President Obama tells corporate America: 'Stop complaining'

President insists his administration is pro-business but calls on corporate America to do more to benefit society

Click to follow
The Independent Online

President Obama has a message for corporate America: stop complaining.

In an interview with The Economist, the US president insisted that his administration's economic policies have supported businesses and called on the one per cent to do more to tackle inequality and create more opportunities for Americans, not just their shareholders.

"If you look at what's happened over the last four or five years, the folks who don't have a right to complain are the folks at the top," he told the magazine.

Mr Obama, who vowed to raise the minimum wage in his State of the Union address earlier this year, has often been accused of fuelling class resentment, increasing the size of government and being anti-business.

His two main pieces of legislation, the Affordable Care Act- Obamacare- and the Dodd-Frank financial reform law met with resistance. Similarly, his recent proposal to reduce overall carbon dioxide emissions from domestic power plants in an effort to tackle climate change has been criticised by business lobbies and the National Association of Manufacturers.


But Mr Obama insisted that we should take the complaints of corporate America with a "grain of salt", adding: "They always complain about regulation. That’s their job."

Asked about his relation with America's richest people, or the so-called one per cent, the president said there is no resentment and he's not going after their wealth or looking to punish them for owning a mansion.

"Feel free to keep your house in the Hamptons and your corporate jet, etc. I’m not concerned about how you’re living," he said. "I am concerned about making sure that we have a system in which the ordinary person who is working hard and is being responsible can get ahead and is seeing modest improvements in their life prospects."