Schumer: Wall Street 'hatred' on left is 'counterproductive'

The “visceral hatred of Wall Street” from some liberals is “counterproductive,” according to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

In an interview with The New Republic, Schumer said he tried to strike a “careful balance” in dealing with the financial sector, which has come under heavy fire since the recession but remains big business in his home state.

He contended that the industry is not the exclusive home of high-priced traders, but create jobs for lots of “average folks.”

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“You just don’t attack Wall Street because they’re successful or rich,” he said.

“You don’t want to go after them for the sake of going after them. The left-wing blogs want you to be completely and always anti-Wall Street. It’s not the right way to be,” he added.

In the interview, Schumer’s take on Wall Street was compared to that of noted big bank critic Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The freshman senator, who Schumer helped recruit, has become a favorite on the left primarily due to her harsh stance on the financial sector.

Schumer did not accuse Warren of turning Wall Street into villains, but instead said elements of the “far left” were pushing it too far.

“I’m not saying Elizabeth does this, but there are some on the far left who just have a visceral hatred of Wall Street. It’s counterproductive,” he said.

The No. 3 Democrat in the Senate could serve as the next chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. The current head, Sen. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), has announced his plans to retire at the end of his term in 2014.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the only Democrat with more seniority on the panel than Schumer, is in line to take over the Senate Armed Services Committee following the retirement of Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.).

Schumer has yet to indicate publicly if he wants the Banking gavel, and many have speculated he could be eyeing a run at Senate Majority Leader if Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) retires in 2016.

For his part, Schumer said he gets Wall Street criticism from both sides, and thinks he has struck a good middle ground.

“It’s sort of funny. People on Wall Street think I haven’t done enough for them, and people on the left think I’ve done too much for Wall Street,” he said. “On this one, I go by my internal gyroscope, and I’m pretty happy about where I’ve come down.”