MSNBC: Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, What's the Difference?
Published: 10/21/2009 6:35 PM ET
Brewer was just starting to bash capitalism as she made the error: "A Goldman Sachs adviser....Brian Griffith says, quote, 'we have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all.'" She then sarcastically asked Jackson: "What's your reaction to hearing someone say, you know, when it comes to income inequality, all's well, the rising tide floats all boats?" Before replying, Jackson had to clarify his identity: "I'm Reverend Jesse Jackson." Which prompted Brewer's apology. Jackson went on to argue that Griffith's claim was a "vulgar statement."
Later, Brewer asked Jackson: "It's interesting, because it sounds like you're pushing similar programs to what FDR did during the Great Depression....What needs to happenen on the jobs front?....give me some specifics....green jobs? Are you talking about changing the way our park system looks, repairing our highways? What in your mind would be consistent with what we saw FDR do during the New Deal?"
Here is a full transcript of the segment:
CONTESSA BREWER: A Goldman Sachs adviser has an interesting theory about those exorbitant salaries given to the company's executives. He says inequality helps everyone. Specifically, Brian Griffith says, quote, 'we have to tolerate the inequality as a way to achieve greater prosperity and opportunity for all.' He says in return for those big salaries and bonuses, well, bankers should just turn around and give more money to charity. He made that statement in London yesterday during a discussion of morality in the marketplace. Well, tell that to the guys making ten bucks an hour. Joining me now to talk about this and the nation's real problem of joblessness, the Reverend Al Sharpton. What's your reaction to hearing someone say, you know, when it comes to income inequality, all's well, the rising tide floats all boats?
JESSE JACKSON: I'm Reverend Jesse Jackson.
BREWER: Right, I don't - you know, I'm so sorry, the - the script in front of me said Reverend Al Sharpton. I'm looking at your face, I know who you are, Reverend Jackson, we all do. I'm sorry.
JACKSON: Well let me say to you that that is a rather vulgar statement. He is - Wall Street's getting government-subsidized bonuses. The administration bailed out Wall Street. So it's a holiday for Wall Street but doomsday as we are losing 8.5 million jobs the last 18 months. 4.5 million homes in foreclosure this year, 20 million under water. So stocks are rising, poverty rising, unemployment rising, we need to have a stimulus, too, to, in fact, begin to invest in the economy the bottom up. We bailed out top down, we must now bail out bottom up.
BREWER: Do you think it's a problem when you have - and it's true that we're looking at banks now, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs certainly - Goldman Sachs paying back some of that $10 billion, plus dividends it is got this year, paying back the government money - do you think it's a problem, though, when there is joblessness heading toward 10% and yet you still have banks making near record profits?
JACKSON: Well, those banks got the stimulus. They were bailed out. And so, you had a kind of economic blood transfusion at the top, but we've watered the leaves but we have not watered the roots. And that is why this must be a target of stimulus. You cannot tell people who are losing - I mean, the banks, for example, should - should lower the interest rate, restructure loans and not repossess homes. That's change people can feel. Right now, we are still hemorrhaging jobs because of an inbalance in our trade policy. We're still hemorrhaging jobs out, plants closing, and drugs and guns are coming. We still have $100 billion a year in student loan debt, where youth are having to leave school because they cannot afford to stay there and so for someone from Goldman Sachs, who has been so heavily subsidized by the government with taxpayers money, to say what he said really is offbeat and certainly unfair.
BREWER: How would you grade the Obama administration in terms of taking the reins and providing opportunities nationally for people who live in the land of opportunity but just aren't seeing the opportunities?
JACKSON: You know, stimulus part one was to stop the catastrophe on Wall Street but that investment was not linked to reinvestment. So now they are begging those who got the big break, the zero interest money to lend it. They're not lending the money to the people. They are not investing as they should invest. They're getting bonuses at a very vulgar level. And so there must be linkage to that investment. I submit to you that those folks who've lost their jobs or who are losing their homes and cannot - modifications are behind the foreclosures, even as we meet today. We must have a renewed focus on bottom-up and not just top-down. I think he assumed that once the Wall Street got the money they would reinvest and lend. They have not - they have not honored that trust. And that must - just as banks have gotten a windfall without linkage, insurance companies want the same deal. They want to have a windfall on insurance and have the right to keep exploiting without the public option and that cannot happen either. The people must somehow be a priority.
BREWER: Reverend Jackson, you wrote an article about this. It's interesting, because it sounds like you're pushing similar programs to what FDR did during the Great Depression, which is to say people not only need a hand out, they need to feel like they have a way to earn a living for their family, that they can go out and work hard and provide for their families. What needs to happenen on the jobs front? I mean-
JACKSON: The priority must be to create jobs. The stimulus must be job creation.
BREWER: But specifically - give me some specifics.
JACKSON: People who have a job can negotiate modifying their home. People who have a job-
BREWER: But green jobs? Are you talking about changing the way our park system looks, repairing our highways? What in your mind would be consistent with what we saw FDR do during the New Deal?
JACKSON: One, putting the common people back to work, even some of the stimulus money is coming from Washington, the states, some to cities, not much. Most rural areas don't have broadband yet, for example. It needs to be a more bottom-up and it needs to be a real focus on job creation. You can't do that without also dealing with our trade policy because we're losing a job not to better workers but to cheaper workers. There must be some sense of - at the heart of free trade must be - must be fair trade. And I submit to you that so far, Wall Street has a big party last week. 10,000 hit the Dow, so stocks are rising and unemployment is rising, home foreclosures are rising, student loan debt is rising, we must, in fact, end that disconnect.
BREWER: Reverend Jackson, it's good of you to join us, I appreciate your time today. Thank you, sir.
JACKSON: Thank you.
-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.