President Obama today cited Apple CEO Steve Jobs' product success as an example of a person who Americans should "expect to be rich" as an incentive for others.
Responding to a reporter's question, the president prefaced his comments about Steve Jobs and Apple by saying, "What is...a fact is that people in the top 1 percent, people in the top one-tenth of 1 percent, or one-hundredth of 1 percent have a larger share of income and wealth than any time since the 1920s. Those are just facts. That's not a feeling on the part of Democrats. Those are facts."
Which segued into the comments about Apple. "And something that's always been the greatest strength of America is a thriving, booming middle class, where everybody has got a shot at the American dream. And that should be our goal. That should be what we're focused on. How are we creating opportunity for everybody? So that we celebrate wealth. We celebrate somebody like a Steve Jobs, who has created two or three different revolutionary products. We expect that person to be rich, and that's a good thing. We want that incentive. That's part of the free market," he said.
Obama also cited his confab with some of America's top CEOs on December 16, including Google CEO Eric Schmidt and Intel CEO Paul Otellini.
"All of us have to be in a conversation with the private sector about what's going to ensure that we can export and sell our products instead of just buying exports from someplace else. How do we make sure that the green technologies of the future are made here in America? And how do we get all these profits that companies have been making since the economy recovered into productive investment and hiring? That's a conversation that I had with the 20 CEOs who came here, and that's a conversation I expect to continue in the months ahead," he said.
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