Former Vice President Joe Biden spoke at a $2,800-a-head fundraiser on Wednesday and called for “reordering capitalism” to “save it.”
Biden, the Democrat frontrunner, made the remarks to a group of wealthy campaign donors in Chicago, Illinois, while discussing how to rebuild the middle class.
“Things have changed in a way that needs to be turned around,” Biden said. “It doesn’t require socialism and it doesn’t require some fundamental shift. It requires sort of reordering capitalism to make capitalism work and save it.”
He said that is the only way to give the middle class “a little bit of breathing room” in the face of rising economic inequality.
Biden did not elaborate on what “reordering capitalism” would entail. His vagueness is not necessarily surprising. Since announcing his presidential campaign, Biden has repeatedly touted his desire to “rebuild the middle class” but has provided few policy details for accomplishing the goal. In comparison, other 2020 Democrats, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), have released entire policy platforms about their plans to help the American worker.
Few of the outlets covering the remarks, however, noted the irony that Biden chose to critique capitalism at a high-profile fundraiser flanked by wealthy donors and elected officials.
The event was held at the luxury high rise residence of Robert Wislow, a real estate magnate and Democrat mega-donor, in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood. Once labeled as the seventh richest urban neighborhood in the country, Gold Coast is an elite enclave, home to some of the city’s most influential citizens.
Wislow, who co-hosted the fundraiser with longtime Biden confidant William Singer, is the chairman of the Chicago office of CBRE Group. The company, which is the largest commercial real estate and investment firm in the world, had a revenue of $21.3 billion in 2018.
Tickets for the event, which was announced this month, were $2,800 per person—the maximum contribution allowed by the Federal Election Commission per election cycle. The guest list included former Obama-era Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL), along with a host of local elected officials and business leaders. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, those attending the exclusive 56th-floor fundraiser were treated to “sweeping views” of the Chicago skyline, including Trump Tower in the distance.
It is unclear how many individuals attended the event or how much money was raised. In recent weeks, Biden’s campaign has been pushing members of its national finance committee to raise $100,000 by the end of the year.
Biden’s remarks regarding “reordering capitalism” came on the same day Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a fellow White House contender, offered a public defense of democratic socialism. In a speech delivered to students at George Washington University, Sanders lambasted what he saw as “an economy that is fundamentally broken, and grotesquely unfair.”
“Millions of people get involved in the political process to reclaim our democracy by having the courage to take on the powerful corporate interests whose greed is destroying the social and economic fabric of our country,” Sanders said.