During a CBS News town hall meeting that aired Thursday morning, President Obama fielded questions about the nation’s economy, which he said is recovering though not as quickly as he would like. Obama also acknowledged the fact that the American dream is getting more difficult to achieve.
“I think a lot of people just feel like the American dream, the core notion that if you work hard and you act responsibly, that you can pass on a better life to your kids and your grandkids—a lot of folks aren’t feeling that anymore,” the president said during his town hall, which was taped Wednesday afternoon.
A woman from North Carolina asked in an email whether uncertainty over the economy is preventing employers from creating new jobs. Obama responded that employers are actually feeling more confident, pointing to the past three consecutive months of sustained private-sector job growth. But CBS News moderator Rebecca Jarvis noted that private-sector businesses are making record profits.
“They have $2 trillion of cash to spend. If this isn’t the right circumstance for raising wages, and really going out and employing new people, what will be?” she asked.
Obama recalled how when the economy was on the verge of crashing in 2008, American taxpayer dollars were used to help stabilize it, and the time has come for the banks and businesses that benefitted to return the favor.
“It is time for companies to step up,” Obama said. “American taxpayers contributed to that process of stabilizing the economy. Companies have benefited from that, and they’re making a lot of money. And now’s the time for them to start betting on American workers and American products.”
The same principle, he added, must be applied to banks that haven’t fully cooperated in the administration’s efforts to prevent massive numbers of foreclosures.
“If we were there for you when you got into trouble, then you've got to be there for the American people when they're having a tough time,” Obama said.