Democratic Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) said "modern capitalism is under assault" during remarks Thursday that included a critique of his party's 2020 presidential field, saying at least half of them don't share his concern.
Warner spoke at at a conference hosted by the National Association for Business Economics, according to Politico, said the "extreme" versions of both Republicans and Democrats frightened him with their economic theories.
"Modern capitalism is under assault in ways that are frankly unprecedented," Warner said. "If we look at whatever economic theories are being offered by the increasingly not mainstream but extreme, extreme version of both political parties, it scares the hell out of me."
"Modern American capitalism, with its short-term focus and its frankly non-focus on human capital, is not working for enough folks," he added in his unscripted remarks.
Warner said "at least half" of his party’s presidential candidates "have a different economic theory of the case" from him, with many increasingly believing "that top-down redistribution is the only answer."
While former Vice President Joe Biden leads Democratic polling among potential candidates, he has not announced a run yet. Among the declared candidates, democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) leads early surveys. The party has continued a surge to the left since Hillary Clinton's defeat in 2016, with other top candidates including progressive darlings like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) and Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.).
Warner ripped the Trump administration as having "zero credibility" on the debt, citing the growing deficits under the Republican White House. He added that every year lawmakers didn't address entitlement reform, "that change gets more challenging."
While Sanders would count among the candidates who had the "top-down redistribution" theory Warner criticized, he praised his colleague for saying that cutting corporate taxes would not lead to more investment in workers.
"That’s proven to be a total fallacy," he said. "Bernie Sanders was 100 percent right — 90 percent-plus was not reinvested. It was spent on share buybacks and dividends."