Though one might point to Bill Gates as an example of the American dream, President Obama gave a different answer during a press conference yesterday, pointing to Apple CEO Steve Jobs as a symbol of an American we’d expect to be rich, reports CNET. The statement came as Obama was answering questions about the rich and accusations that he wants to “spread the wealth.”
First he spoke broadly: “What is a fact is that people in the top 1 percent, people in the top one-tenth of 1 percent, or one-hundredth of 1 percent have a larger share of income and wealth than any time since the 1920s,” said President Obama. “Those are just facts. That’s not a feeling on the part of Democrats. Those are facts.”
He continued, this time bringing up the American dream and Steve Jobs. “And something that’s always been the greatest strength of America is a thriving, booming middle class, where everybody has got a shot at the American dream. And that should be our goal. That should be what we’re focused on. How are we creating opportunity for everybody? So that we celebrate wealth. We celebrate somebody like a Steve Jobs, who has created two or three different revolutionary products. We expect that person to be rich, and that’s a good thing. We want that incentive. That’s part of the free market.”
An odd choice
While he has likely angered Apple fanboys by limiting The Jobs to only two or three revolutionary products, picking him is odd in the first place. While Jobs has definitely changed the tech space a few times, he’s an odd pick to represent of the American dream. While Microsoft alumni Bill Gates has changed tech several times, he also is spending the billions he’s earned giving back to communities and science through the Gates Foundation. Jobs is only worth $6.1 billion, far less than Gates, but hasn’t publicly donated even a million dollars to any organization or cause. It is possible that he is throwing billions at causes anonymously, but most individuals make their donations public.
What do you think? Is Steve Jobs a good pick for a representative of the “American dream?” Perhaps we’re over-analyzing Obama’s words?