We live at a time when all Americans must sacrifice.
All, that is, except those of us who can be politically helpful to our President as he seeks re-election.
Last month, President Barack Obama addressed a gathering of the National Governor’s Association, wherein he suggested that “shared sacrifice” should become a new catch-phrase, of sorts, for America. “If all the pain is shared by one group,” the President noted, “that’s not good for anyone.”
In that same engagement, the President went on to address his healthcare “reform” legislation from last year. “I "I am not open to refighting the battles of the last two years or undoing the progress we've made," he noted, but then explained that he wanted a bipartisan group of Governors to work with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to make Obamacare “even better.” "I will go to bat for whatever works,” he claimed, “no matter who it comes from."
Before we move on to the broader issue – this insincere notion of “shared sacrifice” – let’s look carefully at some of the “straw man” arguments and erroneous insinuations that the President articulated to the Governors, just based on the portion of his speech recorded above. Why, for example, would the President suggest that the “pain” of the economic downturn is only being felt among “one group” of Americans?
The Great Recession has been felt in nearly every sector of the economy, among people from nearly every socioeconomic category. Even the wealthiest among us (a group President Obama so often disparages as being “greedy”) have had fewer opportunities in which to invest and with which to expand their wealth – and de facto that has meant fewer employment opportunities for others.
In reality, the “one group” of people that has been most successfully sheltered from the “pain” that the President wants us all to “share” is government employees, themselves. And on that matter, President Obama told the Governors that "I don't think it does anybody any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified.”
Here are the facts of the matter. In the state of Wisconsin, state taxpayers pay nearly 100% of the costs of government employee retirement pension contributions, and well over 90% of government employee’s healthcare insurance costs. The uproar in that state has not been about Wisconsin indiscriminately firing government workers or cutting the workers’ benefits, but about the necessity of government employees taking more financial responsibility for their own retirement and healthcare. This, of course, led to Wisconsin school teachers storming the state capitol and chanting “tax the rich – don’t cut our benefits…”
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.