Tom Brokaw Warns 'Income Inequality' Could Lead to 'Class War'

Appearing as a guest on Wednesday's Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN ,as he discussed the Occupy Wall Street protests, former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw warned that a "class war" could develop unless "income inequality" is addressed. Brokaw:

They've landed on something that I think resonates with a lot of people, and that's the one percent versus 99 percent. Most people, the overwhelming majority obviously, are in the 99 percent. And there is that great concern about income inequality in this country.

In the course of the last three weeks, I've been all over America, 19 cities altogether. And I've had a lot of high-income people come to me and say we really do have to do something about income inequality because that could trigger a class war in this country. And the consequences are not very pretty to contemplate.

A bit earlier, host Piers Morgan brought up Time magazine's decision to designate "The Protester" as its "Person of the Year," which led to Brokaw paying a compliment to the success of the Tea Party movement, although he seemed to try to distance himself from sounding as if he were agreeing with the Tea Party agenda as he noted that "they may not be what you think of as the best interest of the country." Brokaw:

One of the important developments in the protest movement, sometimes gets overlooked. And that's the Tea Party. The Tea Party began as a protest movement. And as I've said on several occasions and I am determined to repeat here again tonight, the Tea Party played by the rules. They got angry. They got organized. They got to Washington. They stayed on message.

And they may not be what you think of as the best interest of the country, but they're driving the debate on the Republican side now more than any other component of the Republican Party. And that's because they are determined to remain disciplined and faithful to what they believe in.

Below is a transript of the relevant portion of the Wednesday, December 15, Piers Morgan Tonight on CNN:

PIERS MORGAN: Time magazine today announced its "Person of the Year," which is always a pretty prestigious and controversial choice normally. They went for a generic, "The Protester." What did you think of that choice?

TOM BROKAW: I thought it was a good call, frankly. I think that there is a lot of unhappiness and a lot of anxiety out there. And, by the way, I think, kind of, one of the important developments in the protest movement, sometimes gets overlooked. And that's the Tea Party. The Tea Party began as a protest movement. And as I've said on several occasions and I am determined to repeat here again tonight, the Tea Party played by the rules. They got angry. They got organized. They got to Washington. They stayed on message.

And they may not be what you think of as the best interest of the country, but they're driving the debate on the Republican side now more than any other component of the Republican Party.And that's because they are determined to remain disciplined and faithful to what they believe in. I think it's an object lesson for other groups who want to get organized or other groups who are not happy with the current condition of the political debate in this country. Take a page from the Tea Party. Go out and get organized, and rally around whatever you believe in.

MORGAN: Do you see, Tom, do you see any kind of synergy between Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring uprisings? I mean, is there a common thread there or are they very different distinct protests?

BROKAW: Well, I think it's a very different. First of all, Occupy Wall Street is not calling for the overthrow of their government. And however many flaws that we have here, we still have a representative government. I think part of the problem with Occupy wall Street at the moment is that they don't seem to have a well defined core. I've been at the rallies downtown in New York and on Wall Street. In Chicago there are only about 20 protesters outside. In fact, it was a very small presence. And Los Angeles, slightly larger.

But, again, it didn't have the kind of electricity that you would expect from that kind of a movement. Certainly, they've landed on something that I think resonates with a lot of people, and that's the one percent versus 99 percent. Most people, the overwhelming majority obviously, are in the 99 percent. And there is that great concern about income inequality in this country. In the course of the last three weeks, I've been all over America, 19 cities altogether. And I've had a lot of high-income people come to me and say we really do have to do something about income inequality because that could trigger a class war in this country. And the consequences are not very pretty to contemplate.