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“We must ensure fairness at every level of the economic ladder,” U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told Kellogg students Oct. 28.

“We must ensure fairness at every level of the economic ladder,” U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told Kellogg students Oct. 28.

'A hand up, not a handout'

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor addresses income inequality and economic frustrations

By Amy Trang

11/3/2011 - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor believes that every American should have access to the opportunity to achieve success.

But he said that shouldn’t come at the cost of those who have already earned success.

“You don’t just take from the guy at the top to give to the guy at the bottom and expect our problems to be solved,” said Cantor (R-Virginia). “We must ensure fairness at every level of the economic ladder.”

"Republicans believe that what is fair is a hand up, not a handout," Cantor added. “We need to find a way to restore (the) faith that moving up the ladder, even slowly, is still possible in this country."

Cantor spoke to a packed audience of Kellogg students, faculty and staff on Oct. 28 at the James L. Allen Center on the Northwestern University campus.

Cantor praised small business owners and entrepreneurs, saying they are key to the success of America.

"Job creation does not last when it’s solely from the public sector. Sustainable job growth comes from robust private sector activity," Cantor said. "Putting disincentives in place – raising the price of risk – is going to dissuade entrepreneurs from actually engaging in that activity."

During the question-and-answer session after his speech, Cantor addressed topics that included healthcare, the government’s role in the economy and Occupy Wall Street protestors.

"Government’s role and the need for effective policy start with trying to provide that sense of stability to individuals who are not starting at the same equal starting place," Cantor said. "I don’t believe the government’s role is to ensure equal outcomes. If you believe the government’s role is that, then there will never be enough."

Cantor acknowledged that the protestors in the Occupy Wall Street movement are coming from a place of frustration over the future of the country. Cantor said the "ire is being focused in the wrong place."

"I don’t believe that it is something that we should do, to promote pitting one American against the other," Cantor said. "Washington and the policies that are being put into place (are what) we should focus on — that’s where we can help narrow the gap between the wealthy and the poor."