safety nets have grown out of control and they need to be cut back.
     Not freshman senator Elizabeth Warren, (D-MA) and a handful of other democratic senators.  Warren this week took to the senate floor to express that Social Security needs to be increased.  This is highly irregular and is sure to face stark backlash from Republicans and some Democrats.  Warren's feeling is that everyone deserves a fair retirement and Social Security benefits for seniors are what separates them from poverty.  The days of pensions are over and we are in the era of the 401(k).  Too many people struggle during retirement and Warren feels it is time to reverse this dynamic.  
     Think what you may of Noam Scheiber's piece pitting Warren against Democratic 2016 presidential favorite Hillary Clinton (believe me I am skeptical too) but Warren has made a name for herself despite her brief time in the Senate.  It is hard to deny that Warren is a Washington power player.  The Republican Party is dead set against Obamacare and the Democrats are caught somewhere in the middle, occasionally advocating for issues such as immigration reform.  Power players propose groundbreaking ideas and advocate the reshaping of the current playing field.
     Last night on The Rachel Maddow Show, Maddow asked Senator Warren if she believed this idea of expanding Social Security and putting more money into the pockets of the poor and retirees reflects the greater Democratic Party.  Warren responded by saying, "This is our moment...we have come to a crossroads."  She continued to state that the Republican strategy of protecting those at the top does not work.
      I think it is clear that this is the feeling of the whole Democratic party but she beat her colleagues  to the punch and orated this sentiment publicly.  Warren may not now be a presidential favorite, what with being tough on Wall Street as her primary and notable achievement and all, but there is no doubt that she is a Washington power player. 

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