Presidential candidate and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., defended two key planks of her economic platform in a PBS NewsHour interview Thursday, arguing that her campaign proposals on student debt relief and taxes would reduce inequality while addressing wealth disparities between whites and minorities.
Warren unveiled a plan last month that she said would cancel, in full, all of the student loan debt held by 75 percent of borrowers in the United States, and extend some student loan relief to millions of others. The plan drew praise but was also criticized for
focusing too little on students who are most in need of aid, including non-white students. Warren argued Thursday that her proposal would help close racial disparities.
“It’s specifically designed so that it helps close the black-white wealth gap,” Warren told NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff.
Warren added: “African American students are more likely to borrow money to go to college. They borrow more money while they’re in college. They have a harder time paying when they get out of college. My student loan debt cancellation helps them.”
Warren also touted her proposal to impose a tax on wealthier Americans that’s based on their net worth. The proposal calls for an annual 2 percent tax on households worth $50 million to $1 billion, and a 3 percent tax on households with a net worth of more than $1 billion. Critics have questioned whether such a wealth tax would discourage investment, but Warren said Thursday the concerns were misplaced.
“The idea that someone who has already amassed a huge fortune in this country is going to disinvest [that] just doesn’t even make any sense,” Warren said.
The Massachusetts Democrat also rejected the “anti-business” label Republicans have thrown at her over the years, saying it was “pro-business” to seek out robust rules and regulations to preserve competition and protect customers.