After a series of awkward moments in which she was criticized for her personal fortune, Hillary Clinton seems to have found a way to strike a balance between taking a progressive position on income inequality and acknowledging her wealth.
In an interview with the German outlet Der Spiegel published Tuesday morning, Clinton said she agreed with French economist Thomas Piketty, the author of the high-profile recent book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that income inequality undermines the fundamental fabric of democracies.
Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton declared the growing gap between the rich and the poor is threatening democracy in a new interview published Tuesday morning.
Speaking with the German outlet Der Spiegel, Clinton said she agreed with French economist Thomas Piketty, the author of the high-profile recent book "Capital in the Twenty-First Century," that income inequality undermines the fundamental fabric of democracies.
"We've had this huge experiment known as America that was a diversity of populations, and we have held it together because we had a democracy that slowly over time included everybody. Even during the Great Depression people in the streets believed that they could make it and they would be better off," said Clinton.
Now, Clinton said, people have "lost trust" in the entire political system.
"Now the relative wealth is much higher, but the disparity makes people believe that they're stuck," she argued. "They no longer believe that things are going to get any better, no matter how hard they work. People have lost trust in each other and the political system and I think that's very threatening to democracy."
Der Spiegel proceeded to question Clinton — a multimillionaire widely considered the Democratic front-runner in the 2016 presidential election and reportedly charges as much as $200,000 per speech at events — on whether lower-income people could be bothered by her own fortune. Clinton dismissed such concerns.
"Well, certainly, I can understand that, but that's never been the crux of the concern in our country, because we've always had people who did better than other people. That's just accepted. The problem is that people on the bottom and people in the middle class no longer feel like they have the opportunity to do better," she said.
In prior interviews, Clinton addressed questions about her wealth by attempting to separate herself from other, "truly well off" individuals — drawing accusations of being tone-deaf on the issue.
Updated 11:03 a.m. ET.
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