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Rick Santorum: 'I Have No Problem With Income Inequality'

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RICK SANTORUM IOWA CAUCUS 2012 INCOME INEQUALITY
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Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said Tuesday that he was "for" income inequality, but also wanted "equality of opportunity."

"The reason you see some sympathy among the American public for them is the grave concern -- and it's a legitimate one -- that blue-collar workers, lower-income workers, are having a harder and harder time rising," said the former Pennsylvania senator at a campaign stop in Pella, Iowa, according to the Des Moines Register.

"They talk about income inequality. I'm for income inequality. I think some people should make more than other people, because some people work harder and have better ideas and take more risk, and they should be rewarded for it. I have no problem with income inequality."

He then launched an attack at President Barack Obama. "President Obama is for income equality. That's socialism. It's worse yet, it's Marxism. ... I'm not for income equality. I'm not for equality of result -- I'm for equality of opportunity."

Obama decried the politics of income inequality in a recent "60 Minutes" interview. "The problem is that our politics has gotten to the point where we can't have an honest conversation about the greatest income inequality since the 1920s," he said.

Obama said in February 2010 that he does not "begrudge" bonuses paid to the CEOs of JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. "I, like most of the American people, don't begrudge people success or wealth. That is part of the free-market system," he said.

In a speech in Osawatomie, Kansas earlier this month, Obama called for "making sure that everyone in America gets a fair shot at success." He also said that rising income inequality "hurts us all."

Income inequality has worsened in recent years. A study by the Congressional Budget Office showed that the top 1 percent of earners saw their incomes rise by 275 percent from 1979 to 2007, while the bottom 20 percent of earners saw their incomes rise by less than 20 percent, and the middle 60 percent of earners' incomes rose by less than 40 percent during the same time.

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