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Inspiring The Case 27 February Feb 2019 0727 27 February 2019

Elizabeth Warren, how the “sheriff of Wall Street” wants to reform capitalism in America

Elizabeth Warren, 69 years old, senator for Massachusetts, has announced her candidacy to the democratic primaries before the presidential elections in 2020. With her Accountable Capitalism Act, she is hoping to make large businesses responsible not only to shareholders but also the public

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They call her the “Sheriff of Wall Street”, because she is the first, for years and without mincing words, to point the finger at the American corporate world, ascribing to capitalism (as it is today) most of the reasons for which the United States are failing. Elizabeth Warren, 69, a Massachusetts senator and Harvard law professor specializing in bankruptcy law, announced her candidacy for the Democratic primaries in view of the US election 2020. With a plan: rebuild the US middle class, and rebuild it for all

The senator is considered a pioneer of civil rights and minorities, and she has made the battle against the excessive power of the American financial system her workhorse since entering the Senate in 2013. Already during the Wall Street crisis, she had distinguished herself for her actions in defense of small savers, and was then enlisted in the Obama administration as founder and director of the US consumer protection agency. At the 2016 US elections, it was also rumored that she could run for herself, or at least be a deputy to Hillary Clinton. Neither has happened, but in the meantime Warren has cultivated her ground. And at the end of 2018 she came out into the open, revealing her program for the presidency.

Warren's theory is that companies are no longer working for the welfare of their employees, but to maximize profits: as much as 93% of revenues end up in the pockets of shareholders, rather than being destined for wage increases or long-term investments

"Our government should work for the benefit of all, but instead it has become an instrument for the wealthy”, according to the senator. Warren's thesis is that companies are no longer working for the welfare of their employees, but rather to maximize profits: as much as 93% of revenues end up in the pockets of shareholders, rather than being destined for wage increases or long-term investments. The result? Investors continue to get rich, the company does not benefit from economic growth and inequality worsens.

This is why the senator created a bill called Accountable Capitalism Act: a bill that aims to make the largest companies (1 billion turnover or more) responsible not only in front of its shareholders, but even before the public. Starting from the choice of executive board of companies, whose members, according to Warren, should be chosen from the same companies’ employees. Companies, moreover, should be forced to wait a longer time before selling their shares, avoiding a strategy of flash growth to embrace a forward-looking logic, which favors employment and a more stable economy. In addition, companies should receive the green light of 75% of their shareholders in order to make donations to this or that party or political candidate. "Billionaires and big corporations decided they wanted more. And they enlisted the politicians to get a bigger piece of cake, "says Warren. This is why the system must be changed.

For the presentation of her candidacy at the primaries, the senator has launched an exploratory committee. But some say that Warren's supporter base is not large enough to win. In fact, not all the Democrats support her: she tends towards the leftmost wing of the party, although her ideas differ from Bernie Sanders' socialist cut, but more than anything else she is seen as a divisive candidate. And even with the wider audience: she was criticized for the DNA test she took to prove her Cherokee heritage, responding to an accusation by Donald Trump, who now has nicknamed her “Pocahontas”.

The senator has created a bill called Accountable Capitalism Act: a law that aims to make high level companies (1 billion turnover or more) responsible not only in front of its shareholders, but also in front of the public

Of course, Warren's is not the only name circulating among Democratic candidates. At the moment it seems that there are at least a dozen potential candidates for the elections: among them, in addition to Bernie Sanders, we can count Joe Biden, the former deputy of Obama, the governor of the State of New York Andrew Cuomo and the Texan Beto O 'Rourke. While among the women, it’s rumored, there may even be Michelle Obama.

In short, the game is on. Warren can certainly offer great expertise, and also her ability to dialogue with minorities is one of her greatest strengths (especially given the desire for change that led to Congress a series of young and combative personalities such as Alexandra Ocasio Cortez in the mid-term elections). According to some analysts, however, this form of identity politics could also play against her. A year and ten months from the election date, it is still early to make any predictions. One thing, however, is certain: Warren's candidacy has already marked the start of the election race. And, considering the main challenger, something tells us that it will be one of the most interesting votes ever.

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