Sherrod Brown Decries Wall Street Bonuses

ABC News’ David Chalian reports: Sen. Sherrod Brown’s (D-OH) populist streak was on full display today in response to Ken Feinberg’s announcement that executive salaries will be severely cut at businesses with taxpayer financed bailout money.

On ABC News’ “Top Line” today, Sen. Brown appeared unconcerned about the potential “brain drain” effect the salary cuts will have in the financial sector.

“Well where have these people led us?,” Brown asked. “These brilliant people on Wall Street that have produced so much money for themselves and they’re such geniuses, where have they led this country? They’ve made money for themselves, but they’re not funding, they’re not capitalizing, they’re not providing credit to manufacturers,” he added as he pointed to struggling businesses back in his home state.

“So I just don’t buy this, these brilliant minds out there that went to Harvard Business School are making the world safe for democracy, no they’re not. They’re making the world safe for themselves, but they’re not helping the economy. To me, now I don’t care if they make millions, as long as the economy is running better, but they’ve drove it into the ground, and they want to keep paying bonuses themselves, no thank you.”

In anticipation of a merged health care reform bill soon to emerge from behind closed doors, Sen. Brown stuck to his guns on opposing a public option with a trigger mechanism as suggested as a potential compromise on the controversial issue by the one Republican, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME), who has thus far supported health care reform legislation in the Senate.

“The trigger doesn’t work, I mean 50 or more than 50 members of the Senate are supportive of the public option, a straight forward public option even if it’s a state opt-out,” said Sen. Brown of the compromise the Senate may employ in its version of the legislation.

“The trigger is a way the insurance companies win and the insurance companies are going to get 30 or 40 million new customers even with a public option. They don’t need to right this legislation, they’ve had too much influence. . . in this chamber for too many years and those days are over,” Sen. Brown added.

Sen. Brown predicted the bill coming out of the Senate will likely include a public option with a provision for states to opt out of providing that option to consumers.

Watch the entire interview with Sen. Brown HERE :

We also chatted with one of the best political reporters in the business. Chris Cillizza, author of “The Fix” blog at , stopped by to take a look at the 2010 electoral landscape.

Be sure to check out Chris’ take on whether or not a 2010 wave is building for the GOP as it continues to battle some rough poll numbers and his surprise at DSCC Chairman Bob Menendez’s answer to our question about the single best pickup opportunity for the Democrats in 2010.

Watch the entire interview with the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza HERE :

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