Shared Sacrifice

You hear a lot these days about the concept of shared sacrifice from Republicans.  Judging from the ideas they present, they have absolutely no idea what shared sacrifice actually means.  In order to sacrifice something, you actually have to feel the sacrifice.

Raising the eligibility age of Social Security or Medicare is not shared sacrifice.  It would affect me not at all.  It would affect almost everybody who makes more money than me not at all.  We all have jobs that we can work at until we die or go senile.  Working an extra year or two is not a sacrifice.  People who perform manual labor, for a living, though, are hugely impacted by raising the eligibility age.  Despite the fact that the average lifespan in America has slowly raised, most of the gains have been in lowered infant mortality rates and upper income individuals.  Blue collar workers’ lifespans have barely increased at all.  Adding a year or two is basically telling blue collar workers that they have to work until they die.

Same thing applies for taxes.  It would take increases of a few percentage points for people like me to even begin to feel the effects of higher taxes.  No sacrifice there.  Whereas the 20% of the population who live at or below the poverty line would significantly feel the sting of even a slight raise in taxes.  Huge sacrifice there.  People who are making millions of dollars a year would need their taxes raised enormously in order to feel any type of sacrifice.  And no one is asking to raise their taxes enormously.  They are not being asked to sacrifice anything and screaming about the need to share the sacrifice.

Look at it this way.  Poor families have an ice cream cone and have to split it among the whole family.  Middle class families have five ice cream cones, one for each person with a little left over to share.  Upper class families have thousands of ice cream cones.  Republicans are basically asking the country to give up just one ice cream cone.  Poor families will be devastated by this.  Middle class families will have to make adjustments, but they’ll pull through.  Upper class families won’t even know they lost an ice cream cone.  But that is the Republican idea of shared sacrifice.


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