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…”
But never mind the disparity between the economic realities of the private sector, where most of us pay for a good bit of our healthcare and contribute our own earnings to private retirement accounts, and the comforts of the government sector where tax payers foot the bill for these things. According to our President, holding government employees responsible for modest portions of their own retirement and healthcare costs is “villifying” and “denigrating,” Sacrifice ought not be shared among “them.”
And now, back to Obamacare. From 2007 (when his presidential campaign began) to March of 2010 (when the bill was signed into law), Mr. Obama insisted that his plan for national healthcare “reform” would expand healthcare access. And it would save the federal government from going bankrupt. And it would produce a higher quality of healthcare. And it would save state governments money. And it would “bend the healthcare cost curve downward.”
Today there is no evidence that any of these things are even remotely on their way to happening. Over half the states in our union (26) have filed law suits to prevent the implementation of Obamacare. And over 1000 private organizations have been granted waivers from having to comply with the mandates of Obamacare,
And note the disingenuous essence of the “waivers.” While the President created this healthcare monstrosity that is supped to be good for all Americans, his Administration has been busy “waiving” groups that can be politically helpful to the President himself.
The list of waiver recipients includes hundreds of local labor unions; McDonald’s restaurants (a company that employs over 30,000 hourly workers nationwide who earn less than $11,000 a year), Carlson Restaurants (owners of “TGI Fridays” – again lots of low wage workers); and the General Electric Corporation, whose C.E.O. Jeff Immelt was a large cash contributor to the President’s first presidential campaign. Interestingly, Mr. Immelt also received another nice political favor from our President when G.E. was granted a waiver from complying with federal environmental regulations surrounding a G.E. power plant project in California.
o the call for “shared sacrifice” only applies to those of us who are not politically helpful to the President. Government employees enjoy the benefit of President Obama seeking to shelter them from economic reality, while private groups that can help with the 2012 campaign are now blessed with Obamacare exemptions.
America must make a better choice in 2012, and put an end to this corruption.
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.