Republicans' Shared Sacrifice Sacrifices the American Dream

If I had a dime for every time I heard the phase “shared sacrifice” come out of a Republican’s mouth I’d be a millionaire by the end of the year. 

It'd be one thing if the conservative movement was serious about sharing the pain in terms of budget cuts and the sort, but when “shared sacrifice” means only sacrifice coming from the hide of working America, on the backs of the working poor, and out of the fixed incomes of seniors, what we have is one of the biggest jokes in modern political times.  And the joke is on us!

Take Michigan for example.

Michigans Republican Governor Rick Snyder and his Republican controlled state Legislature are fighting for a “Shared Sacrifice” state budget.  This is what it looks like:

Raise Taxes on Seniors’ Pensions: $900 million tax increase

Raise Taxes on Working Poor by eliminating MI EITC: $400 million tax increase

Sacrifice paid for by Michigan working families: $1.3 billion in Tax Increase

...and the sacrifice shared by corporations in Michigan: TAX CUT for corporations: $1.3 billion Tax Cut

The only thing working families in Michigan are sharing in the Republican plan is getting stuck with the bill, while corporations take their money to the bank.

The Republican Party’s agenda is clear.  It’s always been clear. They will do whatever it can to roll back or prevent progress in this country.  Powerful individual interest trumps what’s best for America.

When the GOP talks about shared sacrifice, you better grab for your wallet.  They will take from the have -nots and give to the have-lots.  They will justify it by saying the wealthy need more in order to give to the have-nots. They will argue that the working poor should be thankful for the millionaires and billionaires because they create jobs. If it weren't for them there wouldn't be a middle class in America.  And sadly too many middle class families have bought into this farce. 

Truth be told, it was not the wealthy who created the middle class, but rather policies passed by our government - led by Progressives.  Social Security, Medicare, minimum wage laws, collective bargaining rights for workers, Pell grants for college, public education, a progressive tax structure, and others  all came into being through government action - led by progressives not conservatives.  In fact, conservatives fought them in the first place, and now are leading the charge to dismantle these and similar programs in the name of “shared sacrifice”. 

At no point is the wealthiest and most powerful among us being asked to sacrifice.  Wealthy corporations are not being asked to pay their fair share.  The entire burden, the entire bill is being paid by poor and middle class working families.  This is the true meaning of the GOP’s idea of shared sacrifice.

This type of crazy stuff happens when Republicans rule.  In the halls of our legislature, and around the city council and school board tables, conservatives are creating their reality, and dimming the light on opportunity for middle class working America.

Progressives need to restart the “bread and butter” conversations around the kitchen table all across America.  We must awake a call to service to preserve and advance a progressive agenda that helps working families get ahead, and push against the Republican Party’s attempts to turn back the clock of opportunity for the average citizen.  That means there’s no excuse for progressives waiting for others to lead; each of us must be willing to step up and serve to insure that the Republican’s idea of shared sacrifice doesn’t sacrifice the American Dream.