House Majority Leader: People need fair shot, not fair share

Oct 31, 2011

The majority leader of the U.S. House says wealth redistribution is not the answer to the nation’s economic disparities. Virginia Congressman Eric Cantor spoke at the University of Michigan today.

Cantor was heckled by a handful of audience members for his message that the government should give “a hand up, not a handout” to those who need it.

He spoke to a crowd that included about a dozen people who stood with their backs to Cantor and wore shirts with slogans like “tax the rich.” Cantor said that’s the wrong message.

"The goal shouldn’t be for everyone to meet in the middle of the ladder," he said. "We should be wanting all people to be moving up, and no one to be pulled down."

Dozens of people protested outside the building where Cantor delivered his speech. Several carried cardboard tombstones with the words "RIP middle class."

U of M student Jordan Harris wore a costume to the demonstration. But not, she said, because it's Halloween.

"I'm here as a zombie to represent the lack of humanity I and my fellow zombies... see in corporate America," she said.

Cantor said the national conversation about income inequality should be about how to accelerate income mobility. He said government’s role should be to help encourage family stability, and give tools to small business that will help them thrive.