The Language of Shared Sacrifice

In Current Events, Economics, Election Politics on July 16, 2011 at 21:14

President Obama has been using the term “shared sacrifice” in an effort to get Republicans to compromise with him over the budget. Obama is asking for more revenue in tax increases and closure of some tax loopholes for corporations and the upper 1%, and the Republicans, in general, want cut to social programs like Medicare and Social Security.

So, Obama said that he will meet the Republicans part way and discuss cuts if Republicans are willing to raise revenues, i.e. raise some taxes. The President calls for “shared sacrifice.” Although giving more in taxes when you can afford it seems less of a sacrifice than losing your health care or job or being unable to pay your heating costs in winter, the “GOP say they’ve sacrificed enough already on debt negotiations.”

What has the GOP really sacrificed? To sacrifice, you have to have something to give up. The Republicans are so bound to a failed ideology called “trickle down economics” that they think it is a sacrifice to reconsider these policies. Just voting for an increase in the debt ceiling is considered a “shared sacrifice” by what Republicans call their “leadership.”

Yes, voting to keep the United States from defaulting on debt payments and avoiding thousands of layoffs is a sacrifice for many Republicans. It’s a lot to give up, having to help unworthy public and private sector workers.

Yes, helping avoid a down grade in the U.S. credit rating and raising the cost of the current debt is a “sacrifice”. And of course, helping the United States retain it’s place as a nation to invest in, as one of the world’s leading economies is a big sacrifice. It’s too hard for Republicans to sacrifice so much to make sure the economy is stable.

How about getting those that so far have sacrificed nothing during the recession to sacrifice their share? The banks, investment houses, most of Wall Street, CEOs, the Koch brothers, oil companies, most of Congress, and so on should now “sacrifice” for a while so that the unemployed, homeless, jobless, uninsured, and destitute don’t have to sacrifice more.

Obama’s logic is faulty. To say we need “shared sacrifice” it to argue that all parties have the same to lose. To say we need “shared sacrifice” is to ignore how much we and so many of our fellow citizens have sacrificed in lost pensions, homes and savings so a few money managers could make millions on credit default swaps and betting against our economy by buying stocks in these swaps on margin.

Who suffers more, a CEO who fails to get a bonus because of a poor economy but still gets his/her million plus dollar salary, or the millions of workers who have lost their jobs since 2008?

Who suffers more, Exxon/Mobil or the people who can’t afford their pain medication due to cuts in Medicare and Medicaid?

Who suffers more, GE (and other corporations) who may no longer be able to avoid all taxes in the future, or the ever growing number of people who live in poverty?

President Obama needs to stop compromising with those that only have the interests of billionaires in mind when discussing the debt ceiling and start shaming them for their arrogance and their failed ideology. And please President Obama, stop using the misleading and disingenuous phrase, “shared sacrifice”.

Tex Shelters

  1. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for Wealthy persons paying, not their fair share, but truly showing that they appreciate what this nation has done for them – and putting their money where it should be, in taxes.

    I think those given the most have the most responsibility. No, that doesn’t negate anyone’s personal responsibility at all. Nobody should be without AWESOME health care in this nation.

    Pointless wars for American Corporate Profits. . . .IMO, is the main blame for the current situation.

    • Wes,

      Nice to see some of your opinions are humble…

      Seriously, the debate on “sacrifice” is one big distraction from the underlying inequity in our society and the freeloaders in the top 1%.

      Tex Shelters

  2. Thanks Temy.

    Tex Shelters

  3. Corporations like GE and Exxon/Mobile don’t ever pay taxes, Charge them at a 75% rate and the result will be the same they will not ever, ever pay a dime in tax. Why? Jake how can they be? I’ll tell you, all corporations are just the middle man, you charge Exxon/Mobile more tax, they just collect the tax from you and I of course. The Corporate tax is just another backdoor tax for the government to steel more from the poor. You know the ones struggling to put 3-4 gallons of fuel in their car now to get to their under paid job. . Yea Tex keep up the good work, holler Tax those evil corporations while all the time you really mean is this “How can we pick the pockets of the little guy so he won’t notice and even beg for it to happen”. Good Job Tex!!!

    • Thanks Jake. You are an honest critic so the complement means more, in a way.

      That is why whenever I hear or read someone say, “Corporate taxes are so high” I know right away they are talking about the rate, not the effective tax rate (what they actually pay).

      Tex Shelters

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