President Joe Biden continues to try to thread the needle on the general labeling of his administration, on Thursday identifying himself as a capitalist, with caveats.

“You all remember, it used to be the case in this country, when you were part of generating success of a company, you got to share in the benefits,” the president said in Cleveland. 

“By the way. I’m a capitalist. But here’s the deal,” Biden said, using the illustration that U.S. productivity has boosted the economy to growth “four times faster” than wages since 1979. 

“The basic bargain in this country has been broken.” 

Among the aforementioned caveats is Biden’s belief that executive wages have risen at rates shamefully exceeding those of the working class. 

“CEOs used to get paid 35, 36 times the average employee,” the president said. “Now it’s over 370 times more than the average employee. As my mother would say, who died and left them boss?”  

As for Biden’s attempt to till the middle ground, Republicans have turned up the heat for the president’s proposed expansion of the social safety net and the skyrocketing boost in government spending.  

Meanwhile, the more progressive Democrats have pressed Biden on items including student-loan forgiveness that is not expected to be included in the $1.7 trillion spending plan.

“We need to push him,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Tuesday during a virtual town hall. “I believe in full student loan debt cancellation, but we have to push him to at the bare minimum a floor of $50,000 that Sen. Warren and Sen. Schumer have also advanced.”

Biden was expected to provide details in unveiling the administration’s $6 trillion budget on Friday.

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