Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has said that the White House's Wall Street reform plan did not go far enough. In an interview with The New York Times Magazine published online on Tuesday, President Obama defended his plan by saying "It is true that we have not dismantled the financial system, and in that sense, Bernie Sanders’s critique is correct."
Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, has often called for breaking up America's biggest banks.
Obama suggested that may be unrealistic by stating, "But one of the things that I’ve consistently tried to remind myself during the course of my presidency is that the economy is not an abstraction. It’s not something that you can just redesign and break up and put back together again without consequences."
The president then went after the economic plans of the Republican presidential candidates by saying, "If you look at the platforms, the economic platforms of the current Republican candidates for president, they don’t simply defy logic and any known economic theories, they are fantasy."
Obama continued, "The policies, such as cutting taxes for the rich and erasing environmental regulations, won’t create “5 percent or 7 percent growth ... while balancing the budget. The policies, such as cutting taxes for the rich and erasing environmental regulations, won’t create “5 percent or 7 percent growth ... while balancing the budget."
Given that the 2016 presidential election is only a few months away, Obama's economic policies have come back into the spotlight. In fact, many Americans are likely to cast their vote based on how they see the country performing under the president’s watch.
Obama stated, "I actually compare our economic performance to how, historically, countries that have wrenching financial crises perform. By that measure, we probably managed this better than any large economy on Earth in modern history." He went on to say, "I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter, then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate."
Obama did admit the economy could stand to grow at a faster pace. The interview was released the same day the Commerce Department announced that the economy grew at only 0.5 percent in the first three months of 2016, the slowest pace in two years. Obama explained, "I can probably tick off three or four common-sense things we could have done where we’d be growing a percentage or two faster each year. We could have brought down the unemployment rate lower, faster. We could have been lifting wages even faster than we did."