Senator Chuck Schumer appeared on Morning Joe today to talk about debt ceiling negotiations, but the conversation quickly veered into a discussion with financier and Joe panelist Steven Rattner about growing income equality in the U.S.
Responding to a story in the Wall Street Journal about growing corporate profits but not commensurate job growth, Schumer said that the problem was that even big manufacturers have figured out a way to do more with less people.
Rattner, who oversaw President Obama’s overhaul of the auto industry, pointed out that even when factories hire, the jobs do not pay very much.
“It’s not just jobs, it’s also what they pay,” he said. “Volkswagen is paying $14.50 an hour in Chattanooga. That’s $30,000 a year. That’s not a middle class wage.”
Responded Schumer: “If middle income people don’t feel that the ladder keeps going up. You don’t have the American dream anymore. That’s serious stuff.”
Rattner’s net worth is believed to be between $200-$600 million. He was a major Democratic donor until he was implicated in a pay-to-play investigation by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo in 2009.
Schumer also said that he thought the debt ceiling plan put forth by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, which includes no new revenues, a package of cuts that equals the debt ceiling increase, and no need for another increase in the near future, would be the one that passed.
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