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Elizabeth Warren outlines green manufacturing plan in Detroit

Elizabeth Warren
Sarah Cweik
Michigan Radio

Massachusetts Senator and Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren kicked off her first campaign swing through Michigan in Detroit Tuesday, unveiling a plan to boost U.S. manufacturing and job creation through investments in climate change-fighting technologies.

Speaking at Detroit’s FOCUS Hope job training center, Warren outlined a 10-year plan to invest $400 billion in federal investments in research and development for green technologies. It would include a requirement that any resulting products be manufactured in the U.S.

“[If] American taxpayers pay for it, it should be producing American jobs,” Warren said.

Warren also pledged to spend $1.5 trillion on government procurement for U.S.-made technologies that could help the country meet aggressive carbon emissions reductions targets in the Green New Deal, and export them to the rest of the world. Her campaign supplied an analysis from Moody’s Analytics which suggests the plan could produce more than a million new jobs.

Warren says the plan, the first of a series to come out defining her vision of “economic patriotism,” would be “all paid for” by eliminating subsidies for fossil fuel companies, closing certain tax loopholes, and higher corporate taxes.

Warren also outlined her vision for the broader economy, saying it all comes down to the question of “who the government works for.” Right now, she says Washington favors the interests of big multi-national corporations, which don’t necessarily have any loyalty to the American public or economy.

“That is corruption, pure and simple. And we need to call it out for what it is,” Warren said.

Warren said she planned to fight that with the “biggest anti-corruption plan since Watergate,” and also with structural economic changes. She proposed a 2% “wealth tax” on the ultra-rich, those with earnings above $50 million a year.

Warren said that tax alone could fund universal child care and preschool, raise the wages of child care workers, provide free public college tuition for all students, and cancel 95% of the country’s student loan debt.

Sally Rahaman of Ann Arbor said she liked those Warren proposals, along with her commitment to universal health care. “Especially the day care and student loan forgiveness,” she said.

“We want to see these policies put in place, and I believe Elizabeth Warren is the person to do that,” said Detroiter Rhonda Walton, a PTA President in a Detroit public school. “And I’m pushing her for Detroit. We will keep our girl power going in Michigan.”

In a sign that Republicans see Warren as an increasingly viable candidate in the large Democratic field, the Republican National Committee issued a statement on Warren’s trip to Michigan.

“Elizabeth Warren’s support of absurd plans like giving the government control of healthcare, jobs, and education, shows just how out of touch she really is with everyday Michiganders,” said RNC spokesperson Michael Joyce. “Under Elizabeth Warren, she might have a plan, but that plan would kiss our roaring economy goodbye and pave the way for crippling taxes on all Michiganders.”

Warren was also scheduled to hold a town hall meeting in Lansing Tuesday evening.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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