Elizabeth Warren On Too Big To Fail, Paulson's Generous Taxpayer Gift, And The Death Of The Middle Class

Tyler Durden's picture

Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren provides a much needed sober perspective of Bernanke's Doctrine of Mandatory Global Moral Hazard, by discussing just how broken the banking system continues to be. 

"My view is any institution that is Too Big To Fail is one that distorts the economy and ultimately is very costly to all of us."

Most notably, Warren on the intention by Wall Street and by the administration to eradicate the middle class:

"The middle class became a resource to be pulled from - "the turkey at the thanksgiving dinner" - the middle class has gotten shakier and shakier, it has become hollowed out. The middle class makes us who we are. The middle class gives us political stability. It is safe to walk our streets because we have a middle class. And every time we hollow [the middle class] out we take the risk that something of what we know as America begins to die. That's what scares me."

Must watch.


h/t Alexis

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Sisyphus's picture


Elizabeth Warren is fighting a losing battle. The sheeple do not care. You want an example. Here it is. This gentleman is unemployed. And instead of being outraged at the bailouts, the economic condition of the country, the massive printing experiment that is going on, and doing something about it; he is more interested in his footbal team. He and other like minded people have raised money for a billboard to show their discontent for the Buffalo Bills football team. And he is being featured in Yahoo as a hero. Try that to raise awareness about the Fed and the wall street and you will: 1) not get enought support and 2) written off as a nut job.

Nice job Mr. Ryan Abshagen. We need more like you in this country. Otherwise, how will the pillage continue without anybody giving a rat's posterior.

Bills fans rent billboard to advertise discontent



Glen's picture

The dumbing down of America is working a treat. It's also working exceptionally well here in Australia to.

Anonymous's picture

The movie "Idiocracy" comes to mind - a Mike Judge special (and a complete waste of 90 minutes).

Anonymous's picture

Wallstreetpro2 where are you?

Jupiter's picture

"And every time we hollow [the middle class] out we take the risk that something of what we know as America begins to die."

Why is that every "mainstream" or "establishment" thinker always qualifies their argument that America is dying with works like "take the risk" and "begins to die".  Other examples (not in this article include) "may result in a prolonged decline of the dollar", "affects the economic stability of future generations", etc.

Let's face it:  America has been in decline since the year 2001, the early part of which we were perhaps at the apex of influence, economic prosperity, personal freedoms, and opportunity for growth.  Unfortunately, 9/11and the administration at that quickly ended this period of relative prosperity.

I wouldn't be surprised to be back in Singapore by next year's end.

Anonymous's picture

wrong. it didn't start in 2001. try 1971 and nixon going off gold. all the supposed growth since then was credit fueled and now that is is being taken away we are going back to the mean. the economic prosperity you speak about was an illusion that was never sustainable if people weren't using mortgage equity as an ATM.

Anonymous's picture

Warren is pretty clear in her presentations that middle class take-out has been happening for 30-40 years, most famously comparing 1970 middle class family to 2002/2003/2004 family in her research.

Warren is not a revolutionary, but she is also a rare establishment insider that just calls the facts as she sees them and understands, but her bankruptcy research, how tough it is to stay or move up to middle class-dom in US, she gets how regular people are not the problem but the victims, victims that need to stand back and fight the system that has taken them out, rather than blaming themselves as individual failures and taking it on the chin quietly.

BobPaulson's picture

I'd say she should run for president but I know what would happen to her if she did, so it's great to see her doing what too few have the guts to do.

Anonymous's picture

It would not be a single shooter. Keep eyes on the grassy knoll.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

And you should be scared Elizabeth, be very scared. Because this process started decades ago (some would point to Nixon dumping the Gold standard or even earlier) and it won't stop until there are two classes in the world, the upper class and everyone else.

chet's picture

I would argue we're already there.  Does the top 0.5 percent really see the middle class and poverty class as two seperate entities?  Does it treat them any differently?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

No they really don't treat them differently BUT the middle class still controls some wealth. Wealth that (it just so happens) was in the process of being transferred to their children by way of inheritance.

What a great time to intercept it (or greatly diminish it's value) don't you think?

Cheeky Bastard's picture

she is the part of the establishment, and i dont rate her high enough; i have met people with only elementary school diploma who were saying and are saying the same things she is. but smart lady and with a lot of balls talking that way about her own.

just.a.guy's picture

Is she tenured?  probably so if she's speaking like that.  Tenured professors are not "part of the establishment" -- they have transcended it.

Surely you wouldn't consider someone like Noam Chomsky of MIT as "part of the establishment"?

Cheeky Bastard's picture

i have no idea is she tenured or not; but it certainly can not be good for any school where she teaches for her to talk like that. don't get me wrong, i like the people who say fuck you to the very same system that enabled them to be where they are, but i think she is still a part of it, and thinks in the borders of the system which she is a par of. As for Chomsky; he just doesn't give a shit, and does so in the best way possible. 

Miles Kendig's picture

Cheeky - Warren is just Harvard's enfeebled token to counter the effects of Harvard Business School and its alumni. She may have a megaphone bless her, but she will never get the votes or the to the wall backing. Never from the current system that is.

TumblingDice's picture

Her voice is just soft enough so that you are desensitized to what she is saying while at the same time you'd rather go to sleep instead of doing anything about it.

Somebody has to say this on a public venue, but I would much prefer if Arnold Schwarzenegger someone like Jack Bauer would yell it at the top of their lungs on a Sunday morning talk show than her.


Max Keiser is the closest we have so far in terms of that. He doesn't pull punches and if he can just get on the Daily Show or something...

ZerOhead's picture

Max has substance, presence and delivery.

Love him or hate him you just don't forget him.

agrotera's picture

anyone preferring truth to lies has to love and adore Max Keiser!!!

Anonymous's picture

'but after a while they should stop waving that diploma and actually do something meaningful... '

or even do nothing because it seems more than a coincidence that so many well edcuated people have been at the top of the pyramid these last thirty years.

SilverIsKing's picture

Agreed.  I've worked with and hired some Harvard and HBS graduates and can't reconcile their performance with their degrees.  They all do have a common attribute and that is the ability to talk a great game.  Some just give off a lot of hot air.

Anonymous's picture

I'd say the common attribute is 'expectation'.

The 'talking a great game' bit is certainly not uniformly distributed.

Anonymous's picture

"to talk a great game. Some just give off a lot of hot air."


In her 7+ minutes I didn't here her say anything.

Yes, she talked about being "concerned and worried" and some generalities about "the middle class."

I'm in agreement with just about all of her generalities (although, admittedly, I have to pause every time the name "Michael Moore" was referenced to - as if he was someone worth quoting or referencing), but I kept waiting for her to say something specific or would address all of the worries and concerns that she has for the middle class.

Did I miss it?

sgt_doom's picture

No offense, Cheeky, but you are way out of the loop on this.  The corps have, over the preceding thirty years, specifically endowed sooo many chairs --- along with strings on who gets tenured to such professorial positions, that the entire academic system is gamed as well as the markets (just check out the backgrounds of so many of the econ and biz chairs---and seen how many belong to the Bretton Woods Committee [the most anti-worker, anti-union international lobbyist group for the ultra-rich], along with Peterson Institute [formerly Institute for International Economics], and have done stints at various of the "stink" tanks: Brookings, Cato, Heritage, Aspen, etc., etc.).

While I admire Prof. Warren, she is the odd man/woman out, and as for Chomsky and Zinn, you will find there are specific subjects they are completely mainstream on and will never, ever touch (as in JFK's assassination, 9/11, etc.).  No heroes there with those two.  Whenever anyone (like that fellow in Colorado) who touches one of those off-limits subjects, tenure or no, they get canned. 

Just check back to the history of Thorsten Veblen, and other econ geniuses.  Nope, Chomsky a putz!

And as for Harvard, and those other fraudulent Ivy crud, they swarm with Bretton Woods Committee profs teaching globlaization, offshoring, leveraged buyouts and becoming members of the Predator Class, so they can stick it to the Under Class (which are the only two classes they believe to exist).

Anonymous's picture

you got a blog?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The powers that be feel that people like Warren have utility in our criminal economic system. Warren gives hope to we-the-people and she helps us to delude ourselves into thinking that maybe they will finally stop the thieving. Or at least that Warren will rally the cops and make them stop. Of course, we all know they really won't stop.

But for the vast unwashed herds of sheeple throwing beer cans at the TV when they hear about the monster GS bonuses, Warren is there speaking truth to power (but being ignored by the powerful because that's the game) and igniting hope that someone will save them from the wolves.

Yes, that's cynical but show me a reality different from what I just described and I'll listen. Good luck.

SWRichmond's picture

I believe you are realistic, not cynical.  "Hope for Change" by keeping faith with the system; how many times will Americans fall for it?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Americans will fall for it right up to the bitter end because the average person doesn't want to give up the American myth and deal with reality.

Why even try to enslave us when we willingly enslave ourselves.

Cheeky Bastard's picture

Buffett is a demagogue, a poster boy for the simulacrum called the American Dream. He is everything that is hyper-real, that is pumped with steroids of PR, he is the epitome of the belief that hard work pays of ( hint; it does not, his daddy helped him,and helped him quite a lot ). Buffett is a greedy pig ready to destroy lives, to destroy every single breathing thing just to keep his position. And he does all that wearing a 200 $ suit, with a smile on his face, wrapped in the packaging of a " self-made billionaire " .

calgaryschmooze's picture

Kinda like telling the public that "the terists hate us because of our freedoms", but when in actuality, it's "the terists hate us because we're largely a bunch of assholes to most of the world"?



Miles Kendig's picture

Until denial meets the hard unforgiving wall called objective circumstances on an individual bases.

Anonymous's picture

Assuming that's the case, then if she really wanted to create change she would stop talking truth to power and start talking it to the middle class. i.e....get the people fired up, keep them fired up, and create action that established power can't ignore. Wow, I sound like a revolutionary...lol

[x] * 29 = 870....(time to pull out the calculator...)

sgt_doom's picture

And that is exactly why Elizabeth Warren has absolutely no power in the position she is in (chair of the congressional oversight panel on disbursement of TARP funds), so she can say publicly what she wants, while scumball Barney Franks, forever on their payroll, will then pass a "derivatives regulatory" bill which does absolutely nothing against the most damanging of derivatives and securitization processes.

Anonymous's picture

She's a prof at Harvard, and they did fire Larry Summers, after all. I have no idea how she voted.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I was noticing a very subtle change in the tone of the news the past week or so. But yesterday after the 10,000 DOW close (when GS reported) and again today, it was like a light switch was flipped.

Am I the only one seeing this or are others picking this up? I notice that GS and friends are down on the "good" GS earnings. That's a tell in my book.

What say one and all?

buzzsaw99's picture

Insiders can begin selling again next month, could be front running by smart money traders. Profit taking is always a good idea when the kids are running the candy store.

chet's picture

They need to start some sort of panic once the Fed stops buying treasuries.

But sorry SEC, your plan to add transparency and reduce risk in money markets runs counter to the Fed's plan to dump MBS there.  SEC vs. Fed, I wonder who will win that battle?

jm's picture

She is irrelevant.  Who cares what she says?  Certainly not the people pulling the strings.

This is how politics always works, just easier to see when things are coming apart at the seams.

Please figure out that no gov't ever looked out for anything but itself.  Then teach this to your sons as soon as they can walk.

Anonymous's picture

i care what she says.

maybe it's a lack of confidence on my part. but it's helpful to have folks in positions of power that see what i see, and then speak out.

i agree the other powers that be disregard her, and that government is a self perpetuating institution that cares most about its growth, funding and survival.

however, it's good to know that you have allies that will speak up for the home team in the middle (the forgotten man)class.

Assetman's picture

Your statement is certainly true today, in that EW is obviously irrelevant in the eyes of those currently pulling the strings.

However, if/when the giant Ponzi sceme really unwinds and things get out of hand, people will revolt-- and they will be demanding new, responsible leadership.

In that scenario (of course... debate the plausibility if you will) it will be Elizabth Warren that takes a number at the front of the line.

jm's picture

I sincerely wish you are right and I am wrong.

sgt_doom's picture

But the giant Ponzi scheme has unwound, and now all the news coming out about the details is predominantly fabricated.  The three most important recent details: the BLS study demonstrating how no actual job creation has taken place in the private sector from Jul 1999 to Jul 2009, the ninth consecutive month of rising unemployment in ALL 372 cities monitored by the BLS, and the ninth consecutive month of falling payroll salaries/hours in ALL 372 cities monitored by the BLS.

It is, as intelligent ones have stated previously, not a jobless recovery (since the last Recovery with jobs was back in 1988) but a jobless economy.

Anonymous's picture

On point sgt_doom, today the BLS says there were 1.47 million more full time workers in NSA Sept 2009 than Sept 1999. Not very good considering the increase in the work force population, maybe we will all be volunteers. As you say government jobs seem to be up.

MinnesotaNice's picture

Actually I believe she is quite relevant and resonates with the middle class... she is a lone voice and when when she speaks she has a strong message that is very different from the talking points that were handed out to all members of the administration, treasury, and federal reserve back in 2008. 

In fact, her message is so strong that no one seems to want to take it on and factually dispute it... no octobox's on CNBC with her involved.  

Additionally the MSM are giving her coverage... and I think over the next 2 years she and her message will become 'the message'.   

JR's picture

MinnesotaNice, excellent post.  Truth is never irrelevant, and error does not deserve the support I hear.

It has often been said that the primary stumbling block for third world countries to develop into developing countries is their lack of a strong middle class.  They have their rich, usually individuals connected to the rulers and, of course, they have vast numbers of poor.  But the middle class, that would be the backbone of the development of strong institutions for community development, education, improved standards for labor and above all an emphasis on laws protecting the growth of enterprise and the family, is missing.  In America the middle class is not the individuals throwing beer cans at the TV.  Rather, America's middle class was the push westward from the Appalachians to building the strongest society in the history of the world, and it was the foundation for our economic miracle.

Everything Elizabeth Warren said in the video is true and her most critical warnings affect the weakening of America’s middle class; translation, the weakening of America’s community structure, family adhesion and standards for a just and equitable society.  For people to disagree with her warnings on the basis of her rank or credentials is unfounded.

MinnesotaNice's picture

Your words are so true...

"It has often been said that the primary stumbling block for third world countries to develop into developing countries is their lack of a strong middle class... the middle class, that would be the backbone of the development of strong institutions for community development, education, improved standards for labor and above all an emphasis on laws protecting the growth of enterprise and the family, is missing." 

I agree... very good perspective...


cougar_w's picture

Imagine for a moment that she's not trying to engage the ones pulling the strings, but the rest of us.

She's saying to the middle class; you are doomed.

And she's saying this as one who is not part of the middle class.

The usual attitude is "let them eat cake". So this is different.

Now, one could make the point that she's doing this out of altruism; she really cares.

But it's just as likely she's doing if for selfish reasons; she likes things the way they are.

News flash: Everyone does.

Even the elites like things the way they are. The problem is that when the middle class implodes (as it is) and vanishes (as it shortly will) then the elites are back to an old game they know quite well but that never really panned out for them. It's called "feudalism". The middle class always was the merchant class -- the ones that produce real value -- and without the merchant class the elites don't have much to work with. They steal from each other, inter-marry, quarrel over lineage, and essentially spin their wheels.

Of course they want to save the middle class. Without their host, the parasite is dead.