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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) took two Bloomberg TV hosts to school on Wednesday after they suggested that Social Security was the root of an “entitlements crisis” that was driving the nation’s budget deficit.

In an interview on Market Makers, host Stephanie Ruhle confronted the Massachusetts Democrat for her recent call to increase Social Security benefits.

“When I think about imbalance, I think about our children,” Ruhle said. “In the next 10 years, between Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security spending, it’s going to grow to $780 billion. Our spending on children is $20 billion. Are you not worried about kids? Why should these senior citizens be getting more money?”

“Of course, I’m worried about our children and I want to see more investment in our children,” Warren replied. “But we cannot ignore the fact that we have a retirement crisis in the United States right now.”

“Social Security is not driving our deficit,” the senator continued. “Social Security is a system that pays for itself. If we did absolutely nothing to Social Security, we would make payments for more than 20 years exactly at this level. And then they would drop by roughly by about 25 percent and pay forever into the future… We can make modest adjustments now in Social Security and make sure it will be there to pay on into the future. And if we make some more adjustments, we could see an increase in Social Security benefits for those who count on it.”

Warren pointed out that two out of three seniors relied on Social Security for food and housing so it was the last thing that should be cut during a retirement crisis.

Co-host Erik Schatzker, however, insisted that the U.S. was also facing an “entitlements crisis.”

“Social Security is not creating a deficit in our budget right now or in the future,” Warren declared. “So, let’s just pull that one out of it, because that is not a conversation.”

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Elizabeth Warren “No. That is just wrong. Look at the history. From 1797 to 1933, the American banking system crashed about every fifteen years. In 1933 we put good reforms in place, for which GS (Glass Steagall) was the centerpiece. And from 1933 to the early 1980′s, that’s a fifty year period, we didn’t have any of that, none. We kept the system steady and secure. And it was only as we started deregulating…you start hitting the S&L crisis, and what did we do, we deregulated some more. And then you hit long term capital management at the end of the 90′s, and what did we do as a country, this country continued to deregulate more. And then we hit the big crash in 2008. You are not going to defend the proposition that regulation can never work if it did work.”

Watch Liz Warren School Some CNBC Doofuses With Facts ‘N’ History

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Sen Elizabeth Warren “This is the day we remember St Patrick, who legend has it, drove the snakes out of Ireland.  Unfortunately, too many of them went to Wall Street.  Where are you now when we really need you St Pat?”

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Seven banking federal regulators from places like the Security and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission testified in front of the group, which oversees Wall Street. Lawmakers pressed the witnesses on their efforts to crack down on these institutions following the financial crisis.

When given the floor, Elizabeth Warren cut straight to the point by asking the one lingering question on many minds. “The question I really want to ask is about how tough you are–about how much leverage you really have,” Warren began. “Tell me a little bit about the last few times you’ve taken the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street all the way to trial.”

The witnesses testifying seemed like they had been given a pop quiz by the former Harvard professor; no regulator could remember the last time they took a Wall Street bank to trial. Their answers, which were under oath, didn’t seem to get a passing grade from the senator.

“We do not have to bring people to trial,” declared Thomas Curry, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Warren shot back, “I appreciate that you say you don’t have to bring them to trial. My question is, when did you bring them to trial?”

Elisse Walter, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, told Warren, “I will have to get back to you with specific information.”

Even after the bailouts and global financial collapse several years ago, Warren argued banks still “don’t have much incentive to follow the law.”

“There are district attorneys and U.S. attorneys who are out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds, and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it,” said Warren. “I’m really concerned that ‘Too Big Too Fail’ has become ‘Too Big For Trial.’ That just seems wrong to me.”

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Progressives who have any doubt where Mitt Romney, Sen Scott Brown (R-MA) and their supporters stand, Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren said at Netroots, should consider: Romney wants to repeal financial reform, says that people who are concerned about income inequality are envious and claims that corporations are people.

“No, Mitt, corporations are not people,” Warren said, to applause. “People have hearts, they have kids, they get jobs, they get sick, they love, they cry, they dance, they live and they die. Learn the difference.”

Posted June 10, 2012 by tmusicfan in Politics, Quote of the Day

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