Elizabeth Warren spoke out today about the unfair advantage she says big companies have over small businesses in America, a playing field she declared was uneven even before the current recession.
"The problems facing small businesses today go well beyond the bad economy," said Warren in a speech at the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce in Massachusetts.
Without the resources to hire lobbyists and lawyers to cozy up to Congress, small businesses don't get a fair shake in Washington, she said. "Regulations in the United States are rigged to work for the big guys," Warren said.
Washington isn't helping. Instead of working on how to create a better environment for small business, Washington spent its energy on saving Wall Street banks that were too big to fail. There's an old saying: 'we all do better when we all do better,' and nothing could be more true for small business. The decline in consumer spending, poor sales, and economic uncertainty have made it difficult for small businesses to thrive.
The Harvard Law professor is running for U.S. Senate in Massachusetts as a Democrat, and is currently neck-in-neck in the polls with incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown.
Warren's long-time fight against corporate excess and call to hold corporations accountable for America's economic crisis has put her right in step with the frustrations of the Occupy Wall Street protests.
Most recently Republican leaders have called Warren a hypocrite for advocating for the middle class and poor while being wealthy herself. (HuffPost's Jason Linkins has more on this.) Warren has described herself as "a maintenance man's daughter [who] made it to be a fancy-pants professor at Harvard." She opened today's speech with an anecdote about working in her aunt's restaurant as a kid, and seeing firsthand the effort that goes into building a small business.