I first saw Elizabeth Warren about 6 months ago on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. She is the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel created to monitor TARP (The Troubled Asset Relief Program – central to America’s bailout). In the few minutes she had on the show, she gave an overview of American economic development that was elegant and stunning. I like her a lot. (If you are in a part of the world that can access Stewart’s videos on his website, then check out that interview here – part 1 and part 2).

This past Tuesday night, she appeared on The Daily Show again (see video here – it’s also available (for now) on YouTube here – in my experience this will be deleted soon).

Her message was simple, clear, and vaguely frightening. She believes that right now the American economy is being rebuilt. What we do in the next few months will set a foundation for how the economy works for the next 50 years. She believes that the American middle class is allowing Wall Street and big business to destroy it. She said: “It is simple. This is America’s middle class. We’ve hacked at it and chipped at it and pulled on it for 30 years now. And now there’s no more to do. Either we fix this problem going forward or the game really is over.”

In recent months, Warren has repeatedly warned that America’s middle class is on the verge of collapse. In an essay for the Huffington Post on 3 December 2009, she raised the possibility of “America without a strong middle class?“. Her view is that America is at serious risk of having ‘middle class’ no longer synonymous with the old notions of security and solid, but instead meaning living one paycheck to the next, living one bad diagnosis or pink slip away from financial collapse. You can see an hour long lecture she gave on this topic at YouTube.

To Stewart, she said: “The chips are all on the table. We are going to write what the American economy looks like for 50 years going forward. And right now the CEOs have any real change bottled up in the Senate.”

We live in important times!

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