Obama in 1998 Speech: ‘I Actually Believe in Redistribution’

Tuesday, 18 Sep 2012 05:20 PM

By Paul Scicchitano

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An audio recording of President Barack Obama surfaced on social media Tuesday in which the president can be clearly heard telling a Loyola University audience in 1998 that he believes in the “redistribution” of wealth in America, something that his critics have long charged.

“I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution — at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot,” Obama can be heard saying.

The audio file, which was posted on YouTube, purports to be from an Oct. 19, 1998 conference at Loyola University, where Obama, then an Illinois state senator, termed the substance of his speech policy research “for the working poor broadly defined."



Obama’s GOP challenger, Mitt Romney, came under fire earlier this week after the release of a video tape showing him characterizing supporters of the president as people "dependent on the government" who "believe that they are victims."

In his remarks 14 years ago, Obama blamed a “propaganda campaign” in part for what he described as the notion challenging the effectiveness of government action.

“I don’t think it’s too strong to call it a propaganda campaign against the possibility of government action and its efficacy, and I think some of it has been deserved,” Obama acknowledged.

“The Chicago housing authority has not been a model of good policy-making and neither necessarily have been the Chicago public schools,” he added. “What that means then is that as we try to resuscitate this notion that we’re all in this thing together — leave nobody behind — we do have to be innovative in thinking what are the delivery systems that are actually effective and meet people where they live?”

Obama also maintained that there were both technical and political issues that had to be addressed in restructuring government systems that pool resources.

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