Cain: Not rich? No job? Blame yourself
October 5th, 2011
04:33 PM ET
10 years ago

Cain: Not rich? No job? Blame yourself

(CNN) – If you're dissatisfied with the economy, or unemployed, Herman Cain thinks you should take a long, hard look in the mirror.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal posted Wednesday, the up-and-coming GOP 2012 contender and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza summed up his bewilderment about recent demonstrations on Wall Street.

"Don't blame Wall Street," Cain said. "Don't blame the big banks. If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself."

The conservative radio talk show host described the protests as "planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration, though he admitted he didn't "have the facts to back this up."

Demonstrators have gathered to protest big banks during the "Occupy Wall Street" movement, but their grievances don't end with the economy. The protesters, mainly youth in their twenties, have addressed issues from police brutality to union busting, although they are also upset with the war in Afghanistan, the environment, and the state of the world in general.

The "Occupy Wall Street" movement has also drawn support from unions.

But for Cain, the demonstrations simply amount to "anti-capitalism."

Allowing the banks had a "big part" in the 2008 economic crisis, the candidate, who's known for his bombast and has been rising in national polls pointed out, "We're in 2011, okay?"

"When I was growing up I was blessed to have had parents. That didn't teach me to be jealous of anybody and didn't teach me to be jealous of somebody," Cain explained.

"It is not a person's fault because they succeeded. It is a person's fault if they failed. And so this is why I don't understand these demonstrations and what is it that they're looking for."

Cain spokesman JD Gordon declined to add a comment on the candidate's interview.

Also see:

State of the Race without Christie

Romney picks up new backers

Perry brings in $17 million in third fundraising quarter

Filed under: 2012 • Economy • Herman Cain • Jobs • Wall Street
soundoff (328 Responses)
  1. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    the people who like this kind of talk are always the ones that are gainfully employed and not really worried about losing their jobs. And just WHAT percent of the country is that? I do have a job a good one and I am thankful for that and no I am NOT rich so I guess that's my fault as well. Herman Cain is out of touch with the average American but that palys real well in this current Republican party.

    October 5, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  2. RobertFTL

    Cain haven't you heard the old adage "it takes money to make money". If banks don't loan money to entrepreneurs anymore, how do you succeed in today world? If you don't have collateral banks don't loan and somehow we are failures!

    October 5, 2011 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  3. GaryB

    I don't think that people are jealous. People just want a slightly more level playing field. Cain, like many rich people, doesn't understand how huge a part luck can play in getting rich, The fact is, most people in this country in the top 1% (for example, Mitt Romney) are there because their family had money and/or connections that gave them opportunities that most of us can only dream about. That's not sour grapes, that's just life. Now Hermann Cain may not have had those advantages, and he may have worked hard, So what? So do millions of others. But for whatever reason, usually beyond their control, they just don't happen to be at the exact right place when a big opportunity develops. Or they're just not ruthless enough to pursue wealth at all costs (talk to former Godfather Pizza employees if you want some insight into how Mr. Cain built his wealth).

    October 5, 2011 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. Tim Gard

    What a fantastic sound bite. For everybody.

    October 5, 2011 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. KeithTexas

    Cain is bewildered because he is completely out of touch with the plight of American working people. Not presidential material at all, we have had all the ivory tower guys we can afford.

    October 5, 2011 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  6. FactCheck

    Straight out of Wikipedia: "Aiming to cut costs, Cain over a 14-month period reduced the company from 911 stores down to 420. As a result of his efforts, Godfather's Pizza finally became profitable."

    On second thought maybe that's not a bad idea... if he wants to improve the economy, why doesn't he reduce the least profitable states right out of the Union.

    October 5, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Jeff

    I see where he is coming from. People need to take responsibility and adapt. However, I do think the corporate structure is not sustainable the way it is. The payscale needs to flatten accross organizations. More money needs to be distributed to shareholders. Less emphasis should be placed on growth and more on cash flow (dividends). 10 years ago, I decided not to buy stocks but rather invest in rental properties. I don't regret this decision one bit. The corporate structure is broken in this country and the small time investor has zero influence. Wealth is concentrating at the top, and it will probably continue to accelerate. I also think social unrest will increase as well.

    October 5, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. B

    He is so typical of the Republican Insensitive Clod that could care less about people !

    October 5, 2011 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. SML

    you can not really believe that the ego-centric middle aged teen promoting class war is really leading this country anywhere
    where is the hope change thing at? and to what point? crisis for re-election? please let that tenn go home PLEASE so we can get back to work- TOGETHER- as a strong country TOGETHER – United we win- divided we FAIL

    October 5, 2011 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  10. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Gee Herb... It wonderful to hear that you made it all on your own without any help from anyone else. All your own drive and ambition. Probably never stepped on anyone else to get to where you are, either... Now why don't you just tell us how you expect to get elected President without relying on anyone else... Gonna vote yourself in?

    October 5, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  11. Barbara

    I'll take the blame for not being rich. But as for being unemployed? NO! Too many jobs left this country. Too many people not willing to hire. I will NOT take the blame for being unemployed!!!!

    October 5, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    What a disgusting comment. I would be money that Mr. Cain would be the first to tell you that professional athletes with multi-million dollar contracts are grossly overpaid.

    October 5, 2011 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  13. Jamey

    In context of the quote, the term "Rich" is arbitrary. What is Herman Cain's definition?

    October 5, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. Steve

    I guess everyone can be millionaires and billionaires.

    October 5, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  15. Creature from Jekyll Island

    Socializing losses and privatizing gains is neither the definition of success nor capitalism, but it is the definition of kleptocracy. And if you can't admit that, then you are just another proponent of the current system, Mr. Cain.

    October 5, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  16. David

    Short of Cain himself and a few members of his Godfathers pizza executive team all of his staff worked for wages that didn't allow them to break out of poverty, and clearly didn't provide the families with opportunity to provide their children with an education. Cains business model was minimum wage and maximum profits.

    October 5, 2011 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Southerner

    Wow lotta whining here. If you stop being offended and think it through you'll realize he's right. All these people "waiting for the government to create jobs for them" need to go out and create a job for themselves.

    October 5, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  18. ZweiStein

    Think you can purchase a house, car, insurance, electricity etc while cutting grass and trimming bushes? Get real Cain!

    October 5, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  19. Craig Knapp

    Cain is long as you believe you are responsible for your own outcome in life. The US Government provides a secure Nation through the Military, our Rule of Law protects us from our own citizens who are lazy and would steal from you merely to get by...this safe, secure environment provides a safe secure environment, within which, you may choose to create your own opportunity by educating yourself, getting an apprenticeship (could be a minimum wage job at which you learn a skill, then work your way up the promotion system), or open your own business. You can choose success or failure in this environment. Craig Knapp Age 50

    October 5, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  20. Voice of Reason

    Can someone please get this egomaniacal dinosaur OFF the national stage? He's an embarrassment to sober people everywhere. His delusions of adequacy cause his mouth to run, but his brain to stall.

    With MILLIONS out of work, and not enough jobs or money to go around – with good people everywhere out of work because their bank failed, or the boss failed, or the economy went into the toilet – His answer is THIS? That they're just lazy? Grrrr...

    October 5, 2011 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  21. DH

    What gang of disgusting crooks the conservatives are. Always blame the victim of their crimes.
    Who in the world can be so imbecile as to vote for something like that ?

    October 5, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  22. Cindy

    "described the protests as "planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration"??? Don't you think the protests are rather pointedly putting up a glaring spotlight on them? We hired Obama to clean up corporate greed but it's just been more of the same so far.

    October 5, 2011 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  23. Lynne

    Here is my question....If the Republican party thinks the Government is so evil, why do they want to run it so bad? Doesn't that just make them part of the big bad evil?

    October 5, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. James Smith

    The problem with Cain's argument (it is your fault if you fail) is that there is 1) simply too much pure luck involved, and 2) your economic future is largely determined by the affluence of the family you are born into. The more difficult the environment becomes, the greater the influence that these two things have on prosperity. It is not as simple as, if you just work hard you will be prosperous.

    October 5, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  25. smk

    Cain is 64- so when he was growing up in 50s and 60s, there were many people risking their lives in the civil rights movement, which laid the foundation for him to have success. Prior to the civil rights movement, the only job he could get in the pizza industry, was as a bus boy, and he would be called a "boy" well in to manhood. The nearly pathological selfishness of some people on the right is just flat scary. As my Grandpa used to say, "Some folks are born on third base, and think they hit a triple" – People need to have access and opportunity before they can apply hard work to achieve success. I have no doubt that Mr. Cain is a hard working guy and very worthy of the success he has achieved in business. There are plenty of hard working people who are SHUT OUT of the system, much as members of the African American community were before civil rights. So much wealth, power, and access has shifted a tiny minority at the top. I'm sure college was a lot more accessible and affordable in the 60s when Mr. Cain went to school. That access, that affordability, was something that was FOUGHT FOR by people committed to making life better for future generations.

    October 5, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14