How Elizabeth Warren will harm fast food workers, the working poor

Progressive hero and possible 2016 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren spoke at Netroots Nation on Friday and listed what "progressive" means to her. One of the items on her list is very pro-corporate and would negatively impact lower-skilled American workers.

Warren asked the rhetorical question "What does it mean to be a progressive?" [1] then laid out her 11 answers. Here are her answers that are relevant to this discussion:

* "We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we're willing to fight for it."

* "We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth."

* "We believe that no one should work full-time and still live in poverty, and that means raising the minimum wage."

* "We believe that fast-food workers deserve a livable wage, and that means that when they take to the picket line, we are proud to fight alongside them."

* "We believe that students are entitled to get an education without being crushed by debt."

* "We believe that immigration has made this country strong and vibrant, and that means reform."

The last item in that list undercuts the rest. There's a reason the US Chamber of Commerce, WalMart, McDonalds, Marriott International, Tyson Foods, and other major corporations agree with Warren on the general concept of comprehensive immigration reform: more labor will help reduce their wage costs. Major corporations are spending millions or tens of millions per year lobbying for looser immigration rules, mass immigration, more high-tech visas (H1B), and so on. Instead of opposing those major corporations on attempts to lower wages, Warren would give them what they want.

Another group of very large corporations that want more immigration are big banks: see immigration banks. They want to open accounts for immigrants, no matter their immigration status. They want to give them home loans. And, they want to take a cut of the money that immigrants and illegal aliens send home (see remittances). As with chicken processors and fast food restaurants, Warren would give Bank of America, Wells Fargo, CitiBank and the rest what they want. The Federal Reserve is also trying to take a cut of remittances, and Warren would give them what they want too.

If it's unclear that Warren's position on immigration would lower wages and decrease safety standards, ask yourself why all those top corporations are spending so much money promoting the same thing as Warren. Would fast food restaurants and growers push a policy that would increase their wage costs? Would chicken processors push a policy that would increase safety standards in their plants?

But, what about the minimum wage? Wouldn't that fix the situation? Perhaps. More likely, corporations worth trillions of dollars would find work-arounds. For instance, by increasing the number of the independent contractors they use (independent contractors are generally not eligible for the minimum wage). Or, by simply increasing the number of illegal aliens they employ off the books. In that case, can you realistically see Elizabeth Warren busting companies for the bogus use of independent contractors, when it would mean throwing illegal aliens out of work? Take a clue from Obama: after an immigration raid, his administration gave the illegal aliens caught up in the raid work permits. Does anyone think Warren would do something different?

Of course, there's a good chance Warren wouldn't get a major increase in the minimum wage. There would be more labor in the U.S. due to Warren's loose immigration policies, and that means lower wages and reduced safety standards.

Warren's loose immigration policies would also impact another item on her list: more people use more resources, negatively affecting the environment.

Those same policies would negatively impact college students. Can anyone see Warren opposing college educations and college discounts for illegal aliens? As illustrated on the DREAM Act page, any college slot or discount given to an illegal alien is one that was taken from an American. Warren's student loan discounts aren't going to help those Americans that want to go to college but can't because they were displaced by a foreign citizen here illegally.

I realize that the above might be greeted with hostility or disbelief from some Warren supporters. They can't believe that she'd promote highly pro-corporate policies that would lower wages. In that case, please do your own research and think this through with an open mind. What other explanation for the actions of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce can you come up with? Could it be that Warren is either not what she appears or has made a mistake?

If - after thinking this through - you want to do something, do a Twitter search for those using hashtags like #ReadyForWarren, #RunLizRun or tweeting at @SenWarren. Then, make the points above to them. You can even do that as a Warren supporter, with the goal of helping improve her policies.

[1] nationaljournal . com/politics/