- Longtime professor at Harvard Law School
- Advocates a federal student-loan program that would forgive students one year of college expenses for each year they worked in public service after college
- Calls for greater “regulation” by the government to counter the devious tactics of “lenders [who] have deliberately built tricks and traps into some credit products”
- Was appointed in 2008 by Senator Harry Reid to chair a Congressional Oversight Panel to monitor the effectiveness of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program
- Supports a federal bailout of American families facing bankruptcy
- Has spoken on panels with George Soros and Van Jones
- Was appointed (in 2010) by President Obama as special assistant in charge of organizing and establishing a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Born in June 1949 and raised in Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren earned a B.S. from the University of Houston in 1970 and a J.D. from Rutgers Law School in 1976. She is currently the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where she began teaching in 1992. Prior to joining Harvard, she taught law at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, the University of Houston, the University of Michigan, and Rutgers.
In 1984, Warren, claiming to be partially of Cherokee heritage, contributed five recipes to a cookbook titled Pow Wow Chow, which was edited by her cousin and was, according to its introduction, a compilation of “special recipes passed down through the Five Tribes families.”
From 1986 to 1995, Warren—without specifying her heritage—listed herself as a minority professor in a professional law-school directory. A 1996 article in the Harvard Crimson quoted Harvard Law spokesman Michael Chmura identifying Warren as "Native American." Two years later, the paper dubbed Warren “the first woman with a minority background to be tenured” at the law school. According to historian Victor Davis Hanson, Warren "dropped her Native American claims as soon as she at last received tenure and found her ... con suddenly superfluous—to the apparent unconcern of her similarly cynical but now mum employer, Harvard."
In addition to her professorial pursuits, Warren also has been a member of the FDIC's Committee on Economic Inclusion, which focuses on “expanding access to banking services” and “promot[ing] asset accumulation” for “underserved populations.” Moreover, she has served as vice president of the American Law Institute and as the chief adviser to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission.
In 2003 Warren and her daughter, Amelia Tyagi, co-wrote a book titled The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke. The authors contend that because of the high fixed costs that modern-day Americans face, two-income families today are generally less financially stable than were single-income families in the 1970s. Warren and Tyagi portray a financial system where “the game is stacked against” ordinary Americans who seek “to provide a decent life for their children.” In the book's Introduction, Warren praises leftist organizations like the Center for American Progress, Demos, the Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, and the New America Foundation for having helped raise people's consciousness about “issues related to families' economic stability.” She also notes, proudly, that her book has been quoted by such Democrat luminaries as Howard Dean, John Edwards, Richard Gephardt, Ted Kennedy, and John Kerry.
On March 19, 2004, at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, Warren spoke at a symposium entitled “Critical Race Theory: The Next Frontier,” alongside a number of academics who, according to FreeBeacon.com, "have advocated for corporate and government reparations for African-Americans, criticized the concept of U.S. citizenship, and accused the United States of operating under a system of 'apartheid.'" Founded by the late Derrick Bell, critical race theory is an academic discipline which maintains that society is divided along racial lines into (white) oppressors and (black) victims, similar to the way Marxism frames the oppressor/victim dichotomy along class lines. For further details about critical race theory, click here.
Warren subsequently published an article in connection with that symposium, in the Fall 2004 issue of Washington and Lee Law Review. Entitled “The Economics of Race: When Making it to the Middle Is Not Enough,” Warren’s piece stated:
“A growing body of work examines how black families are having much greater difficulty accumulating wealth and how tax codes or other seemingly neutral statutes systematically disadvantage black families.... Hispanic and black homeowners face sharply increased risks of filing for bankruptcy as compared to their white counterparts. These data reinforce the view that middle class Hispanic and blacks are far more vulnerable to the financial difficulties facing every family."
In 2007, Warren wrote a piece in the Harvard Law and Policy Review proposing the creation of a federally funded “Service Pays” program in which the government would “increase the amount students can borrow” for college loans, and would then “forgive students one year of college expenses for each year the student worked in public service after college.” This, Warren explained, would enable “typical students” to “begin adult life debt-free at twenty-six with a college diploma and four years of work experience.” Such an arrangement, she added, should also be extended to students who failed to graduate from college.
Warren envisioned Service Pays as “a reformed Peace Corps that would place young people with aid and development organizations around the world,” to assist with such tasks as “rebuilding after natural disasters”; “teaching English”; “improving water usage”; teaching math and science in “urban and rural schools with a substantial minority or lower-income student body”; running “after-school tutoring programs”; “clean[ing] up public buildings and parks”; “rebuild[ing] roads and bridges;” “improv[ing] the environment”; and “organiz[ing] communities to reduce crime and develop the local economy.” Added Warren: “Non-profit organizations that want to participate in Service Pays could apply to the program and be considered on the same basis that AmeriCorps currently uses: 'Direct service activities must address local environmental, educational, public safety,... or other human needs.” Critics of Warren's proposal observed that it had the potential to be used as a means of assigning young adults to work with leftwing organizations that would indoctrinate them to a particular political viewpoint.
Also in 2007, Warren began to advocate for the creation of a federal agency – modeled on the Consumer Product Safety Commission – to protect the public from “over-priced credit products, risky subprime mortgages, and misleading insurance plans.” She called for greater “regulation” by the government to counter the devious tactics of “lenders [who] have deliberately built tricks and traps into some credit products so they can ensnare families in a cycle of high-cost debt.”
In September 2008, as the U.S. faced its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Warren penned an article titled “Who Will Bail out American Families?” In that piece, Warren recommended that just as the federal government had bailed out failing U.S. banks, the AIG insurance company, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac, it should likewise bail out American families facing bankruptcy. Depicting such people as innocent victims who had been tricked by unscrupulous bankers, Warren wrote: “They are casualties of a financial system that saw them not as customers, but as prey ... a financial system that has been devastated by mindless deregulation and unchecked greed.”
In November 2008, Senator Harry Reid appointed Warren to chair the Congressional Oversight Panel that Congress had created to monitor the effectiveness of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), which was designed to bail out failing U.S. financial institutions; Warren's duty was to report regularly to Congress on whether TARP funds were being used “in the best interest of the American people.”
In 2009 Warren co-wrote “The Increasing Vulnerability of Older Americans: Evidence From the Bankruptcy Court.” Asserting that “the economic news for seniors is consistently grim,” this article stated that “age is increasingly associated with financial distress and with seeking protection from creditors through the bankruptcy courts.” According to the authors, since 1991 “Americans age fifty-five or older have experienced the sharpest increase in bankruptcy filings,” and “the rate of bankruptcy filings among those ages sixty-five and older has more than doubled.”
Also in 2009, Warren co-authored an article asserting that some 62.1% of all U.S. bankruptcies were the result of medical expenses that people could not afford – supposedly a 49.6% rise over 2001 bankruptcies due to medical expenses. Emphasizing that few Americans were immune from the possibility of becoming insolvent, the authors noted that “most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations”; moreover, “three quarters had health insurance.” Megan McArdle, the business and economics editor for The Atlantic, subsequently pointed out that this study was statistically flawed, and that no rise in medical-related bankruptcies had in fact occurred.
In 2009 Warren appeared in Michael Moore's anti-capitalist film titled Capitalism: A Love Story. In a taped interview, the filmmaker told Warren that “capitalism in and of itself, at least the capitalism we know now, is immoral, it’s not democratic, and worst of all, it doesn’t work...” Warren did not disagree, replying: “But we made up these rules, and the rules are of men, of people. We pick what the rules are. The rules have not been written for ordinary families, for the people who actually do the work. We have to rewrite those rules.” When Moore then blamed the greed of “corporate America” for allegedly having tricked people “into these adjustable rate mortgages [which] they may not be able to pay ... back,” Warren said: “Its a big part of what happened, and then just layer in on top of that: 'Can we sell them more credit cards that are loaded with tricks and traps?'”
In September 2009, Warren worked as a consultant for Travelers Insurance in the Supreme Court case Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Bailey. In that case, Travelers won permanent immunity from all personal-injury lawsuits related to its bankrupt former client, the asbestos-manufacturing Johns Manville Corporation. Records show that Travelers had been aware of the dangers of asbestos for decades, but had misled the public about those dangers. In a Supreme Court brief, Warren criticized the “enterprising plaintiffs’ lawyers” who represented asbestos victims. She received more than $200,000 in legal fees for her services.
Warren was named one of Time Magazine's "100 Most Influential People in the World" in 2009 and 2010.
In March 2010, Warren addressed a conference that also featured billionaire financier George Soros as a guest speaker. In her talk, Warren emphasized the need to shorten and simplify such documents as credit-card, mortgage, and car-loan agreements – so that people could no longer be “tricked and trapped into paying what [they] didn't bargain for.”
In July 2010, Warren spoke at an East Hampton, New York event on the topic of “Restoring the Integrity of the U.S. Financial Markets.” Fellow panelists included Van Jones and George Soros. That same month, Warren spoke at a Netroots Nation conference on the topic of “Building a Progressive Economic Vision.”
Between 2007 and 2010, Warren's idea of establishing a federal agency to protect financial-product consumers found considerable support in Congress and culminated in a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) being incorporated into a financial regulatory reform bill that was passed in summer 2010. In the summer of that year, Senator Tom Harkin circulated a petition advocating that Warren be named as director of the new CFPB. Warren was likewise endorsed for that position by Congressman Barney Frank, Democrat Senator Al Franken, the socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, SEIU president Andrew Stern, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, and the activist organization MoveOn.
In July 2010, Warren singled out Rep. Barney Frank as the man who “deserves as much credit as anyone on this planet for keeping this Consumer Protection Financial Bureau [sic] and making it strong.”
On September 17, 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Warren to be his special assistant in charge of organizing and establishing the CFPB; in this role, Warren would also serve as a special advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Senate approval was not needed for Warren's appointment, though it would have been required if Obama had named her to be CFPB's director; Obama was aware that the Senate was unlikely to have confirmed Warren for that post. Following Warren's appointment, Republican Congressmen Darrel Issa (CA) and Spencer Bachus (AL) sent a letter to the White House requesting more information about what they called the “unusual arrangement” that was “undermining congressional oversight” over presidential appointments.
On September 14, 2011, Warren announced that she would be running (in 2012) for the Massachusetts U.S. Senate seat which, at that time, was held by Republican Scott Brown. While campaigning that same month, Warren stated (click here for video) that the government and the public sector play a vital role in wealth creation:
"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own—nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces [sic] that the rest of us paid for.... Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless—keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along."
In October 2011, Warren -- who enjoyed a $350,000 academic sinecure and resided in a $1.7 million mansion -- expressed support for the anti-capitalism rallies which were staged in cities across the United States by Occupy Wall Street and other activist groups. “I created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do,” she said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “I support what they do.” To view a list of additional noteworthy individuals and organizations that endorsed the movement, click here.
In April 2012, Warren became embroiled in controversy when the Boston Herald reported that during the 1990s, administrators at Harvard Law School had “prominently touted Warren’s Native American background … in an effort to bolster their diversity hiring record in the ’90s as the school came under heavy fire for a faculty that was then predominantly white and male.” When the media subsequently asked Warren's Senate campaign for proof of the candidate's tribal heritage, the campaign initially denied that Warren had ever boasted about it. Warren herself suggested that even if she were unable to produce documentation of a such a heritage, her family “lore” backed up her claim. “Being Native American has been part of my story I guess since the day I was born,” said Warren. “These are my family stories, I have lived in a family that has talked about Native American[s] and talked about tribes since I was a little girl.” Speaking to a reporter on a local news station in Boston, Warren cited her the "high cheekbones" of her "papaw" (grandfather) as further evidence of her Native American lineage. Said Warren soon thereafter: “I listed myself [as a minority] in the [professional law-school] directory [from 1986-1995] in the hopes that it might mean that I would be invited to a luncheon, a group something that might happen with people who are like I am.”
On May 1, 2012, it was reported that a genealogist had discovered that one of Warren's great-great uncles had made a notation on his own marriage license indicating that his mother (Warren's great-great-great-grandmother, O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford) was a Cherokee. If that notation (which was not part of the official license) was accurate, it would make Warren 1/32 Cherokee. But in mid-May 2012, it was learned that the document bearing the aforementioned notation was merely an application for a marriage license, not the license itself. Further, census records list O.C. Sarah Smith Crawford as "white," and Warren's family is not listed in the Cherokee registry. For a timeline of events regarding Warren's claims of Native American heritage, click here.
On September 5, 2012, Warren spoke at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
In a September 24, 2012 interview with Boston's 96.9 FM radio program Jim and Margery, Warren, who had provided paid legal services for many clients during the preceding decade—including the Simpson, Thacher, and Bartlett law firm that paid her $212,000 and listed her as "of counsel" in the 2009 brief they submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of their client, Travelers Insurance—admitted that she has never been licensed to practice law in Massachusetts. According to LegalInsurrection.com:
"[T]here are at least two provisions of Massachusetts law Warren may have violated. First, on a regular and continuing basis she used her Cambridge office for the practice of law without being licensed in Massachusetts. Second, in addition to operating an office for the practice of law without being licensed in Massachusetts, Warren actually practiced law in Massachusetts without being licensed."
In March 2013, Warren suggested raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $22 per hour: “If we started in 1960, and we said [that] as productivity goes up … then the minimum wage was going to go up the same … if that were the case, the minimum wage today would be about $22 an hour.” “What happened to the other $14.75?” she asked. “It sure didn’t go to the worker.”
In addition to a minimum-wage hike, Warren also favored an increase in Social Security benefits to retirees, notwithstanding the fact that with a rapidly rising number of baby boomers retiring, the Social Security program itself was headed inexorably toward fiscal collapse. As a December 2013 Wall Street Journal report explained:
"Undeterred by this undebatable solvency crisis, Sen. Warren wants to increase benefits to all seniors, including billionaires, and to pay for them by increasing taxes on working people and their employers. Her approach requires a $750 billion tax hike over the next 10 years that hits mostly Millennials and Gen Xers, plus another $750 billion tax on the businesses that employ them.
For additional information on Elizabeth Warren, click here.