WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said corporate America has done well under his economic policies, telling the Economist magazine that chief executive officers should stop complaining about regulations and show greater social responsibility.
“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,” Obama said in an interview conducted last week and posted on the magazine’s website late on Saturday.
Republicans have sought to portray Obama as anti-business, and businesses have complained that Obama’s signature healthcare law and the Dodd-Frank financial reforms have raised costs.
Business groups are lobbying against his new plan to curb climate-changing carbon emissions from power plants.
“I would take the complaints of the corporate community with a grain of salt,” Obama said, arguing that his policies have been friendly to business. “They always complain about regulation. That’s their job.”
Obama has increasingly promoted populist economic measures such as raising the minimum wage to motivate Democratic voters ahead of critical November congressional elections, in which his Democrats face the prospect of losing control of the Senate.
“Oftentimes, you’ll hear some hedge-fund manager say, ‘Oh, he’s just trying to stir class resentment’. No. Feel free to keep your house in the Hamptons and your corporate jet, etcetera. I’m not concerned about how you’re living,” Obama 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,” he said.