Eric Cantor may have cancelled Friday’s lecture on income inequality out of concerns protestors would dominate the audience, but you can still read his prepared remarks, in which the congressman calls on students to take after Steve Jobs and start their own business. The GOP Majority Leader’s office sent the complete speech to The Daily Pennsylvanian, UPenn’s campus newspaper.
“There is a ladder of success in America,” Cantor wrote. “However, it is a ladder built not by Washington, but by hard work, responsibility and the initiative of the people of our country.”
He offered his own family as an example, recounting how his grandmother managed to make a life in America after emigrating from Eastern Europe even though “in the early 20th century, the South wasn’t often the most accepting place for a young Jewish woman.”
Cantor addressed the growing debate over whether the rich are paying their fair share, but never mentioned the growing Occupy Wall Street movement, whose planned protests led to his speech’s cancellation, by name.
“There are politicians and others who want to demonize people that have earned success in certain sectors of our society,” he wrote. “They claim that these people have now made enough, and haven’t paid their fair share. But, pitting Americans against one another tends to deflate the aspirational spirit of our people and fade the American dream.”
He added that Americans “goal shouldn’t be for everyone to meet in the middle of the ladder. We should want all people to be moving up and no one to be pulled down.”
Cantor said the late Steve Jobs exemplified the notion that allowing small businesses to flourish would eventually bring widespread prosperity.
“Through his example, you can see that America needs more than a jobs plan,” he wrote. “It needs a Steve Jobs plan. In a Steve Jobs Plan, those who are successful not only create good jobs and services that make our lives better, they also give back and help everyone move just a little bit further up the ladder and everybody wins.”
You can read his full remarks here.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.