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Fuller writes: "Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has built a sizable political profile - including the requisite presidential speculation - by espousing a simple idea: that the system is 'rigged' against average Americans. And you might be surprised who agrees with her: A whole bunch of conservatives."

Many conservatives agree with Elizabeth Warren. The system is rigged. (photo: Reuters)
Many conservatives agree with Elizabeth Warren. The system is rigged. (photo: Reuters)

Elizabeth Warren Says the US Economy Is Rigged. Many Conservatives Agree.

By Jaime Fuller, The Washington Post

27 June 14


en. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has built a sizable political profile — including the requisite presidential speculation — by espousing a simple idea: that the system is "rigged" against average Americans.

And you might be surprised who agrees with her: A whole bunch of conservatives.

According to a new Pew survey, 62 percent of Americans think that the economic system unfairly favors the powerful, and 78 percent think that too much power is concentrated in too few companies. The discontent isn't limited to those who share Warren's liberal ideology; 69 percent of young conservative-leaning voters and 48 percent of the most conservative voters agree that the system favors the powerful, according to Pew.

Although Warren seems an outlier in the legislative branch for her fiery discontent with inequality — and the role she says Wall Street plays in exacerbating it — the Pew survey suggests that the vast majority of Americans are at least open to her underlying premise.

Everyone, that is, except business conservatives. This faction has vastly different views of the American economic system than most Americans. Two-thirds of business conservatives think the economic system is fair to most people, and 57 percent think that large companies do not have too much power.

The demographics that bind business conservatives go a long way toward explaining why they diverge on this issue. The business conservatives that Pew surveyed were the most affluent of the seven political types they defined — 45 percent have family incomes above $75,000. Fifty-seven percent of business conservatives say they are interested in business and finance, and 68 percent invest in the stock market. No other type has them beat on these two measures.

Americans' political beliefs are generally grounded in how they see politics interact or interfere with their own lives. We can focus on the diner-embed model of analyzing politics day and night, but for most Americans, gossiping about how a next-door neighbor lost their house or a cousin got a promotion at Goldman Sachs is all they've got. Business conservatives think the economic system is fair; others who aren't as enmeshed in it disagree.

So does conservative discontent with the current economic system mean that the rest of Congress is going to hang Thomas Piketty posters on their office walls and head to Zuccotti Park? (Or vote for Elizabeth Warren?)

Don't count on it. Business conservatives' confidence in the economic system might differ from everyone else, but business conservatives are politically active enough to make a big impression on politicians. Seventy-one percent of the business conservatives surveyed by Pew say they always or nearly always vote in primaries. "Steadfast conservatives" are similarly active too, but they aren't quite as affluent as their conservative counterparts, and they don't donate nearly as much money.

Another reason conservative politicians aren't about to join hands with Warren? The conservatives — and many of the liberals — who agree with her on the economy's unfairness don't agree with her on the source of the problem.

Skeptics, solid liberals and young conservative outsiders were the only political types more likely to think Wall Street was hurting the economy more than it helped it.

Until Americans agree on what needs to be done to fix the economy, their disappointment with its underpinnings are unlikely be met with any sweeping populist changes in policy. And this poll suggests that's not happening today. your social media marketing partner


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We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

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Founder, Reader Supported News

+42 # Radscal 2014-06-28 13:30
The top graph once again shows that most Americans are more progressive than our "representative " government.

The bottom graph seems incongruous. It could be because so many people now have their retirement based on the stock market. Certainly most people believe the stock market is the only way for businesses to get needed cash to invest in growth.
+6 # 2014-06-29 08:25
So much of this is because of the right wing/Fox/GOP's relentless propaganda campaign to "sell" the 1%'s viewpoint.

I think the answer is not to emulate that awful strategy, but to divide the populous into smaller, more representative groups. The Pew survey seems to be a move in that direction...

What's missing is, of course, the relative numbers/quantit y of Americans in each group...
+5 # glyde 2014-06-29 12:59
If you mean by growth buying (consolidating) other businesses, that does nothing for the country's economy or lowering unemployment.
+60 # brux 2014-06-28 16:58
COOL ... finally a newer more flattering picture of Liz Warren ... who is of course right about the economy being rigged ... at a minimum.
+28 # oprichniki 2014-06-28 17:30
She has an obligation to seek the Presidency!
+40 # Buddha 2014-06-28 17:53
"and they don't donate nearly as much money."

And now that SCOTUS has paved the road for Oligarchic control of our government, this is all that really matters. It doesn't matter what the average American thinks, when our elected representatives ultimately do the bidding of the rich and powerful to get their campaign donations, a necessity to have in our form of elections. Witness Obama campaigning against Hillary to her Left and championing a single-payer option...and yet once in office, and HMO money is flooding into his coffers, so much for single-payer. And more, he is letting our corporations and their lobbyists negotiate a while raft of trade deals in secret, without labor or environmentalis t groups even at the table. Liz Warren is 100% right...but she's also completely neutered because the system itself is broken. And not enough Americans are even aware, or care enough, to do anything about it...we saw that with Occupy, that was our last chance to stop Global Oligarchy...
+32 # Radscal 2014-06-28 18:08
Although very difficult, I think it still possible to elect officials who refuse to take bribes. And if we do elect such officials, they could still make all these forms of bribery illegal.

Our votes still matter, else there wouldn't be such efforts to disenfranchise voters, make voting difficult, use hackable computer voting and most effectively, convince people their votes don't count. But I think it likely our votes will be fully neutered within a few election cycles unless we do vote in majorities of honest candidates immediately.
+11 # Floe 2014-06-28 19:58
I doubt our votes matter. It's all just a game, the media, the lobbyists, the donors, the staffers, the hangers on. And we're all invested in it too. So many of us work for the companies that lobby against us, heck, even for the companies that spy on us. The voting system means nothing, it's a game we all play because it's got momentum, it's what we've been doing for a hundred years. I don't know when we're going to realize that if we keep doing the same things, we're going to keep getting the same results. Who needs politicians now - we have the internet and can vote on issues directly, cutting out the middle man, the "representative " who rarely represents the majority.
+21 # Radscal 2014-06-28 20:57
It seems to me that Team A wouldn't be working so hard to keep people from voting if the votes already don't matter. Otherwise, I'd agree that whether Team A or Team B wins is largely just theater.

There's no way I'd trust internet voting.

"The people who cast the votes don't decide an election, the people who count the votes do."
~ Joseph Stalin
+1 # 2014-06-30 07:42
Voters are a mere inconvenience.. .
+23 # anarchteacher 2014-06-28 18:01
"Man Bites Dog!"

Americans across the political spectrum have long asserted that the system is "rigged." Here are a dozen volumes from an extremely wide variety of researchers which detail these facts:

Bertram Gross, Friendly Fascism: The New Face of Power in America;

Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. Fascism versus Capitalism;

John McConaughy, Who Rules America? A Century of Invisible Government;

Richard F. Pettigrew, Triumphant Plutocracy;

C. Wright Mills, The Power Elite;

G. William Domhoff, The Higher Circles;

Ferdinand Lundberg, America's 60 Families;

Murray N. Rothbard, Wall Street, Banks, and American Foreign Policy;

Nomi Prins, All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances That Drive American Power;

and the three volume series by Philip H. Burch, Jr., Elites in American History.
+15 # Farafalla 2014-06-28 20:34
Good reading list!
+2 # gentry cooper 2014-06-30 05:22
The conservatives who agree with Elizabeth Warren that the system is rigged against the poor and middle class working people only do so because a so-called democrat controls the whitehouse. This fits in with their narrative that government is bad. If or when a republican controls the whitehouse these same conservatives would totally disagree with Warren. It doesn't mean a thing to me when I hear someone say that a policy has some merit because conservatives also agree with it. Throughout the history of mankind conservative philosophy has been proven wrong on just about every social and economic issue facing humans.
+23 # MidwestTom 2014-06-28 18:20
The surprising thing to me is that Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul actually agree on many subjects, especially that Wall Street is unfair, and the system is rigged against the majority. It will interesting to watch as both parties try to silence, or at least distance themselves from these two "radical' politicians. Both of these appeal to the similar people in each party. Since fewer and fewer citizens now claim that they support either party, we may be approaching a time when one of these can break through. I have not read much about where Warren stands on foreign policies, but Paul is definitely for shrinking our attempt to rule the world.
+4 # gentry cooper 2014-06-30 05:30
Rand Paul is a libertarian who will caucus with the republicans. He will vote with them against his pricipals on foreign policy if he were in congress. If he becomes president, I think he would be much worse than Obama on foreign policy. He will twist warmaking into becomming a libertarian ideal. And as far as domestic policy is concerned Paul will be as far right as any conservative republican on social and especially the crucial economic interests of the working poor and middle class.
+2 # gentry cooper 2014-06-30 05:31
That should be principles and not principals in my last post.
+2 # gentry cooper 2014-06-30 05:52
RSN readers, MidwestTom is a conservative. Right now he is trying to equate Rand Paul to Elizabeth Warren in the minds of some progessives. On domestic and foreign policy a Warren and Paul presidency would greatly differ. I feel that under Paul the poor, working poor and middle classes would fair poorly. Paul says that the system is rigged against these classes of people. But he has no economic policies that would remove this. As a libetarian he caucused with republicans and voted with them enabling devastating economic policy to move forward. I would like to know how his miniscule government, flat tax policy would alleviate the suffering of the poor and the decline of the middle class. Libertarianism means no department of education and federal standards for public education for every child. We know how that will go if Paul has his way and is able to implement his so called vission for the nation. It will be education for those who can afford to pay.
+20 # motamanx 2014-06-28 18:22
If by rigging she means that Big Biz does not pay enough taxes, I agree.
+1 # gentry cooper 2014-06-30 05:35
There are other ways the system is rigged too, other than just not paying enough taxes.
+20 # reiverpacific 2014-06-28 19:11
How about a category "Wall Street RUNS the economy" -or is that getting' too near the truth.
After all, the Military-Corpor ate rulers are very much beholden to the Banksters and junk-speculator s to see how stinkin' profitable they're getting as the rest of us face declining $ power in the true Freidman-Oligar chic model.
And then there's the appalling, incompetent and corrupt so-called Credit Bureaus who can ruin the life of a person or business who has had some bad luck and are almost impossible to deal with.
I suggest that you good folks check out the "Debt-resister' s Manual" for a clear look at it all -and some solutions.
+24 # Radscal 2014-06-28 21:00
"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws"
~ Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild
+15 # ganymede 2014-06-28 23:04
You have to hand it to the WashPo in their skill at deflecting the issues and intensity of our "rigged economy". It's obvious that Warren is already becoming a threat to the oligarchs, and that We the People have the power to overcome the miasma of greed that has infected our society. More and more people are actively protesting, because we see that we are continuing to fall behind many other advanced countries in terms of financial security, health, education, science etc., and that we are suffering the consequences of our totally misplaced priorities.

Of all the groups in the WashPo survey only the "Business Conservatives" believe that everything is OK and Wall St is doing a great job! Still, the article ends by saying nothing will be done,.."until Americans agree on what needs to be done to fix the economy, their disappointment with its underpinnings are unlikely to be met with any sweeping populist changes in policy".

That's how clever propaganda works in their attempt to defuse the positive effect Warren is having in igniting the country on these issues. In reality, with her help, along with a few other politicians in Washington and We the People, they will be proven wrong.
+15 # brenda 2014-06-29 06:05
Elizabeth, you stand tall in my book. Hope to see you in some part of the Presidential team. You got my vote.
-5 # Sweet Pea 2014-06-29 06:53
Admittedly, Elizabeth Warren talks the talk- but will she be able to walk the walk when millions of dollars are rubbed under her nose? We have been dissolutioned before.
+12 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2014-06-29 08:53
@Sweet Pea

Your comments are getting negative votes because most RSN readers don't want to entertain the idea that there is ANY possibility Sen Warren might cave like President Obama has. Nevertheless, only a person who loves to be disappointed by nasty surprises blithely ignores unpleasant possibilities. Look how bitter some of us are towards Obama. We believed him and he's left us out in the rain. One lousy imitation of a decent healthcare system is all he's managed and even that was more a Congressional action than an Executive one. The worst of it is that there are numerous good things he could do without Congressional approval but he has refused. Some are:

1) End not just the current wars on the peoples of the Middle East but completely redirect US foreign policy away from trying to force other people to be like us.
2) Provide funding to the Justice Dept to assist people who are having trouble getting the "right" forms of ID to register to vote.
3) Close Guantanamo. Prosecute those who have committed real crimes and send everyone else home.
4) Issue an official pardon to Snowden and ALL the other governmental whistle blowers.
5) Tell Congress to pass laws protecting future whistle blowers or he'll pardon every one of them out of hand.
6) Prosecute Clapper and ANYONE ELSE who lies to Congressional committees tasked with oversight.
This barely scratches the surface of what he COULD do but hasn't the courage to do.
+7 # Working Class 2014-06-29 11:38
Quoting Sweet Pea:
Admittedly, Elizabeth Warren talks the talk- but will she be able to walk the walk when millions of dollars are rubbed under her nose? We have been dissolutioned before.

A more relevant question is will anyone who want to help the majority of the citizens be able to govern with a totally bought and paid for Congress blocking every attempt.
-2 # brux 2014-06-30 00:31
I just want a more just and Liberal elite to govern our country, I think that is the best we can hope for. Democracy as we see it in Hollywood and the movies won't work. But if the choice was between what we have now and an experiment in pure or electronic democracy, I'll go with democracy every time.
0 # brux 2014-06-30 00:27
disillusioned too
0 # brux 2014-06-30 00:29
It's a good question though, it is the weak point in our system, the chink in our government's armor. Because we do not tax the rich enough to keep our government powerful, it is owned and controlled by the interests that demonize it.
+11 # maddog2112 2014-06-29 07:17
One of the things saint Reagan did while in office was to make 401k's available to working class people, which was the beginning of the end for defined benefit pensions as we all were used to. An added benefit was to make people feel like they were one of the 1%,since they were now shareholders. This allowed companies to downsize and or outsource their jobs for the sake of their shareholders profits. People turned their heads as long as their stock prices went up! Destroy unions, outsourcing, and even move corporations overseas at taxpayer expense, no problem as long as my stock price grows! This along with the right wing propagandists on fox and AM radio blaming all of the countries problems on minorities and poor people, have allowed us to get where we are today. Corporations running our bought and paid for government!! With the help of the extreme court rightwing the stage has been set. The united states has become a right wing corporate fascist country!!! Thanks rethuglicons!!! !
+1 # brux 2014-06-30 00:32
People still don't seem to get that the stock market goes up because more people put money into it, that's it ... it is only very thinly linked if at all to any kind of value or future prediction ... humans cannot predict the future. The stock market is half the problem - that is, basing our government and money system on gambling ... especially when they elite have the answers to the questions beforehand.
-9 # 2014-06-29 07:44
Of course it was - and is - rigged.
Ms. Warren should run on one platform,
abolish the Federal Reserve Bank and the IRS, implement a flat tax, and U.S. Congress to manage it's money without borrowing and without giving away to nations that hate us.
+7 # crispy 2014-06-29 08:59
moafu i'd agree w you but NOT on the "fair tax" look at who supports it: Millionaires and billionaires like Mike Huckeby.
There is a quote whose author I don't know.
I HOPE you can understand it: The RICH want you to hate taxes so they can keep more of your money" (your money because a fair system confiscates excess income and gives it back to society at large , you, us).
In "Building a better America" researchers found the vast majority of Americans favor a Swedish tax system (very progressive) and have no idea about current income inequality in America. A MUST READ FOR ALL!!
+2 # Radscal 2014-06-29 10:50
With "unearned income" taxed at ridiculously low rates, write-offs and hiding income offshore, the current "progressive" tax rates actually mean that high income earners pay a far lower percentage of their total income in total taxes than middle and even low income earners.

Given that, a "flat tax" on all sources of income with no write offs would actually be more fair than the "progressive" on paper only current system.
+1 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2014-07-01 20:15
The problem of high income earners not paying a fair tax was SUPPOSED to be addressed with the Alternative Minimum Tax. Turns out the AMT is just as easily manipulated as the regular tax structure.

So what I would suggest is that we throw out the AMT and use a Flat Tax IN ADDITION TO the regular tax.

1) The FT would apply to all income, not just earned.
2) Set it at 10% and levy it on all income not actually taxed at the Tax Table rates. This would eliminate interest and investment income having an advantage over earned income. Also, you wouldn't need to worry about low income citizens having to pay extra over their regular Tax Table taxes.

Just a thought. I'm sure if they WANTED TO, Congress could come up with something but the truth is they don't.
+11 # crispy 2014-06-29 09:03
On foreign aide, the US pledges a lot (like in the case of Haiti) but in general delivers very little.
We are a t the bottom of the list for Western nations giving to poor nations.
We should however recall our loans to Israel (none was ever repaid) and stop funding its repressive war machine. Same for Egypt of course!!
+6 # reiverpacific 2014-06-29 09:14
Of course it was - and is - rigged.
Ms. Warren should run on one platform,
abolish the Federal Reserve Bank and the IRS, implement a flat tax, and U.S. Congress to manage it's money without borrowing and without giving away to nations that hate us.

Please explain y'r concept of "Flat tax".
D'you mean like the hated Poll Tax that Thatcher tried to impose on the UK, basically a cradle-to-grave tax just for being born and existing, blatantly favoring the wealthy- which was one of the main factors that drove her final steep decline and forced her resignation.
I'd also add, abolish the Credit Bureaus and break them up into government supervised, small bank and credit union administered regional entities which would cut out most of the corruption and inaccuracy that is a large but unrealized part of what is keeping the still-mired in recession economy slow due to bankruptcies, especially small businesses.
I've written to Ms Warren about this.
-3 # Johnny 2014-06-29 20:27
A fair flat tax would be to tax all income over a million a year at 100 percent.
0 # brux 2014-06-30 00:34
1 million is a kind of low maximum wage ... I would say 20 million but also with a progressive surtax on wealth, at least for a while.
+9 # Vardoz 2014-06-29 11:37
People want good jobs and a good wages. People want access to upward mobility and job security period end of story, In order for the economy to expand people need to be able to spend. People need affordable education and health care. All of these are the most basic needs for a developed nation to be viable. Conservatives and the greedy 1% don't want this for the majority so maybe the majority needs to get more active.
0 # fredboy 2014-06-29 15:36
Of course it's rigged. It wouldn't be the U.S. economy if it wasn't rigged.
-1 # Nosir 2014-06-29 18:52
Rand Paul and Elizabeth Warren should run on the same platform!
+1 # brux 2014-06-30 00:35
What a hideous idea
-7 # Johnny 2014-06-29 20:30
Of course Warren knows the economy is rigged. She is one of the neoconservative s who rigs it for endless war to promote the expansion of Israel, so that only war industries and banksters benefit. And she knows it. Just notice what she does NOT talk about.
-2 # brux 2014-06-30 00:36
Yeah, it's always the Jews taking over the world. Let's knock down all the Jews a few pegs so the Muslims can take over the world instead, right Johnny Hussein?
0 # FDRva 2014-07-01 01:08
I take Liz Warren at her word.

She trusts Barry Obama about as much as most GOPers--for different reasons.
+1 # CuttySark 2014-07-01 17:59
It's discouraging to learn some RSN readers manage to believe Elizabeth Warren and Rand Paul have anything at all in common, or (from one reader) an assertion that a Warren presidency would "differ" from a Paul presidency when in fact the two would be polar opposites.
0 # politicfix 2014-07-22 22:08
Not one politician is speaking out the way Elizabeth Warren is. You might as well say, "Will the corrupt politicians all be silent if Elizabeth Warren is telling the truth". Bill Clinton is dying to get back into the White House through Hillary. He's been mentored by Bush Senior for years. The Clinton's are for themselves. Bill Clinton and his scandals is not what this country needs. Been there done that. We don't need a monarchy of the Clinton's or more Bushes. Warren is fresh, energetic, and she's unquestionably for uplifting the government and the people. We need to bring manufacturing back to this country and quit buying everything from China and overseas. The economy IS a sham. Economics should be the utilization of everything without the loss of anything. Eliminate the Federal Reserve, abandon our antiquated financial system, to save this country. Warren represents progressive change and she doesn't feel she has to be "a conservative democrat". Just be real....and she is!

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