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MSNBC "The Ed Show" - Transcript


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SCHULTZ: Joining me now is Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown. Senator, good to have you with us tonight.

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: Good to be back.

SCHULTZ: Your comments on what Nancy Pelosi has to say about revenue.

BROWN: Well, she`s right. I mean, you look at -- you look at a
little history in the 1990s when, you know, the upper 1 percent or 2
percent or 5 percent were paying a little bit more in taxes. Just a little
bit more. We had 21 million private sector job creation, net job creation,
private sector.

When George Bush cut taxes on the wealthy in 2001 and 2003, we`ve had
no real job growth and no wage growth during this past decade.

We`re finally now after 10 straight years of manufacturing job decline, hitting places like Toledo and Cleveland and Cincinnati particularly hard, and Dayton, we`re seeing now in the last two years after the auto rescue, after we`re doing some of the right things here, we`re seeing manufacturing job growth.

So, history -- I agree with what Leader Pelosi says. History proves
what she said. It`s been right in the last 20 years.

SCHULTZ: So based on history, this is about arithmetic and not ideology, because the sense I get on the Hill talking to lawmakers today, if you don`t get the rate increase, if the Democrats don`t get the rate increase, you can forget everything else.

BROWN: Yes, I think that`s right. And we have seen in this country a decline in infrastructure in the last 30 years. That means everything from investment in community colleges, health care, highways and bridges, public transit -- all of that, and we need these revenues, particularly from upper income people.

If the president would back down here or if we would lose this fight, it would say, we`re never going to increase taxes on the wealthy. This is the time to do it.

SCHULTZ: Well, if it`s about the rates, that means John Boehner`s proposal is DOA.

BROWN: Well, his proposal is DOA for a couple reasons. One, the math doesn`t add up.

SCHULTZ: He says he won`t raise rates. He`s getting heat on the Hill today from people in his caucus about why did you put too much on the table?

So, I mean -- this Tea Party wing of the Republican Party over there in his caucus is telling him we`ll give him the rates. Where does that leave us?

BROWN: Well, it leaves us that John Boehner is going to have to compromise. It might mean he needs 180 Democratic votes and 50 Republican votes.

But the fact is there was an election. After 2010, Boehner could claim that the public spoke. Well, in 2012, millions and millions and millions more people voted. In my state, more than a million more voters in Ohio alone voted in significant numbers for President Obama, increased numbers of Senate and House Democrats.

All of us said we need to raise the rates for upper income people asking them to pay a little more. Just what they paid a decade ago when the economy took off and we had a surplus instead of these tax cuts for the rich. They left us with fewer jobs and lower wages and budget deficits.

SCHULTZ: Can you keep the moment up in the public arena? Fifty-three percent of Americans say Republicans will get the blame if we go off the cliff. And are you confident Democrats are going to be able to win it this fight? Only 27 percent would blame the president. This is a healthy position to be in. But how confident -- how confident are you that that number will hold?

BROWN: I think that number gets better because I think the public is more and more as the deadline gets near, as the, quote-unquote, fiscal cliff approaches and becomes eminent, the public pays more attention. And the facts are really clear on this.

The election said that we raise rates on the wealthiest people. Just ask them to pay a little bit more. The election said that basically, they didn`t believe the Republicans -- if they could produce more revenues --


BROWN: -- taking it from the wealthy. Rather, the public believes Republicans want to stick it to the middle class. The show says that every day. But public understands it. They are understanding more clearly as we get closer to the fiscal cliff.

SCHULTZ: I mean, it says a signal to people that last summer, you know, the Senate passed tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans but then they won`t do it in the house. That was before the election. And I just -- holding the ground is going to be important, no question about that. I get a sense the Democrats are unified. But going over the cliff, that affects the constituents of the Democrats big time. Correct?


SCHULTZ: And so, how do you hold that together?

BROWN: Well, you hold it together, Senator Stabenow talked to the caucus today, there`s unanimity that pointing out in July, I believe July 25th, we passed tax cuts for the 98 percent, as you said, to continue this tax policy that they get about $2,000 an average tax cut. Meaning if it expires, their taxes go up $2,000.

The Republicans know that. Republicans know if we don`t do it by -- if they don`t do it by January 1st, simply pass that bill, send it to the president, we`re going to keep passing tax cuts for the middle class. If they keep saying no, eventually they won`t because the public pressure will be on them they need to step up for the middle class.

SCHULTZ: All right.

BROWN: They`ve got to quit protecting. They do everything in the name of the wealthy. And that doesn`t work for our country.

SCHULTZ: OK. Sherrod Brown, stay with us.

BROWN: Thanks, Ed. Thank you.


SCHULTZ: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW. That`s Senator elect Elizabeth
Warren of Massachusetts, who has been a true champion of holding the big guys accountable. Those big guys might be in for a rude awakening.

Sources tell NBC News Warren will likely become a member of the Senate
Banking Committee.

Nothing is final until it`s confirmed by caucus. And as a member of the Senate Banking Committee, Warren will have influence over proposed regulations of Wall Street and the banking industry. It would be a perfect development for progressives in the country. Elizabeth Warren practically created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as part of Dodd/Frank financial reform.

Warren would be and has been a great choice to head the agency. But Republicans threatened to block it. Lobbyists reportedly fought Warren being chosen for the Banking Committee. If she gets the spot, she will be one of the senators making sure financial reform has real teeth.

I`m joined again tonight by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who is also a member of the Senate Banking Committee. I tell you what, there`s so much
Twitter world and so much blogosphere talk about her coming on to this
committee. What would it mean? I mean, a real ally of yours. How much of
a vital voice would this be?

SEN. SHERROD BROWN (D), OHIO: It would matter in the ways you say. I
-- this is a committee that historically was, frankly, too close to the
Banking Committee. I think with what Tim Johnson has done, who is the
chair of this committee now, this has become a committee more focused on
housing and more focused on consumer issues. We saw that in some of the
provisions in Dodd-Frank.

I don`t know if Senator elect Warren, once she`s a senator, will be on the Banking Committee. I`m hopeful she will. I hear those rumors too. It`s not confirmed. But what it will mean is that she will stand up and join Senator Merkley, Senator Jack Reid, several of us on this committee that have always had a pro-consumer attitude. It will help us.

I`ve worked on legislation. I mean, one of the reasons that Wall Street came in in my campaign against me, I worked on legislation to break up the six largest trillion-dollar banks because they are too big to manage and too big to regulate, leading to too big to fail. And her joining us on that committee will matter, because she will speak strongly on these kinds of issues, to make sure Wall Street reform is carried out the way we meant it, to make sure the consumer agency is as strong as possible, and to make sure we can move further legislatively.

SCHULTZ: Is Dodd-Frank and financial reform still in a crucial stage?

BROWN: Absolutely it is, yeah.

MORGAN: Because of how it`s going to be executed.

BROWN: Yes. It`s still not fully implemented. The regulations still aren`t fully promulgated, if you will, fully enforced and in place. And there`s more to do. I mean, we lost on my amendment two, three -- or two and a half years ago to break up the six largest banks, these trillion dollars -- literally six banks who are sized from 800 billion to 2.3 trillions dollars. They literally combined represent 65 percent of their assets -- 65 percent of the U.S. GDP.

They are too powerful. We will -- I expect -- I`m not speaking for Senator Warren, but I expect Elizabeth to join us in continuing those efforts to make this legislation stronger, make sure the enforcement powers are where they belong, and make sure regulators can do their jobs.

SCHULTZ: All right, President Obama has tried to reform Wall Street. He`s taken a lot of heat for it. They have accused him of being anti- business. Got a lot of positive figures out there in the economy. Does a second term present a great opportunity for him to follow through on Wall Street reform? Because there are some in the liberal community that think he was a disappointment in that regard.

BROWN: First of all, about the economy, my state right after the auto rescue -- when the auto rescue began to take hold, my state`s unemployment rate, Ohio, was 10.6 percent. Today, it`s down to 6.9 percent. And that`s because of a lot of things. Partly Wall Street reform, partly trade enforcement that you`ve talked about on this show repeatedly, Ed, and partly the auto rescue, all of those things together.

I think the president knows that we need to continue to make sure the regulations are strong. Part of that is done by his administration and part of it is by Congress. But we know he will work with Senator Merkley, who has been very involved in this, Senator Jack Reid, Senator Menendez, Senator Schumer, people who have been involved on the consumer side of these issues. And I`m optimistic we move forward on this.

SCHULTZ: All right, Senator Sherrod Brown, thanks for joining us tonight here on THE ED SHOW. Thanks so much.


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