So the buzzword of the year so far is “shared sacrifice.” Scott Walker says he can only balance the Wisconsin budget if those greedy public employees would just be willing to sacrifice a little. John Kasich of Ohio says the same–at the same time he and his legislature define university professors as managers so they can’t belong to unions, but anyway… Democrats and Republicans in Washington spew the same line of crap, that in hard times we all have to sacrifice together.
I see people on the left resist this, not stridently enough, by reminding audiences that “sacrifice” is happening largely on the backs of the poor, working and middle classes. And it is. But maybe we can make a little better version of the point by asking a slightly different question.
What are the rich sacrificing in any of the current budget proposals?
Nothing. They get: more tax cuts, tax incentives, tax breaks. They get: reduced labor costs via union busting, decreased safety and environmental regulations by defunding regulatory agencies. They get: bailouts when they mismanage their businesses into the ground. They get: nearly exclusive access to the mechanisms of power because they have all the money they’ve stolen and the leisure time to use it since they don’t do anything useful with their time.
Name one thing that any of this budget voodoo costs the rich. One. And then ask yourself who’s making the policies. And then ask yourself who’s paying the price. And then ask yourself why we aren’t burning these people out of their houses (Because we’re more ethical than they are? Apparently). And then, finally, ask yourself how long you’re willing to continue putting up with a situation in which every single decision coming from a conservative-dominated system hurts YOU and EVERYBODY YOU KNOW, unless you’re one of the wealthy.
The talking heads like to talk about having to make “hard decisions” in difficult times. Well, for those of us who are actual human beings, who are sick of seeing our humanity and dignity spat on every day by rich people who don’t care whether anybody else lives or dies, we have to ask ourselves a hard question too–how long do we wait?