House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who has had plenty of criticism for the Occupy Wall Street protesters, plans to address this week an issue that the 99 percent movement has made the central part of their platform: income inequality.
Cantor is scheduled to speak Friday at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, where he'll discuss income disparity and what the GOP believes government's role should be in fixing it. An aide for Cantor told Politico that the speech will address how lawmakers in Washington can help average citizens such as single mothers and small business owners, as well as how we can make sure the people at the top stay there.
The Virginia congressman has said some Occupy Wall Street protesters -- as well as the Democrats who support them -- are essentially pitting Americans against Americans, something he's trying to distance Republicans from by emphasizing how Americans can all work together to solve the nation's economic problems. However, it was only last month that many congressional Republicans used the term class warfare to attack a move by the Obama administration to increase taxes on millionaires.
Cantor Originally Characterized Occupy Wall Street Activists as Mobs
Cantor was attacked by Democrats in recent weeks after he called the Occupy Wall Street protesters mobs while discussing the movement with a group of conservative activists. Since then, Cantor has apologized for the remark, although he's repeatedly declined to say whether he'd renounce his comment about the protesters.
To sit here and vilify one sector of the economy, industries, etc. is not helpful. People are lacking confidence right now. We have elected leaders stirring the pot right now. That is not good, said Cantor, when asked if he regretted the comment.
During a weekend appearance on Fox News Sunday, the congressman said the House GOP's agenda of rolling back regulations, reducing the corporate tax rate and cutting spending gives private companies the best way to encourage job creation, arguing those policies would give companies a change to grow and ultimately increase economic mobility. Higher taxes on the wealthy -- whom conservatives often classify as job creators -- would only impede growth, he argued.
Like other conservatives who have spoken out against the Occupy Wall Street movement and its activism against corporations, Cantor has said that he believes there's a substantive difference between those and the Tea Party protests against the U.S. government.
The Tea Party were very different. The Tea Party were individuals attempting to address their grievance from the government they elected, said Cantor. Occupy Wall Street protesters are pitting themselves against others outside government in America. That's a difference.