Economics

Elizabeth Warren Earns $429,000, Worth Millions but Not Part of 1 Percent

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There's rich and there's really rich. As the poet and well-paid insurance executive Wallace Stevens supposedly once said, "There's a difference between appreciating art and owning it."

So take pity on Harvard's Elizabeth Warren, the scold of the 1 Percent who is currently running for the Senate in Massachusetts after getting hosed by the Obama administration. Warren is widely credited with pushing for the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency that would simplify credit offerings so that all of us idiots who bought houses we couldn't afford could blame somebody else. Faced with opposition from Republicans, Obama tossed Warren aside as the first hea of the CFPA.

Buzzfeed reports that Warren, like Marie Antoinette and Bruce Springsteen, only likes to play poor:

"I realize there are some wealthy individuals – I'm not one of them, but some wealthy individuals who have a lot of stock portfolios" she told [MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell].

Hard to see how Warren wouldn't be, by most standards, wealthy, according to the Personal Financial Disclosure form she filed to run for Senate shows that she's worth as much as $14.5 million. She earned more than $429,000 from Harvard last year alone for a total of about $700,000, and lives in a house worth $5 million.

She also has a portfolio of investments in stocks and bonds worth as as much as $8 million, according to the form, which lists value ranges for each investment. The bulk of it is in funds managed by TIAA-CREF.

More here.

Making a ton of dough—she's well into the 1 Percent of income earners based on her salary alone—doesn't mean she can't understand with special care the problems of the rest of us.

But it's worth pointing out that Warren is in fact out of touch with those for whom she claims to speak. She consistently says that folks "didn't know the deal" when they signed up for credit cards that charged interest on balances, mortgages that required monthly payments, or loans that charged interest. She is the embodiment of a paternalist (maternalist?) who thinks that jes' plain folks are dolts who are always getting screwed by mustache-twirling bankers that exist mostly in the imagination of Faulkner's Jason Compson. Hence, her longstanding desire to "simplify" the offerings of financial institutions down to a few types of loans, all of which can be read "by the average American" in a couple of minutes.

It may be quaint for a Harvard prof to want to help the great unwashed, but if she seriously thinks that people overextended on houses and more because they didn't understand their credit terms, she's fighting the wrong battle and we'll all be the poorer for having fewer credit options.

And for those of us who don't make $429,000 a year, or live in $5 million homes, or have as much as $8 million in stocks and bonds, that's not good.

Hat Tip: Instapundit.

Here's some vid of Warren commiserating with another honorary 99 Percenter, Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC:

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  1. Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin down the plains,
    Where the wavin’ wheat,
    Can sure smell sweet,
    When the wind comes right behind the rain!

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  2. That is fucking beautiful.

  3. I think she should use this campaign message: “The 1% are always out to screw you, the 99%! I should know, I’m one of them!”

  4. Say hello to the next senator from Massachusetts. Yes, I do believe the people up here are dumb enough to vote for her.

  5. they keep using that word, earned. she was paid that much by a corporation that paid zero corporate income tax.

  6. her posture is horrible. obviously she must be stretched on a rack…preferrably a returned rack w a warranty-claim.

  7. In other words, she is a fucking liar. Anyone with an $8 million plus investment protfolio knows damn well they are rich.

    1. a portfolio of investments in stocks and bonds worth as much as $8 million

      /pedant

      1. Ah, read right past it. Good catch. But even if it’s $6 million, she is rich.

  8. O’Donnell is a blithering idiot. “While you’re in the Congress, you simply cannot own stocks.” Seriously??? I have a better solution than removing basic rights from Congressmen. How about if Congress stops unconstitutionally treating people and businesses unequally by doling out special favors? Tax reform with a flat tax. No more subsidies. No more special tax breaks. In short, stay within the limits of the fucking Constitution. Got it??

    1. “General welfare… regulate commerce.. necessary an proper”

      What limits?

      1. None of those mean what you think they do.

    2. Personally, I would have no problem with a requirement that Congresscritters and their aides have to either

      (1) Put all their assets in a blind trust, or

      (2) Invest all their assets in a very broad index fund.

      1. Blind funds are easily abused.

    3. I would remove all sorts of “basic rights” from congress. If you want that much power, you must be neutered somehow.

      I like how she deflected though. “I’m with you! Either no stocks OR blind trust.” She’s thinking, Damn you, O’Donnel. There’s no way you’re going to get me to say ‘no stocks’ on TV.

  9. Nick,

    She makes $700k a year. She made $429k just from Harvard.

  10. Just when you think someone can’t get any more despicable….

    1. if they aren’t capable of pushing the bounds of despicability, they wouldn’t really be despicable, would they?

  11. If that video hasn’t been exploited and derided in a TV ad by her opponent, his campaign manager should be sued for malpractice.

    1. this is why you hire properly licensed and bonded campaign managers.

      1. Campaign Trainer: Class, imagine a line down the center of the trachea. Now approximately one and half to two inches on both sides of that line.
        There! Plung the knife! The Jugular! Go For It!

  12. Thnk they will ever take the money out of politics?

    http://www.pc-anon.tk

    1. Never, anonbot. Not ever.

    2. I sure hope not anonbot.

  13. It’s sickening that someone like her can pull in that kind of cash. That’s more than I make… heck, that’s probably more than the VP I report to makes…

    and yet, she doesn’t produce anything of real value. No tangible good or idea that can be used in a product.

    1. just because one doesn’t produce bullshit doesn’t mean they can’t be gainfully employed shoveling it.

    2. No tangible good or idea that can be used in a product.

      Welcome to the world of consulting services.

  14. I like that Warren gets rightly taken to task, but the buzzfeed article pretty much says she wasn’t trying to lie or evade about her wealth. She was saying that there are Congressmen who have large stock portfolios whereas she does not have a large stock portfolio, and this statement is true.

    1. Well, she’s not in Congress yet. Insider trading is still illegal for her.

    2. So, a multi-million stock portfolio is not a “large” stock portfolio.

      I understand that in certain, .1% circles, its not. But in common parlance?

      1. Her portfolio is about 80 times the size of mine.

        When is she going to pay her fair share?

      2. Having an exclusive fund maintained by TIAA-CREF is not, to me, a “large stock portfolio”. There is plenty to attack Warren on without trying to misunderstand her.

        1. Having an exclusive fund maintained by TIAA-CREF is not, to me, a “large stock portfolio”.

          Why not?

          1. You won’t get a response.

            1. You lose.

              What Warren meant is pretty clear from the buzzfeed article. I am willing to argue with her policies on equal footing rather than call her a liar.

        2. “Having an exclusive fund maintained by TIAA-CREF is not, to me, a “large stock portfolio””

          Well, most of us define something’s largeness by it’s largeness.

          You, apparently, think largeness has something to do with who is in charge, or something?

          1. That’s because I’m profoundly retarded.

        3. My TIAA-CREF find allowed me to buy virtually whatever instruments I wanted, with some very limited exceptions.

          Not sure how you arrived there.

          1. Because she actually has only bought one stock, I believe. Again, read the original article.

    3. I RTFA’ed, and she has $8 million in multiple mutual funds. She owns one stock, which is IBM, but in her financial disclosure form it’s a few hundred k. If she meant to say “large portfolios of individual stocks” she should have said that, because she has a large portfolio comprised of stock.

      And it doesn’t matter whether she’s going through TIAA-CREF or Goldman Sachs Asset Management. That just shows she knows what she’s doing with her money, and the best place for it is index funds (if she’s not going balls to the wall with tax-advantaged stuff).

      Her point seems to have been mighty obscured, but I believe it was supposed to be that there are members of Congress who receive relatively favorable taxation rates for the capital gains and dividends that make up the bulk of their income. It’s a weaselly point as she phrased it to imply she wasn’t wealthy.

  15. What is it with all of these wealthy socialists?

    1. PL, I thought that you were a student of history. Limousine Liberal was a concept invented by the Soviet Union.

    2. It’s the madness of university “economics.” Can anyone even begin to make a case that she brings $429K of tutitions or donations to Harvard per year? It’d be laughable if it wasn’t so widespread.

      1. She could marry a Senator. You never know…

      2. Actually, she probably does. Lots of people who respect her ‘intellect’ will say “I want to study there!” or “I need to donate to this school that makes her work possible, educating young minds to think the way she does.”

    3. Party member v. Prole. The secret of social philosophies is that all of them end up having social strata in practice, the good ones attempt to make those strata as porous as possible. She’s part of the Party, so she gets all the privileges. All she has to do is survive the purges.

    4. Simple answer: when you’re wealthy and everything on your hierarchy of needs is taken care of, it becomes fashionable to try to ensure that everyone else’s needs are also taken care of. This can result in a good thing (charitable giving) or a bad thing (lobbying for welfarism, combined with a cynical, artificial humility about how “wealthy people like them should be taxed more”, knowing they still take every possible tax deduction every year).

    5. Marxist Millionaires?

    6. In every generation, there are those who want to rule well–but they mean to rule. They promise to be good masters–but they mean to be masters.

      -Daniel Webster

  16. Or take Joe Kennedy with the boatloads of Kennedy cash. Spend all his money? No, let’s get the “people of Venezuela” (most of whom are desperately poor and like they have a choice) to subsidize low cost heating fuel for poor folks.

  17. I care about the Mass senate race more than any other election this year. I just want to see that bitch go down. Even if Obama wins, that just means the liberals have to sell their virtue for four more years. But they really love Warren. She is their shinning star. To see her lose will crush them.

    1. No, no, go easy on the wee one. His father’s going to go crazy and chop ’em all into haggis.

      1. Well done. I was just trying to remember where I’d heard that word before.

    2. It’s a toss up between this Senate race, and Scott Walker’s recall. Which would be more savory, a Walker win or a Warren loss…. ?

      1. As a resident of Wisconsin living outside of the Madison/Milwaukee bubbles I just don’t see Walker losing the recall. I have little doubt that the recall folks got enough (legit) signatures to initiate a recall, but it took them two months of having their hardcore cadre out harassing people to do it.

        I doubt they will be able to get those same 500-800k people to actually show up at the ballot box on the day of the recall election. Plus, Walker really does have a positive record on which to run. His proposals have saved cities and school districts large amounts of money and prevented tax increases.

        Unless Feingold decides to run (Badgers really do love them some Russ) Walker won’t be recalled, and will probably survive with a comfortable margin.

  18. Note that this pretty much excludes income and assets of her spouse, which is listed only as “over $1,000.” Her husband is a Harvard Law professor, so he undoubtedly makes well into the six figures too. Their household income probably borders on $1M a year.

    1. She makes $700k, so it’s undoubtedly above that. She received $430k from Harvard, $130k from consulting, $130k from book royalties and then some miscellaneous income.

  19. When you do so much good in the world, a small indiscretion like being really fucking loaded can be tolerated.

    1. Being loaded is not an indiscretion. Blatantly lying about it in order to pander to idiots is the indescretion.

  20. You’re only part of the 1% if you’re a Republican or Libertarian. They’re evil, greedy, and selfish. Liberals with that much wealth are good, wholesome, charitable with other people’s money, and compassionate towards those who are less fortunate. They can’t be part of the 1%. They have no problem dictating how other people need to pay taxes. So, leave liberal millionaires alone!

  21. And her income is actually $716,000 when you count book royalties and consulting. But it looks like the income is reported over both 2010 and part of 2011.

  22. First you get the money, then you get the power. [insert lesbian joke]

  23. And let’s not forget that Elizabeth Warren is an intellectually dishonest hack. Having read the brutal critique of her academic work by Todd Zywicki and Megan McArdle I could only suspect it, but since then I had a chance to read Warren’s papers myself. What Zywicki and McArdle wrote is true. So now I’m confident to call her an intellectually dishonest hack anytime.

  24. Her wiki page has this little tidbit:

    Warren and Tyagi also wrote The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke. Warren and Tyagi point out that a fully employed worker today earns less inflation-adjusted income than a fully employed worker did 30 years ago. To increase their income, families have sent a second parent into the workforce. Although families spend less today on clothing, appliances, and other consumption, the costs of core expenses such as mortgages, health care, transportation, child care have increased dramatically. The result is that even with two-income earners, families are no longer able to save and have incurred greater and greater debt.


    mortgages, health care, transportation

    Hmm… I wonder why those are so much more expensive? Wouldn’t have anything to do with them being among the most heavily regulated sectors of society, would it?

    child care

    And this is an incredible red herring. Child care has always been incredibly expensive if you consider the opportunity costs of stay-at-home parenting.

    1. People who dug into these number have also shown that the primary driver of the increased mortgages is that fact that people live in bigger houses. And of course, medical technology has gotten much better since the 1970s, so although we’re paying more we’re getting more.

      1. And more than bigger we’re getting better. I mean, people probably pay more in inflation-adjusted dollars for a car these days than 40 years ago, but I’m pretty certain which one I’d rather drive.

        Never mind the things that are only just now possible, like free worldwide telephony over a pervasive worldwide network of computers… heck, the computers alone.

        Also, the idea that women now have to work doesn’t withstand scrutiny. Now, women have the opportunity to work more meaningful jobs than teaching. That means an increase in the supply of labor and thus some effect on wages, but no woman where I live (Japan, 50% female labor participation rate) pretends that women stay at home because it’s their goal.

    2. child care

      This is an outrage! The people your children are exclusively in the care of for 8-10 hours per day, completely dependent on them for their safety, care and well-being, should be paid as little money as possible!

      1. Does this troll have a point? Or just a random strawman that it confused with an argument?

        1. Perhaps you should get your sarcasm meter checked.

    3. Wouldn’t have anything to do with them being among the most heavily regulated sectors of society, would it?

      Prove the causation. Refrigerators are regulated too. You guys have a one track mind. Healthcare is cheaper in countries with more regulated systems, so explain that.

      1. Re: Tony,

        Prove the causation. Refrigerators are regulated too.

        They’re not subsidized. Child care is.

        You guys have a one track mind.

        Pot, meet kettle.

        Healthcare is cheaper in countries with more regulated systems, so explain that.

        Rationing and delays are costs, you microcephalic nincompoop. So it is NOT cheaper.

        1. They’re also myths and rightwing talking points. Not having universal coverage presents its own costs. But apparently you only believe in such costs when it’s convenient.

      2. We have. You just don’t have any rational response to it, so you keep falling back on the same weak arguments.

      3. You also forget that other countries generally don’t have to bear the R&D costs of new tech. That’s paid for by the US consumers who drive advancement.

    4. What a surprise that when you double the workforce, the cost of living ends up being twice as much.

  25. “She consistently says that folks “didn’t know the deal” when they signed up for credit cards that charged interest on balances, mortgages that required monthly payments, or loans that charged interest.”

    I’m not much of a Liz guy, but it’s a little more complicated than Nick says. I recall a Reason staffer (can’t remember which one) bitching about the fact that he bought his son a Jeep and found out ex post facto that the warranty didn’t cover off-road use. If all a mortgage agreement contains is a statement that you will be paying X a month, why are they 50 pages long?

    1. If people were getting tripped up by the fine print in their mortgage documents, you might have a point. But that thing that got them in trouble was not the fine print, but being unable to afford X per month, not some obscure clause on pg. 37, foot 23.

    2. “I recall a Reason staffer (can’t remember which one) bitching about the fact that he bought his son a Jeep and found out ex post facto that the warranty didn’t cover off-road use.”

      Wow, that’s totally the same as buying something you can’t afford.

      1. Repairing damage from off-roading your vehicles sounds A LOT more like an insurance issue than a warranty issue.

        I wouldn’t imagine any manufacturer would have their warranty include something damaged while off-roading. The scope of hazards that “off-roading” encompasses has to be magnitude greater and less predicable than the scope of “regular wear and tear”.

    3. They are 50+ pages because of government required disclosure.

    4. The extra 48 pages lies dormant and has no effect until you default.

      Its purpose is to make sure that you can’t snake your way out of either (a) paying what you agreed to pay or (b) losing the house you agreed they could take if you didn’t pay what you agreed to pay.

      1. ^ This. I’m a banker in a small community and residential mortgages make up a very large part of business. The important things borrowers to know are spelled out in a just a few pages. I’ll broaden it to 10 pages (Iowa loans.)

        They need to read the HUD (3 pages), to understand where the money they’ve spent so far is going, they need to read the note (3 pages) to make sure the terms are what was planned, and they should look at the mortgage (8 pages) to understand what they are pledging as collateral, and what will happen if they stop paying.

        The rest of the 90 page closing packet is disclosures and releases.

  26. Warren’s uniform in that photo is the same as Dr. Evil’s. Warren can at least claim that she is not among the top 1% of fashionable dressers.

  27. Love that Kim Jong-il look she’s got going on

    1. It’s like she has some creepy animatronic arms that don’t know what to do with themselves.

  28. Hence, her longstanding desire to “simplify” the offerings of financial institutions down to a few types of loans, all of which can be read “by the average American” in a couple of minutes.

    I certainly don’t feel insulted! I am after all the end result of the Amerikan Pulbic Skool Seistem that Mrs. Warren most likely supports, so any little help with my reading comprehension is welcome!

  29. So is Warren like that successful factory owner who owes the rest of us because of the roads and schools that “we” paid for ?

    And while I’m thinking of that diatribe, isn’t there something faintly Marxist that she refers to a “factory owner” ? Controlling the means of production and all that. It seems consistent with the inability of liberals to think of business as something beyond making things. Or am I reading too much into that.

    1. And while I’m thinking of that diatribe, isn’t there something faintly Marxist that she refers to a “factory owner” ? Controlling the means of production and all that. It seems consistent with the inability of liberals to think of business as something beyond making things. Or am I reading too much into that.

      Well I had the exact same thought the first time I saw that video. So if you’re reading too much into it, then I am also.

  30. Only poor people are allowed to argue for redistributionist policy. That way it’s easier to call them envious parasites, and it’s less likely they’ll win political office.

    1. Re: Tony,

      Only poor stoopid people are allowed to argue for redistributionist policy as therapeutic catharsis.

      There – more accurate.

  31. I’ve been listening to a few Warren interviews the networks have perpetrated on us, and I am hesitant to call this woman intelligent. Her arguments are laden with non sequiturs that are not in the least original: The canard that people owe the government anything for their own success has been uttered before during the FDR administration by sycophantic jornalists and fawning intellectuals. Warren’s thinking is clearly the direct result of this incestuous relationship but hardly original, besides the fact that her delivery is clumsy and pedantic.

    1. You owe the government for the ability to post idiotic bullshit on the Internet. How is someone reading your drivel supposed to know that you aren’t simply moronically unaware of your surroundings? Your worldview seems no more sophisticated than the guy with the “keep your government hands off my Medicare” sign.

      1. Re: Tony,

        You owe the government for the ability to post idiotic bullshit on the Internet.

        This is the same government that owns your ass, right?

        How is someone reading your drivel supposed to know that you aren’t simply moronically unaware of your surroundings?

        Are you aware of your surroundings?

        Your worldview seems no more sophisticated than the guy with the “keep your government hands off my Medicare” sign.

        It would seem that you do not have a burglar alarm installed in your home – lest someone accuses you of being “unsophisticated.”

      2. “You owe the government for the ability to post idiotic bullshit on the Internet”

        Prove it.

        1. The government invented the internet.

          1. And the free market in porn made it more than a mere 2400 baud glorified telegraph service.

      3. That’s funny Tony. Especially since no one here has ever uttered the words “keep your government hands off my Medicare”. Christ on a stick you are retarded.

    2. You know who else was sold as intelligent, but has a clumsy and pedantic speaking style.

      1. Tony?

  32. She is the embodiment of a paternalist (maternalist?) who thinks that jes’ plain folks are dolts who are always getting screwed by mustache-twirling bankers

    No kidding. Progressive do-gooderism is rooted in a fundamentally pessimistic view of human nature.

    Without enlightened saviors to guide them, the unwashed masses would be eaten alive.

  33. Personally, I would have no problem with a requirement that Congresscritters and their aides have to either

    (1) Put all their assets in a blind trust, or

    (2) Invest all their assets in a very broad index fund.

    Fuck that; make them convert everything to cash. Then we’ll see what they think of Ben Bernanke.

    1. make em hold it in cash and carry all of it with em everywhere they go.

  34. Newsflash: all this class warfare bullshit that the left throws out there is just that: bullshit. It’s nothing but pure politics. There are more ultra-rich liberal democrats than there are ultra-rich conservative republicans these days, and contrary to the endless lies that come out of their mouth, they don’t like paying high taxes any more than the rest of us plebes in the so-called 99%.

    1. It’s nothing but pure self-interest. These folks inevitably “do well by doing good,” as the old saying goes.

  35. Yeah, but Scott Brown worked with Travelers Insurance to formulate bankruptcy strategies so they wouldn’t have to pay off on asbestos claims! Er, wait…
    http://www.bostonherald.com/ne…..stos_suit/

    1. Alright, here’s how you turn their idiotic pact about no independent spending against her:

      Run an ad, appealing to Republicans, that goes through her “consulting” gigs (like the asbestos bankruptcy deal; I’m sure there are others), pointing out that she has been a good friend to big business.

      Now, she’s in a bind. Independent spending, right, so one campaign or the other has to pony up matching funds to charity. Does she claim the ad is for her, so Brown has to pay, or does she claim the ad is really his, so she has to pay?

      1. Is that the deal ? Outside ads for her would make Brown pay ? I see where you’re going, but I think the deal is the other way round. She would claim it’s an attack ad of his, therefore he has to pay. I think.

        1. Couldn’t be an attack ad. It would be very positive in tone. It would urge people to vote for her because she has proven she can work with business.

          And, of course, even if they agreed the ad didn’t trigger their stupid pact, you would get some news cycles out of it, about how she helped rob cancer patients for money.

          1. So she has to donate to charity to offset the “outside” money spent supporting her. Or claim that an ad urging support for her is actually, somehow, attacking her (with the truth).

  36. Why the fuck even lie about having 8 million in stocks?

    Is it just second nature for these people to lie?

  37. God… just look at her, in that picture.

    She is PURE. SEX.

  38. Lawrence O’Donnel’s net worth is estimated at 12 million….

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