On Tuesday night's Daily Show, bailout watchdog and financial reform advocate Elizabeth Warren told Jon Stewart that "this is really the moment" that will determine the future of America's middle class -- the system must be fixed or "the game really is over."
Warren, who chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel created to monitor TARP, said: "It is simple. This is America's middle class. We've hacked at it and chipped at it and pulled on it for 30 years now. And now there's no more to do. Either we fix this problem going forward or the game really is over."
In recent months, Warren has repeatedly warned that America's middle class is on the verge of collapse. In an essay for the Huffington Post last December, she raised the possibility: "America without a strong middle class? Unthinkable, but the once-solid foundation is shaking." A few days later, she told MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski "We are at serious risk in America of having 'middle class' no longer synonymous with the old notions of security and solid, but instead meaning living one paycheck to the next, living one bad diagnosis or pink slip away from financial collapse."
Warren has been the TARP oversight chair since November 2008, and Stewart asked her why the system hasn't been fixed yet.
"Well, these guys really do get it." Warren told Stewart -- the CEOs, bankers, and people in power -- "They get it. And they work best behind closed doors." If the decisions are in their hands, she said, "Nothing, nothing will change. You know, I want to turn to these guys sometimes, and I want to say: what part of 'we bailed you out' do you not get? These are people who would not have their jobs because they would not have their companies."
"The chips are all on the table," Warren added. "We are going to write what the American economy looks like for 50 years going forward. And right now the CEOs have any real change bottled up in the Senate."