MTV NEWS, APRIL 10, 1996
from MTV's website

On the minimum wage debate:

Tabitha Soren, MTV News: There's a big minimum wage debate going on in the country. It's $4.25 right now. The Democrats want to put it up to $5.15 and the Republicans want to keep it at the rate it is now because they're afraid people will have to be fired... small businesses will have to fire people to afford that.

Chris Cornell: I'm surprised it's actually not higher. Mimimum wage doesn't grow with inflation and that's basically what it should do, no matter what. The idea to protect small businesses is always a good idea, but it seems like any sort of wage discussion is going to end up affecting large businesses more because they make more money.

And the large corporations in this country are making more money than they've ever made, but the wages seem to be going down. Particularly from a Republican standpoint, I have trouble believing that they're really too worried about small businesses. And even if you put all of those small businesses in one package and add up how much money these businesses generate and how much they can afford to pay, that's like a drop in the bucket compared to the major corporations whose interests they're a lot more concerned with.

And ultimately, it saves the large corporations a lot of money if they drop it. So, I think it's a really bad idea socially, too. You can't expect people to live with a lower and lower and lower poverty level. And then have these major corporations still making all this money and being happy about it, having a great life.

I mean, the whole thing will eventually implode or explode and everybody will suffer, whether it's a Mom and Pop store, or a major corporation. And if the whole thing collapses, everybody goes down with the ship. So you have to concern yourself with how much the average guy is making. If you're a billionaire, you have to concern yourself.

These aren't little ants that will just go away when you want them to.... real people that have real lives and families. And the more you ignore them and the more you consider big business interests at the expense of these people... it won't make sense fiscally, because the big businesses will run into trouble later. It makes good business sense to recognize that people need to earn money. And there's plenty of money to hand.

Soren: It's takes long-term thinking, though.

Cornell: That's true. Unless it's a politician that's 80 years old, they're going to have to deal with what comes around with the economic and social issues that are going to create a lot of big problems.

On "codified" speech: speech with intended racist overtones:

Cornell: It probably, sadly, doesn't have a negative effect in terms of people trying to get elected. Because all it is is a sales pitch and, like, weaving through the gauntlet of issues and, like, coming out on the other side without without having some serious wounds to your political career is all they're trying to do. Unfortunately, people that are really good at that usually get elected.

I think it definitely has a negative effect socially, but then, the end result is usually that whoever's the best at avoiding these issues is who's going to end up running the show. The best thing that anybody can do that's worried about any of those issues is to try to keep them on the forefront as much as possible. So it's impossible for somebody to constantly dodge these issues.

Ultimately, it's... people aren't really going to tell the truth. The people that do, that take a lot of heat -- Farrakhan takes a ton of heat basically because he says exactly what's on his mind. And I'd respect that more, even though I don't always agree with it, than I would respect Pat Buchanan. Because if he said what he was really thinking, I think it would be a lot worse.