, Newburyport, MA


April 17, 2012

Reasons to vote for Warren

To the editor:

We need to elect Elizabeth Warren to the Senate in place of Scott Brown, and here are my reasons. Scott Brown just voted to continue the $4 billion tax break for the major oil companies, while they are recording their highest profits ever. Elizabeth Warren is a passionate advocate for the middle class and will be our voice against the lobbyists for the most wealthy and powerful Americans. She has been working since she was 13 years old, taught elementary school, put herself through law school while raising her children and began practicing law from her living room. She has spent her professional career studying and understanding the economics of the middle class; and she is passionately dedicated to preventing its disappearance. President Obama called upon her to head the consumer protection unit of the team trying to get us out of the current recession. She did such an effective job for ordinary voters that the Republicans refused to support her for consideration of the permanent post. Now we have a chance to send her energy and expertise back to Washington. She will work for policies to help us against the wealthiest 1 percent who currently have a stranglehold on Congress, the media and on our very way of life.

I appreciate that the typical reader of this paper considers him or herself part of the middle class, but is that still true? People in the middle class are supposedly paid a wage that covers their living expenses with enough to spare to educate their children and put money away for their retirement. Government policies before the 1980s provided low-cost state college education, numerous scholarships and low-interest loans. All of these are things of the past. The lobbyists for the big banks managed to exempt student loans from the reforms that limited the amount of interest banks can charge. The result of this is that graduates are saddled with huge debts when they are least able to repay them. In past years, the tax code prescribed higher rates for those who reaped the greatest benefits from our capitalist democracy. Now, those who benefit the most pay the least. Multi-millionaires accumulate still more wealth, while workers are forced to give back contracted raises or lose their jobs. Teachers and other public workers who took lower pay rates in exchange for assurances of a secure retirement are being cheated. Can we urge our children to save for the future when at current interest rates they will earn less than what they spend on coffee?

One of Sen. Scott Brown's first acts was to provide the key vote in weakening consumer protections in the 2008 financial reform legislation, in order to favor Fidelity Investments. Shortly afterward, Fidelity closed their office in Maynard, eliminating 5,000 Massachusetts jobs. We do not need to re-elect another champion of the 1 percent.

Walter Alt


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