LOS ANGELES (CN) – U.S. Senator and 2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren said at a Los Angeles town hall Wednesday that if elected she will root out corruption in Washington and implement an aggressive tax on the wealthy.
The Massachusetts senator said that because of her working class background and experience as a public school teacher, she is laser-focused on ensuring that government works for every-day people, not just the wealthy.
“It’s about who our government works for,” Warren told the crowd. “It works wonderfully for giant drug companies, but not for people trying to get a prescription filled. It works for people who want to invest in private prisons, but not for people whose lives have been torn apart by those institutions.”
Warren said corruption in politics has led to inaction on climate change and the blocking of guaranteed health care for Americans.
If elected, Warren promised to end the “revolving door between Wall Street and Washington” and force candidates for political office in the U.S. to post their tax returns online.
“We’re gonna tackle corruption head on, we’re gonna pull it out,” Warren said. “We’ve gotta be willing to go on offense, enough of this defense.”
Warren’s plan for a wealth tax would collect two cents on every dollar after an individual’s first $50 million in combined assets.
“I’m not proposing this because I’m cranky. You don’t wanna see me cranky,” Warren told the crowd. “When you make it to the top of the top of the top, pitch in two cents so everybody else gets a chance to make it in America.”
The crowd responded to the tax proposal by cheering at deafening decibels and chanting, “two cents, two cents.”
Warren said her tax plan could fund universal childcare, cancellation of most student debt, tuition-free community college and an expansion of student Pell grants.
The tax plan would allow the country to “make an investment in an entire generation,” Warren said.
In an Aug. 15 Fox News poll, Warren leapt over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the race for the Democratic nomination with support from 20% of registered voters but still trailed frontrunner and former vice president Joe Biden.
A Wednesday poll by POLITICO/Morning Consult found that Biden and Sanders are the most likely to beat President Donald Trump in a head-to-head runoff election, with Warren joining other candidates who either would tie or fall behind Trump.
More than 2,000 supporters filled the Shrine Auditorium at the University of Southern California, many carrying signs that said, “Dream Big, Fight Hard.”
With the crowd filling up on beer and popcorn before Warren took the stage, town hall attendees buzzed and moved with the energy of fans waiting for a rock concert to kick off.
USC student Felanté Charlemagne noted that the crowd Wednesday was mainly white adults, adding that he expected more people of color to attend.
Charlemagne said he wanted Warren and other candidates to speak about immigration from a framework of “empathy for other human beings” and not strictly from a political or economic approach.
Warren introduced a plan this week to reduce the country’s mass-incarceration rates, the highest in the world and to increase de-escalation training for police, while also holding them accountable for rights violations.
Warren told town hall attendees on Wednesday that after rooting out corruption and building a more equitable economy, the third pillar of her plan is to “save our democracy” by restoring voting rights protections.
“I want to pass a constitutional amendment to protect the right to vote and to have the vote counted,” Warren said, adding that she has a plan to protect elections from hacking and make voting “as secure as Fort Knox.”
The effort to make elections more secure and equitable also includes a push to overturn the U.S Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling in the landmark Citizens United case, which overturned long-standing restriction, Warren said.
LA resident James Walker said he came to the rally out of curiosity and to see Warren speak in a setting that is more genuine than a campaign speech.
Warren spoke to something Walker noted about the candidate; that she is often teased for seemingly having a plan for everything.
“I’ve been teased a lot for having a lot of plans,” Warren told the crowd. “I get it. But if you want to get something done you have to have a plan.”