Jul 21, 2019

Elizabeth Warren's Wall Street frenemies

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Elizabeth Warren understands Wall Street better than any other presidential candidate. She studied it in her previous career as a Harvard professor, and she has effectively built her own think tank inside the Senate, coming up with genuinely novel ideas for how to improve financial regulation.

What to watch: Warren has already received the grudging respect of many on Wall Street. Her diagnoses of where the financial services industry falls short are generally accurate, and her proposed regulations would probably give a competitive advantage to financial giants with large compliance departments.

Driving the news: Warren blasted the private equity industry this week. She understands that bankruptcy and limited liability can be good for capitalism and society as a whole, but that they can also be abused. When that happens, private equity companies can end up making profits from portfolio companies that go bust. Employees invariably bear the brunt, alongside trade creditors and even consumers with gift cards.

Our thought bubble: Private equity is the polite term for what used to be called leveraged buyouts. Mike Milken gave buyouts a bad name in the 1980s, and Warren is betting that private equity is similarly unloved today. Axios' Dan Primack says that Warren's proposals would kill much of the private equity industry, especially the turnaround sector. He may well be right. The question is whether it would be mourned.

What's next: Warren's academic research changed the way bankruptcy was thought about. Her proposal for a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau became reality, with broad public support. When she says that the unbanked spend more on interest and fees than they do on food, she touches a nerve. It's easy to see potential profits for smart financial services industry executives who embrace her legitimate criticisms and try to get ahead of these issues.

Go deeper: Elizabeth Warren on the issues, in under 500 words

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Private equity is taking over dermatology practices

Private equity firms are snapping up dermatology practices, and at least some health care experts are not thrilled about it.

By the numbers: More than 700 dermatology practices are now owned by private equity. The number of takeovers increased 12-fold from 2012 to 2017.

Go deeperArrowJul 25, 2019

Elizabeth Warren introduces bill to cancel $640B of student debt

Democratic 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) introduced a bill Tuesday that would cancel $640 billion of student loan debt.

The big picture: Warren announced in April the plan to eliminate federal and private student loan debt for more than 75% of the 45 million Americans who hold loans (read a full overview of the plan here). She introduced the Student Loan Debt Relief Act with House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), who's sponsoring a companion measure, per Politico.

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Keep ReadingArrowJul 24, 2019

Debate night: Warren and Sanders vs. the moderates

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders joined forces to back Medicare for All, decriminalizing immigration, a trade policy that favors working Americans, and the Green New Deal proposal at Tuesday's Democratic debate, as Warren denounced former Rep. John Delaney and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper of using "Republican talking points."

Why it matters: Tuesday's debate underscored the field's divide, as progressives Warren and Sanders set themselves against the rest of the Democratic candidates, many of whom support more moderate health care policies like a public option or an expansion of the Affordable Care Act. They also disagreed with Warren and Sanders on immigration, trade, and taking on President Donald Trump in the general election.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jul 31, 2019