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tv   Elizabeth Warren CNN Presidential Town Hall  CNN  March 18, 2019 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

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robert mueller to come out with an amazing report. we're going to have to just beat him. >> the cnn presidential town hall we lith he business -- elizabeth warren hosted by jake tapper starts now. good evening. welcome to cnn democratic presidential town hall with senator elizabeth warren of massachusetts. i'm jake tapper. we're live at jackson state university. a historically black university founded in 1877 for the first major event in the state of mississippi. we're here with senator warren. a former special needs teacher
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and law professor. if elected she would make history as the first female president of the united states of america. she'll take questions from democrats and independents that say they plan to participate in the democratic primary and caucuses. please welcome senator elizabeth warren. >> how are you, good to see you. have a seat. >> oh, this is fun. >> so you're a former law professor. feel good to be back on the campus. >> always. absolutely. >> which is more fun? teaching law students? teaching on a campus or working with senators in the u.s. senate? >> teaching. are you kidding? much more fun. >> i thought you might give that answer. let's start with our first town hall question. the first one comes from christopher, he's a doctoral
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candidate in public health here at jackson state university. >> good evening, my question is mississippi is a deeply red state and one of the poorest states in the country. yet many white poor and working class citizens continue to vote against their economic interests. what message, if any, do you have that may resinate with them that may encourage them to vote for you? >> so thank you for the question christopher. this is how i see it. washington is working great. it's working fabulously for giant drug companies. it's just not working for people that are trying to get a prescription filled. [ applause ] >> it's working great for big oil companies that want to drill everywhere. it's just not working for people that see climate change bearing down upon us.
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it's working great for giant financial institutions and for payday lenders. it's just not working great for people that are living paycheck to paycheck. i'm tired of washington. that works for the rich and the powerful. i want a washington that works for the rest of america. that's why i'm in this fight. and i believe on that that democrats, independents, and republicans, they know a scam when they see it and they see a washington working for those guys, i think they're ready to get in the fight and get a washington and country that works for the rest of america. thank you. >> so our next question, she's a supporter of yours and spanish language translator from jackson. >> good evening. since the election of donald trump the number of hate crimes has increased and white
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supremacists have become more embolden online and in the public. what are your plans to unite the country? >> it starts with the fact that we have to recognize the threat posed by white nationalism. white supremacists pose a threat to the united states like any other terrorist group. like isis, like al qaeda and leadership starts at the top. that means you have to call it out. and then when you call it out you have to use the tools available to you. that means get the justice department when they break the law to go after them with full prosecution. that's what i can do. thank you.
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>> she's a graduate student at jackson state university. >> thank you, georgia. >> thank you for taking my question. i am an african american female with -- i'm an african american female with 5 beautiful adult children and 10 grandchildren. >> oh, goreorgia, count your blessings every day. >> please, please, describe to me what a public apology for 400 years of free labor in the south, especially mississippi, will look like in the african american community in the new election. >> all right, thank you. >> in the new administration. >> thank you. >> so america was founded on
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principles of liberty and freedom and on the backs of slave labor. this is a stain on america and we're not going to fix that. we're not going to change that until we address it head on, directly. and make no mistake. it's not just the original founding. it's just what happened generation after generation. the impact of discrimination handed down from one to the next means that today in america, because housing discrimination and employment discrimination, we live in a world where the average white family has $100, the average black family has about $5. so i believe it's time to start the national full blown conversation about reparations
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in this country. and that means i support the bill in the house to appoint a congressional panel of experts. people that are studying this and talk about different ways we may be able to do it and make a report back to congress so that we can as a nation do what's right and begin to heal. >> if i could just follow up on georgia's question, you said you're open to a conversation about reparations to the descendants of slaves and native americans? might that include direct payments? direct transfers of money? >> there's a lot of ways to think about the way they should be formed. her question started with the frame of an apology and national
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recognition. we have a lot of experts around the country. a lot of activists that have a whole lot of different approaches to it and i think the best we can do right now, i love the idea of this congressional commission, let's bring people together and let's open that conversation as americans. let's see what ideas people want to put on the table and let's talk them through. because i have to tell you, ignoring the problem is not working. he's a student that founded a labor rights group. he has a question about medicare for all. >> senator warren, thank you so much for being here this evening and your tireless advocacy for universal health care. as a supporter of universal health care and advocate for organized labor i do worry about the elimination of private health insurance. that would eliminate the employer based plans that so many unions have advocated for?
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can you explain how medicare for all would be better for workers than simply improving the affordable care act? >> that's a good question. let's start with our statement that we should make every time we start to talk about changes in our health care and that is health care is a basic human right and we fight for basic human rights. >> then let's put these in order. let's all remember when we're talking about what is possible, let's start where we are and the difference between democrats and republicans. right now, democrats are trying to figure out how to expand health care coverage at the lowest possible cost so everybody is covered. republicans right this minute are out there trying to repeal the affordable care act. they have a lawsuit pending down
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in texas where they're trying to roll it back, what they couldn't do with a vote they're trying to do with the courts. hhs every day is doing what they can to undermine the affordable care act. so when we're talking about health care in america right now, the first thing we need to be talking about is defend the affordable care act. protection under the affordable care act. then, the low hanging fruit, let's bring down the cost of prescription drugs all across this country. we have lots of ways we can do that. we can import drugs from canada where the safety standards are the same. that will cut costs dramatically. we will negotiate the prices under health care and that will cut costs dramatically and i have a proposal to bring down
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the cost on generic drugs which could be about 90% of all prescriptions. so let's get the cost down and then you know what you're going to hear, we need to hold insurance companies accountable. and then when we talk about medicare for all, there's a lot of different pathways and what we're all looking for is the lowest cost way to make sure that everybody gets covered and some folks say let's lower the age. that helps cover people that are most at risk. and everybody under 30 is covered. let employees buy into the medicare plans. for me, what is key, is we get
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everybody at the table on this. that labor has hit the table. that people that have to buy on their own, everybody comes to the table together. and make sure that we're going to get 100% coverage in this country at the lowest possible cost for everyone. that's our job. >> so if i could just follow up a little on jay's question, so you are a co-sponsor of bernie sanders medicare for all bill and there's a lot of different paths to universal coverage but his bill that you co-sponsors would essentially eliminate primary insurance. >> he has a runway for that. i think we get everybody together and that's what it is. we'll decide. i also co-sponsored other bills. including expanding medicaid but what's important to me about this is that we never lose sight
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of what the center is so the center is about making sure that every single person in this country gets the coverage they need at a price they can afford. >> theoretically though, there could be a role for private insurance companies? >> there could. or a temporary role. even bernies plan has a runway before it gets there. it's a big complex system and we have to land this in a way that doesn't do any harm. everybody has to stay covered. it's critical. >> let me bring in kerry johnson. >> hello and thank you for coming. >> i'm glad to be here. >> building a wall will not prevent foreigners from crossing on u.s. land. what will you do, what will you put in place to control the
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influx of migrants. >> so let me just start where i think of our whole immigration policy and that is we need to have policies on immigration that are consistent with our values. we are a country that is built on our differences. that is our strength. not our weakness. and when people come to the united states because they are fleeing terror in central america, they fear for their lives, then we have a moral responsibility to listen. and to be there if i can just take a minute to say on this one, i went down to the border last year when the word first
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began to come out about children taken away from their mothers and i want you all to envision this. think of a big amazon warehouse, only dirty and smelled bad and when i walked in on the left were cages. maybe 10 feet wide, 40 feet deep, a toilet back in the corner. one after another after another crammed full of men. >> on the right, one after another after another crammed full of women and then cages with nothing but little girls in it. and over there, nothing but little boys. that's not who we are. that is not the country we want to be. and an immigration system that is administered so it's not able to tell the difference between a
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criminal, a terrorist and a 12-year-old little girl is an immigration system that is not only not keeping us safer, it does not reflect our values. i will not support the building of the wall for the administration itself. people have already said this is not about security. this is not how we're going to make ourselves safer. the wall that is proposed now is a monument to hate and division. we are a better country than that. thank you. >> just to follow up. so the specific question was what will you put in place to control the influx of migrants. >> and i should hit both of those. you're exactly right. one thing that we can do is remember all the tools in the tool box and that is, when
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there's a problem in central america, because the gangs have taken over because the local officials can't manage, then that's not a point at which we should be cutting our aid. and let's help people stay where they are safely. that's a much kinder way to do it. >> i want to bring in a high school history teacher from jackson. >> hi, how are you, paul? >> good evening. welcome to mississippi. >> thank you. >> conservatives are using the socialist label as a means of attack. so how and to what degree with your policies encourage self-reliance offering financially challenged a hand up but not a handout. >> so, you know, this one really -- this is just a remi
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reminder that folks can say whatever they want but the reality is at least for me, i believe in markets and i believe in the value that we get out of markets. but it has to be markets with rules. market without rules is theft. but a market with rules, a market with rules. a market with a cop on the beat to enforce those rules that's how it is that small businesses get a chance to start and grow. that's how it is that employees get to move from one place to another. that's how it is that we get new products. i'm a supporter of markets with rules. and what's wrong in washington,
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the big folks, they don't want rules. these giant corporations, they want to be able to run over whoever they want to run over. if that means run over their own employees, they'll do it. if that means run over their customers, they'll do it. if that means running over their local communities, they will do it. so the way i see this is we not only need a government that is on our side with these rules, but we need big systemic change and that means that we need more balance out there in the marketplace. >> and i'll tell you a couple of ways that we can do that. we need for employees to have more power and we need to make it easier to join a union and unions need to have more power once people have joined. unions built america's middle class. unions will rebuild america's middle class.
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>> we should note, you're here in mississippi and focussing on housing for people that are struggling. you have a plan to tackle that. you say it's going to help lower rent. how does that work? >> so i have a proposal to build about 3 million new housing units across america. anybody in here worried about the rise price of housing? that's pretty much everybody, right? the idea is that we need to make a real investment in housing. in the same way that we think about health care as a basic human right. having a decent and safe place to live should be a human -- a basic human right. and the squeeze is everywhere. it's the poor, it's the working poor, it's the working class, it's the middle class, it even
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moves up into the upper middle class that people feel squeezed on housing because we just don't have enough affordable housing across this country. so i believe we should make a big investment in housing and by the way, if we do that, independent analysis says that we would lower rents across this country by 10% and that's across the board and we create an opportunity for more people to become buyers. so housing is important and if i can, i want to tell you about one other part of this. this bill also addresses the black-white gap in housing. that comes from generation after generation. not just a passive discrimination but realize that into the 1960s in america, the federal government was subsidizing the purchase of
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homes for white families and discriminating against black families. that's red lining. this bill tackles that head on and it says for people who are living in formally red lined areas, there's going to be special assistance for first time home buyers and people that got cheated in the run up to the housing crash and lost their homes. some special assistance for folks to be able to get that first home and to start building the generation after generation of wealth. it's a step in the right direction. >> we're going to take a quick break. we'll be back with more from senator elizabeth warren. we're live in jackson, mississippi, stay with us. to be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing it's best to make you everybody else...
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welcome back. we are live on the campus of jackson state university. we're going to go to the questioners in a second but before we do, i do want to ask a little bit about your personal story because voters nationwide are getting to know you. you grew up in oklahoma. >> i did. >> you talked about how your family stood at the brink -- one person from oklahoma. you talk about how your family stood at the brink of financial disaster through a good part of your childhood. how has that shaped your life in the senate? >> i'll tell you about that. i have three older brothers. they all went off and joined the military. that was their ticket to america's middle class. i was was the late in life baby. my mother used to call me the surprise and about the time i was in middle school, my daddy had a heart attack and it was serious.
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thought he was going to die. the church neighbors brought covered dishes. it was a scary time. he survived but he couldn't go back to work. we lost our family station wagon and at night i would hear my parents talk and that's where i learned words like mortgage and foreclosure and i remember the day that i walked into my parents bedroom and laying out on the bed is the dress. and some people here will know the dress. it's the one that only comes out for weddings, funerals and graduations and my mother is in her slip and she is stocking feet and she's pacing back and forth and she's crying. she is saying we will not lose this house. we will not lose this house. we will not lose this house. she was 50 years old. she had never worked outside the home. she was truly terrified. and i watched her while she
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finally just pulled it together, put that dress on, put on her high heels and blew her nose and walked to the sears and got a minimum wage job and that minimum wage job saved our house, but more importantly, it saved our family. anybody who wants to know me, just heard this story. but here's the thing for me now. for a long time i used to think that was just a story about my mother. how when you get scared you reach down and you find what you have to find and you bring it up. and then years later i came to understand that it's the story of millions of americans who, it doesn't matter if you're scared, when you got to do something to take care of the people you love, you reach down and you find it and you pull it up.
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[ applause ] >> and then it was years later that i came to understand it was also a story about government. because when this happened to my family, the minimum wage in america would support a family of three. it would take care of a mortgage, utilities and put food on the table. today in america, a full time minimum wage job will not keep a momma and a baby out of poverty. i am in this fight because i believe that is wrong. [ applause ] >> for me, there's the whole story of why i'm in this fight. washington once asked the question, at least on minimum wage, what does it take to support a family? to get a little toe in the door?
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today, i hear them in washington. they ask what will improve the profitability of giant multinational banks? well i want a government that doesn't work for giant multinational corporations. i want one that works for little families like mine. >> she works for a defense contracting firm here in mississippi. >> good evening. >> do you have any plans of relieving federally funded overwhelming student loan debt burdens that many middle class and poor individuals obtained those loans to create a better future but are having issues doing that? >> latoya the answer is yes. i have plans to reduce student loan debt. let me just start there. but you know, there's parts of this that are so personal. i had one dream since i was in
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second grade. just one thing i wanted to be. all three of my brothers went off and joined the military and god bless them, do you know what i wanted to be? i wanted to be a public schoolteacher from the same i was in second grade. can we hear it for america's public schoolteachers? yeah. but you have to have a four year diploma to do that. but at the time i graduated high school my family didn't have the money for college application, much less to send me off to school and i have a long and twisty story, got a scholarship. then i fell in love, got married, the first time. and i thought i had lost it all. i thought i had given up on that dream. and i found a commuter college, public college, that cost $50 a
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semester. and that was my ticket. and i became a special needs teacher. i got to live my dream. so let me just say, i believe in what we can do through education. but if america wants to be a stronger country, america wants to be a country of real opportunity for everyone, then that means that every kid has a right to get an education without getting crushed by student loan debt, period. >> while we're on the subject -- while we're on the subject of education, our next question has to do with the place we're standing at right now, a historically black university. >> being a graduate of a
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historically black college and university. we're the first to lose funding or have budget cuts. how would you make it a priority that we receive more funding and being able to compete with non-historically black colleges and universities? >> great question. >> i believe in hbcs. i'm the proud recipient of a diploma granted to me at morgan state university. as part of their commencement address. let me put it this way. what we have to do is we have to be willing to invest more in our colleges and universities across the board. we have to bring down the cost of an education and for the schools that are serving the
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students who often come from first time to come to college for families that struggle more, that means we have to double down and double down a second time to make sure that they have the resources that they need. it's not enough for somebody to stand here and talk about it generally. i want you to know, i get this one. right now, in america, african american students are more likely to have to borrow money to go to college. they're more likely to borrow more money and they're more likely to have trouble paying off that debt when they leave college. that's a national disgrace and part of dealing with our student loan debt needs to focus on that specifically. so thank you. that's a good question. >> i want to bring in brennan. >> good evening, senator.
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how do you respond to people that think the way you handled the question of your native american heritage was tone deaf and indicative of a lack of presidential tact? >> i grew up in oklahoma. i learned about my family from my family. and based on that. that's who i am. i do the best i can with it. there was an investigation. nothing i ever did or my family played any role in any job i ever got. i have now done 38 town halls in massachusetts last year and this is my 32nd town hall since january and what i discovered is
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that people care a lot about what's happening to their lives every single day and what touches them like housing and education and health care. that's why i'm in this fight and i'm going to stay in this fight and i tell you this. i'm going to fight it from the heart every inch of the way. i'll do my best. [ applause ] >> the next question is from a legal advocate and community organizer here in jackson. she also happens to be the sister and former campaign manager of jackson's current mayor. her late father was also once the mayor of this city as well. >> all right. thank you. >> good to see you. >> thank you for being here. welcome to jackson, mississippi. yeah. so voter disenfranchisement is real. in mississippi there are 23 felonies that once convicted ban a person from voting for the
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rest of their lives, literally limiting their citizenship and right to democracy. moreover, access to voting is limited by arcaic voter registration processes and limited voting formats. how will you expand voter rights to the formerly incarcerated and non-excuse early voting. >> all right. [ applause ] >> great question. but can i go you one bigger? and that is, i believe we need a constitutional amendment that protects the right to vote for every american citizen and to make sure that vote gets counted. we need to put some federal muscle behind that and we need to repeal every one of the voter suppression laws that is out there right now. and i'll tell you one more.
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we need to make sure that every vote counts. and you know, i want to push that right here in mississippi. because i think this is an important point. you know, come a general election, presidential candidates don't come to places like mississippi. yeah. they also don't come to places like california and massachusetts, right? because we're not the battleground states. well, my view is that every vote matters. and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting and that means get rid of the electoral college and everybody --
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[ applause ] >> everybody. [ applause ] >> i want to -- >> i think everybody ought to have to come and ask for your vote. what do you think? yeah. >> i want to bring in hannah williams. she's hoping to go to graduate school. >> hi. >> hi, hannah. >> recently many leaders in our nation have taken a stance on whether or not confederate symbols should remain in the public eye in many of our cities, towns and parks. as a presidential hopeful, do you have any plans in addressing the removal or lack there oppenheim the reminders of this nation's dark past or any plans on preserving the nation's history in a way that explains it in a more educational sense versus showing praise to the losing side? >> all right. you put it right.
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>> i would support moving confederate celebrations from federal lands and putting them in museums where they belong. that's right. thank you. >> let me follow up if i can because mississippi is the only state in the country that still has the confederate battle emblem on the state flag. do you think mississippi should adopt a new flag? >> yes. >> that was the shortest answer i've ever gotten from a politician in my life. we'll be right back with more with senator elizabeth warren. >> all right. with advil liqui-gels, what stiff joints? what bad back? advil is... relief that's fast. strength that lasts.
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welcome back. we're here with senator elizabeth warren. we're live in jackson state
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university in mississippi. in 2018, jackson, mississippi had it highest homicide rate in more than 20 years with 84 murders, according to local media, it's among the highest murder rates in the country. on that topic, i want to bring in an accountant for the office of the state treasurer. >> hi. with jackson, mississippi having a very high homicide rate will there be any revisions to gun control to help ensure less killings throughout the metropolitan city? >> so here's how i look at this. laws should reflect our values. laws are about our morals. and right now, across this country we lose on average seven children and teenagers every single day to gun violence. just pause for a minute and think, if we were losing seven children every single day to some mysterious virus, we would be pulling out all the stops to
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say what can we do to change that? where's the medicine we need to develop? how can we respond? what do we need to do? but instead, with gun violence, right now we don't do anything. not even the most sensible kinds of things. background checks. at the federal level. no fly, no buy. like if you're on the terrorist wat watchlist, maybe you shouldn't be able to buy a gun. weapons of war do not belong on our streets. [ applause ] >> no bump stocks to make it easier to kill. no. there's so much that we could do to improve safety for our children and for all of us. things that people agree with who are gun owners and things that people agree with that are not gun owners and we have to do them at a federal level.
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because even if you change your laws in mississippi, if they don't change their laws in the other states, someone can just go put it in the back of the pick up and come on down. so this is a national problem. goes back to the question i have been talking about, who does government work for? right now it works for the healthy and the well connected and that means we have a federal government being held hostage by the nra. i believe we can fight back and we can change that together. >> let me bring in samantha manning that works here at jackson state university as an administrative assistant in the disabilities services department. >> hi, samantha. >> hello. as a mother of black boys i am constantly reminded of a judicial system where the scales are often weighed against them and those that have sworn to protect them fear them and are
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most often ruled justified in excessive actions against other children that look like them. as president, how would you address the concerns that i and many other parents like me have when it comes to protecting our children and restoring our faith in the judicial system? >> so thank you very much. [ applause ] >> i start with the principle, the four words carved above the united states supreme court. equal justice under law. that's what i believe in but i understand today in america we don't have that. that's right. race matters and we need to call it out. now, i'd like to follow some of
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the very practical efforts that barack obama, president obama, put into place when he had his justice department going after the police departments that were violating the rights of young black men and women across this country. [ applause ] i know there's much to criticize this administration about. but the very fact that the justice department under president obama had worked with police departments around the country -- and they were not finished, but had worked with, and some had already reached the point of signing consent decrees, of starting new training, of trying to put themselves on a better path. there are many good people in law enforcement who want this to work and want to make it work if they have the right resources, if they have the right
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opportunitie opportunities, if they can do community policing. that's where president obama was leading us, and this administration pulled that out of the justice department, reversed it, and that makes the world a lot more dangerous for everyone. i would reverse that and go where president obama went. thank you. [ applause ] >> i want to bring in mary crump. she's a retired nurse from jackson. mary? >> thank you, senator warren, for being here. how do you plan to make sure the extremely rich pay their fair taxes? >> whoa! [ applause ] so, look, we need big structural change in this country, and that means the kind of -- let's just admit it. when you've got a government that works for the rich and it's not working nearly as well for anyone else, that's corruption, and we need to call it out plain and simple. [ applause ]
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so the first thing we need to do is we need to attack that corruption head-on. i have the biggest anti-corruption bill since watergate. big problem, you got to have a big bill to deal with it. now, it's got a lot of pieces to it, but the main point is to beat back on the influence of money because that's how they keep getting this government, getting this country to work for them. so, for example, my bill says we're going to end lobbying as we know it. [ applause ] lock the revolving door between wall street and washington. i'll give you one more. everyone who runs for federal office ought to have to put their taxes online. everyone. [ applause ]
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so part one, we got to deal with the corruption head-on, but let me give you a part two. i was talking earlier about we got to rewrite the rules in this economy. and part of that is putting more power back in the hands of workers. unions, that's one way to do it. i've got an accountable capitalism bill that says on the big fortune 500 companies, that we're going to have employees also sit on the board of directors and help make decisions. [ applause ] but there's one more we've got to talk about, and that is my ultra millionaires tax. so the idea is on the truly great fortunes, $50 million and above, we start charging 2% a year on just that 50 millionth and first dollar and on up. 2% a year. by the way, anybody in here a
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homeowner? you've been paying wealth taxes for a long time. they're just called property taxes. i just want to include the rembrandt and the diamonds in the property taxes. [ applause ] so i'm going to put a wealth tax in place, and i just want to talk to you for one minute about how that restructures our whole economy. we get a 2% tax on the 75,000 richest families in this country, we would have enough money to provide universal child care, universal pre-k, universal pre-pre-k for every child in america and still have $2 trillion left over. let's make it happen. >> we'll be right back with more from cnn's democratic presidential candidate town hall with senator elizabeth warren. we're live in jackson, mississippi. stay with us.
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welcome back to cnn's democratic presidential candidate town hall with senator elizabeth warren. we are live on the campus of jackson state university in jackson, mississippi. i want to bring in marcy croft, a lawyer from madison, 134i7. >> hi, senator. you have proposed breaking up the big tech companies. is it really possible to -- without stifling innovation? >> good question, marcy. but here's my point. if you break them up, you actually need less regulation because here's how this works right now. think about the big tech companies, amazon, facebook, google, right? here's what they do. they run a platform, okay, where people come -- let's just stick with amazon. that's where you go to check out 63 coffee makers, all of which can be delivered in 24 hours, right? think about this just so you get an idea of how vast they are right now in our economy. walmart is about 9% of all
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physical retail sales in america. amazon, 49% of all online, so this is a big deal. if you want to sell onto, you're a little guy, you're trying to get your business started, you're an entrepreneur, you got to be there. so amazon runs this platform. you come to the platform. all sounds great. but amazon also is collecting information on every single buyer who visits and on every single seller who's there and on every single transaction. and what it does is it has the capacity to look out there and see, you know, pete's pet pillows and say, whoa, pete had a good idea here. he's making money off this. so here's what we're going to do. we're going to take pete off page one, move him back to page 16 where nobody goes, and then amazon pete's pet pillows is going to step right in front of hi


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