Rep. Sherman Squares Off With Pro-Wall Street CNBC Host

On CNBC this morning, host Mark Haines — who is catching heat this morning for arguing that Wall Street can’t “be run well” by anyone making under $250,000 — was at it again defending the need for high executive bonuses in order to keep Wall Street running.

But Haines’ interviewee, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA), pushed right back at the host’s conspicuously pro-Wall Street line.

When Sherman observed that “most people on Main Street do not” agree that AIG can’t be put into government receivership (an assertion supported by recent polling on nationalization), Haines replied: “And what do the people on Main Street know about running a financial system?”

To which Sherman quipped: “What do AIG executives know about running a financial system? They only know how to destroy one.”

Video of the exchange is below, and a full transcript is posted after the jump.

HAINES: It does not go far enough, sir?

SHERMAN: Absolutely — it doesn’t deal with the Merrill Lynch bonuses, since they were paid in December, and worse than that it doesn’t deal with million-dollar-a-month salaries. More importantly, we should have AIG in receivership, they should’ve been put in receivership months ago, and we would have saved tens of billions of dollars. We wouldn’t see tens of billions going to the richest on Wall Street, and overseas — and of course, these bonus contracts would have been voided. We need receivership, and we need limits on salaries as well as bonuses.

HAINES: Well, receivership … I think most people agree, that would have caused some systemic problems.

SHERMAN: Most people on Wall Street agree. But most people on Main Street do not.

HAINES: And what do the people on Main Street know about running a financial system?

SHERMAN: What do AIG executives know about running a financial system? [crosstalk] They only know how to destroy one.

HAINES: This is witch-huntery. I’ll be perfectly honest with you.

SHERMAN: We don’t have to hunt the witches. We know who they are.

HAINES: You and people who share your opinions seem to think, you know, let’s hold salaries on Wall Street to $100,000. Do you have any idea what Wall Street would look like if you do that?

SHERMAN: Well, first of all, I wouldn’t set the limit at $100,000.

HAINES: Well, whatever. $250[,000]. All the business would go — all the business would go overseas, that’s the bottom line.

SHERMAN: Obama’s position is $500,000 plus unlimited restricted stock. That’s where I’m at as well, although I was actually at a higher level before Obama’s statement. But for you to assume that Wall Street is acting in the national interest flies in the face of recent reality.

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