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Obama Assures Business Leaders: I Am Not A Socialist

November 19, 2013 by  

Speaking at The Wall Street Journal’s 2013 CEO Council, President Barack Obama said that “rhetoric” and political “tactics” are to blame for the Federal government’s gridlock. The President also assured the gathering of business leaders that, contrary to popular belief, he is not a socialist.

“We know what the challenges are, we know what the solutions are,” Obama said. “Some of them are tough, but what’s holding us back is not a lack of good policy ideas or even what used to be considered good bipartisan policy ideas. We just have to break through the stubborn cycle of crisis politics and start working together.”

The President went on to say that, while Republicans and Democrats argue over “details,” the two Parties hold similar views on a variety of issues.

“If we can get beyond the tactical advantages that parties perceive in painting folks as extreme and trying to keep an eye always on the next election and for awhile at least just focus on governing, then there is probably 70 percent overlap on a whole range of issues,” he said. “There are going to be differences on the details and those details matter and I’ll fight very hard for them but we shouldn’t think that somehow the reason we’ve got these problems is because our policy differences are so great.”

President Obama also told the group that his worries about income inequality have unfairly led many people to claim he is a socialist.

“People call me a socialist sometimes, but you’ve got to meet real socialists, you’ll have a real sense of what a socialist is,” he said. “I’m talking about lowering the corporate tax rate, my health care reform is based on the private marketplace, the stock market is doing pretty good the last time I checked and it is true that I am concerned about growing inequality in the system, but nobody questions the efficacy of a market economy in terms of producing wealth and innovation and keeping us competitive.”

Of course, some Americans who believe the President to have socialistic tendencies may just be focusing too much on the past. During an October 19, 1998 conference at Loyola University, Obama said that government needs to, “[P]ool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution. At least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.”

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