This Fight Is Our Fight

by Elizabeth Warren

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

We built it ourselves, using our own hard work and the tools of the government to open up more opportunities for millions of people. We used it all—tax policy, investments in public education, new infrastructure, support for research, rules that protected consumers and investors, antitrust laws—to protect and expand our middle class.

One of Elizabeth Warren's main points is that the middle class in previous decades benefited from government policies that helped them. She considers herself fortunate to have been a beneficiary of these policies, which include a progressive tax structure that taxes the rich more than the poor, government funding for public education and research, and the construction of infrastructure such as roads and bridges. These former government policies also protected consumers. She writes that many of these policies have been discontinued, harming the middle class.

"Your mother was at home when they took the station wagon," he said, his voice low. "And then they said they were going to take the house." She cried every night.

Elizabeth Warren recalls her experiences growing up in Oklahoma City. Her family was barely able to get by financially after her father had a heart attack, and her mother was incredibly upset when the family's car was taken away by creditors. Her mother returned to work and answered phones at Sears to help her family get by. When Warren was in her senior year of high school, her mother argued with her about going to college; her mother did not want the family to go back into debt. Her father explained to her why her mother had such a strong reaction to Warren's plans to attend college. Warren is motivated by her personal story. She writes in her book about the importance of the minimum wage and of raising the minimum wage to support working families.

What happened is an economic boa constrictor that is squeezing working families so hard they can't breathe.

Warren writes about different working families in her book. One woman she writes about, Gina, did everything she was supposed to do to support her family. She commuted hours a day to work at Walmart and went without items in her food budget to pay down her mortgage. However, Gina is still facing poverty and must occasionally rely on a food pantry. Warren writes that while the economy has been functioning very well for the rich, the system has been wrecking havoc on the lives of the middle class, many of whom, like Gina, cannot pay their bills even while working hard and saving.

Before long, I was back in school, hitting the books at a commuter school that cost $50 a semester. This was an education I could pay for on a part-time waitressing job.

Warren again uses her own story to show how times have changed since she was young. She got married during college and quit school, but she was lucky enough to return to school because she could work part-time and afford the tuition. These types of opportunities, she writes, are not available to today's college students, and the middle-class dream of attending college is being eroded as a result.

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