Quote of the Day: Obama Is a Free Market Guy

I am a pro-growth, free market guy. I love the market. I think it is the best invention to allocate resources and produce enormous prosperity for America or the world that’s ever been designed.”
Barack Obama

This looks like a good quote to refer back to when the right wingers claim Obama is a socialist. This is not to say he’s a supporter of laissez-faire capitalism. Here’s the full statement in context with the question which he was responding to.

HARWOOD: On your general approach to business, you have criticized trade deals as not in the interests of American workers. You’ve talked about Wall Street speculators tricking people out of their homes, you’ve hit corporations for outsourcing. Are you a populist, and do you have any concern that your agenda might end up doing some damage to a US and global economic system that, though it’s struggling now, has delivered a lot of benefits to a lot of people over the last 25 years?

Sen. OBAMA: Look. I am a pro-growth, free market guy. I love the market. I think it is the best invention to allocate resources and produce enormous prosperity for America or the world that’s ever been designed.

As I said before, I think what’s happened is that the market has gotten out of balance. This isn’t the first time it happened. It happens often, particularly during periods of great technological and economic change. It happened, you know, when we moved from farms to factories. It happened when we shifted from factories to the information age. We’re still in the process of adapting to this new environment. And there are those of us who have done very well in this new global economy. A lot of dislocations have taken place. And all I’ve said is let’s make sure that our economy takes into account not just the winners but also the losers in the economy.

Let’s make sure that the burdens and benefits of globalization are fairly distributed. Let’s make sure that we are investing in what’s required for long-term growth. And I don’t think there’s any market advocate who would suggest that if our schools are underperforming, if our investment in basic science and research is declining, if young people can’t afford to go to college, if our health-care system is broken and more expensive delivering less in terms of quality care than any other advanced nation, that those are good things for the market, then, you know, we should go ahead and make those investments, make those changes, to make this marketplace work better. That’s my basic philosophy.

And on trade deals, I believe in free trade. And as somebody who lived overseas, who has family overseas, I’ve seen what’s happened in terms of rising living standards around the globe. And that’s a good thing for America, it’s good for our national security. But what I also believe is that if trade agreements are written only with corporate profits and Wall Street in mind and not with its possible effects on Main Street, then we’re only seeing half of the equation, and we’ve got to take those into account.

Update: The full transcript of the interview is available here.

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