Issues & Insights

Elizabeth Warren Just Undercut Her Own Warrenomics

Photo by Gage Skidmore

I&I Editorial

When you’re trying to sell socialism to the American people, it’s inevitable that you’ll paint yourself into some kind of corner. Top-tier Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, who’s got a good chance of securing the nomination, now finds herself stuck in a pretty embarrassing one.

She and Pete Buttigieg in recent days have been playing a tit-for-tat game of who benefited from capitalism more, the youthful South Bend mayor with his lucrative gig at management consulting firm McKinsey & Co., or Warren making nearly $2 million for a string of clients as a corporate lawyer.

Warren felt compelled to provide the details and the fees she received, and it must be said that hypocrisy can be very funny.

First off, her campaign’s release begins by stating: “These disclosures include all of the cases Elizabeth Warren worked on that we have been able to identify and all of the income from each case we have been able to determine from public records, Elizabeth Warren’s personal records, and other sources.” (Emphasis added.)

Warren apparently made so much money as an attorney for the corporations she now bashes, she’s not even completely sure who they all were, or what they paid her.

In describing her bankruptcy work, Warren notes that “Maximizing the size of the pie often includes finding ways to reorganize failing businesses under new ownership, in order to benefit everyone – workers who rely on those business [sic] staying open for their livelihoods, investors, victims of faulty products, and creditors that the business owes money.”

It’s encouraging that Warren apparently realizes that “the pie” of wealth in a free economy is not fixed but can rather be enlarged by productivity. That said, the objective she cites, “finding ways to reorganize failing businesses under new ownership, in order to benefit everyone,” is also a perfect description of what private equity firms – such as Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital – have done, saving many thousands of jobs in the long term. Warren’s new rival, fellow Massachusetts politician Deval Patrick, also worked for Bain.

Yet in July, Warren declared war on the private equity industry.

“For far too long, Washington has looked the other way while private equity firms take over companies, load them with debt, strip them of their wealth, and walk away scot-free — leaving workers, consumers, and whole communities to pick up the pieces,” she said.

The company she and other critics of this complex and vital corporate surgery pointed to as prime victim was Toys R Us. And practically on cue, the very same day in July that Warren issued her attack, ex-Toys R Us executive Richard Barry announced that his new entity, Tru Kids, whose brands include Toys R Us, Babies R Us, and Geoffrey, was opening two new Toys R Us stores in November.

A Would-Be Jobs Killer Boasts Of Saving Jobs

Warren then goes on to defend the numerous specific cases in which she served as counsel or in other legal roles. In a late 1990s case, for instance, Warren represented Fairchild Aircraft Corp., in a lawsuit regarding a plane crash that killed four. The National Transportation Safety Board “and a jury found that the aircraft manufacturer was not at fault,” Warren’s campaign release states.

“Elizabeth represented the company in a lawsuit to try to protect hundreds of jobs at the company after new investors had saved it from closing its doors and laying off its workers,” it goes on. “In the end, the company survived and 1,000 people had jobs because of it.” Warren was paid nearly $10,000 for her services.

Now here’s the question: Wouldn’t Warren’s wealth tax, and all the other punishments she has locked and loaded and aimed between the eyes of “billionaires,” have exactly the same effect as the demands for damages Warren successfully prevented from being exacted from Fairchild Aircraft? Except many, many times over.

Why is it good for Warren as a corporate attorney to have saved “hundreds of jobs” 20 years ago as she defended the interests of a particular firm, but then to destroy millions of good, private-sector jobs as president beginning in 2021? Especially after the booming Trump economy.

And there are other examples, of course. Warren got no less than $186,859 representing P.A. Bergner & Co. in the mid 1990s.

“In this case, Elizabeth represented a well-known chain of department stores to make sure that it could stay alive and pay its creditors,” her campaign notes. “Elizabeth succeeded, and the company continued to employ people across its many stores.”

In microcosm, Elizabeth Warren the corporate lawyer was a private-sector jobs saver. In macrocosm, a President Elizabeth Warren would be the most destructive jobs killer in economic history.

Another Warren rival, fellow New England senator and out-and-out socialist Bernie Sanders, has taunted that Warren has called herself a “capitalist to my bones.” But if either Warren or Sanders wins the White House, future generations will be left with only the bones of the vibrant economic freedom we enjoy today.

— Written by Thomas McArdle


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3 comments

  • The shocking thing to me about Warren is the number of “plans” which she supposedly has. It is as if she got all the way to Harvard and never heard of the term “central planning”. Does she really believe that the government can manage, say, part-time work hours? They can’t even deliver the mail. Not that it matters, Hillary will be the candidate. She will “save” the Democrats at the convention as a supposed compromise.

  • This article is inaccurate and misleading. First of all, Warren is not a socialist, she is a capitalist. She is not anti-capitalism, but wants to repair the excesses of capitalism. Her policies won’t kill jobs, although it is ironic that the author contrasts her to private equity firms that do cut jobs to turnaround a quick profit.

    • Not at all. Her policies WILL kill jobs and reduce prosperity. Free market policies embrace competition while her policies are anti-capitalist.

      And it should be obvious that competitive prices and competitive delivery only come with competition!

  • [print-me target="#post-%ID%"]

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Issues & Insights is a new site formed by the seasoned journalists behind the legendary IBD Editorials page. Our goal is to bring our decades of combined journalism experience to help readers understand the top issues of the day. We’re doing this on a voluntary basis, because we believe the nation needs the kind of cogent, rational, data-driven, fact-based commentary that we can provide. 

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