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Like many, I was disappointed by Obama's response to the union worker in Iowa on the need for unions to accept more concessions. Are his advisors seeking to torpedo his reelection chances? His repeated calls for shared sacrifice and more deficit cuts do not represent a winning strategy, when the majority of voters are already bearing the weight of repeated sacrifices since the 2008 recession.

Although I doubt the president will listen, I sent him a letter today, which follows below.

Dear Mr. President:

People who are struggling to pay their mortgage or feed their families are not interested in repeated calls for "shared sacrifice." Most Americans already sacrifice every day, forced to choose between a 6-month dental checkup for their children or the fee for band participation at school. Our energy, food, and healthcare costs have risen annually, while our wages have stagnated.

Every day, many of us sacrifice time with our families to work extra hours, often not for extra pay, but merely to ensure we will still have a job the next morning.

Instead of lecturing the union worker at your town hall on the need for union members to share in the sacrifice, you should have acknowledged the reality most American workers live with every day: long hours, demanding work, inadequate pay, insufficient healthcare benefits, and too little time for ourselves.

Already, our employers continually demand we give more, as they fire our colleagues and redistribute their workload among those  "fortunate" enough to have survived the latest job cuts. They raise the proportion of healthcare expenses we must bear as they try to save money by shopping around for cheaper, weaker plans. It is bosses who are demanding too much (and for too little), not unions.

Don't you believe that everyone deserves good healthcare benefits, a living wage, safe working conditions, and time for family? I do, yet it seems as though CEOs and company owners are the only ones fortunate enough to have them.

How do you justify coming down on the side of company owners, when corporations like Verizon report billions in profits, give the CEO and other top executives millions in compensation, and yet use the threat of job loss to extort concessions from underpaid workers?

The poor and middle classes have also been sacrificing at the state level, with cuts to school budgets and public services that are made up for by increasing property taxes and shortchanging our children. Medicaid cuts have left many poor families or disabled individuals choosing between necessary medications and food. What would you have them sacrifice, Mr. President, in exchange for demanding that the millionaire sacrifice the tax cut he or she receives for purchasing another yacht?

Please stop demanding that those who can least afford it give even more--at least until those who have given nothing (despite being the ones whom it would least affect) have contributed their fair share.

I urge you to replace your advisors and speech writers. I could craft a far more effective message than the ones you have been delivering lately. Having watched several, I am not surprised your approval ratings are sinking. When you talk about cutting government spending and "reforming" programs for the poor, far from being reassuring, it sends fear through those already struggling not to lose their jobs or homes as they wonder what other burdens they will be asked to shoulder.

If your heart is not in this fight, I understand. Never has a president been so beat up, and so unfairly. But if you are in this race to win, major changes in your strategy, messaging, and leadership efforts are imperative.

Like many, I will vote for you because I am too afraid not to, but I would feel better if I had an option to vote for something, rather than just voting against something worse.

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Comment Preferences

  •  his statement is meant to box in the GOP (0+ / 0-)

    if he keeps talking about how much the middle class and union wokers have sacrificed and continue to be willing to sacrifice then it puts the rich in the spotlight as the only people to not only recover from the recession but to be doing better but who are not lifting a goddamn finger to help the rest of the country

    You dick, why do you have to focus on the negative. - Thomas Haden Church as Jack in the film Sideways

    by Anton Bursch on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 01:11:29 PM PDT

    •  But it's not reassuring to voters (9+ / 0-)

      His intent doesn't really matter. The effect of what he is saying is to make voters wary that he expects them to give even more than they have given already.

      Wouldn't it be easier and more effective to put the rich in the spotlight as the only people who are doing better by simply saying, "The rich are the only people since the recession who are doing better, but who are not lifting a goddamn finger to help the rest of the country"?

      We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

      by CatM on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 01:20:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The rich have NEVER sacrificed squat. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CatM, flowerfarmer, OldDragon

        Jesus H Christ, every time, and I mean EVERY DAMN TIME a company makes cuts it never affects the people at the top. Never. Fuck that shit.

        Oh sure, there have been a couple of rare occasions where a CEO will say, Oh, I'll forgo my salary for a year or two." Gee, how magnanamous for guys who already have hundreds of millions socked away.

        Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

        by JTinDC on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 01:29:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'll fight for his re-election, BUT I am getting (7+ / 0-)

    sick of hearing about shared sacrifice as it pertains to anyone other than the top 5%. Everyone else has already sacrificed as much as they should be expected to.

    Everyone else has seen the cost of everything go up while wages have stayed the same if not decreased.

    Anyone who lost a job in the last decade who has been lucky enough to find a new one likely didn't find one that paid as much as the old one.

    And meanwhile the top 5%, who don't have to worry one iota about meeting basic needs, have done very, very well.

    I know the GOP thinks we're all dumb as dirt. I expect better of Dems and our president. Start talking about sacrifice from those who have yet to actually sacrtifice. If you can't do that, I don't want to hear about anyone else needing to sacrifice. It's fucking offensive and downright insulting.

    Ds see human suffering and wonder what they can do to relieve it. Rs see human suffering and wonder how they can profit from it.

    by JTinDC on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 01:20:04 PM PDT

    •  Sing it! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      insulting, and as clueless as that famous bush at the grocery checkout story.

      The thing I don't get - this was an ordinary family up until a few short years ago. Not poor, but not astronomically rich, either.

      I know Obama must get it - so I have to think he's following some lousy advice.

  •  Ugh. Finish the comment and you'll find this: (0+ / 0-)
    We’re willing to make some modifications in terms of how our pension systems work so that they’re sustainable for the next generation of teachers as long as it’s a conversation, as opposed to it simply being imposed and collective bargaining rights being stripped away.

    Notice the part in bold.

    He's DESCRIBING COLLECTIVE BARGAINING and saying FIGHT if they aren't bargaining but acting unilaterally.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 01:20:09 PM PDT

    •  That still isn't a good point (4+ / 0-)

      The point should not be that it has to be a conversation and must not be "imposed."

      All a conversation does is result in employers extracting as much as possible. They may not get everything they want, but they still get something.

      And my point is that, for the most part, they do not deserve ANY concessions. That should be the point.

      What concessions does Verizon deserve from its employees? Why should people who have already been working with stagnant wages that fail to keep up with inflation and higher healthcare costs be asked to come to the table to discuss how much of that they are willing to give up so that their employers, with their record profits, can live even more comfortably than they already do?

      The rest of it doesn't make what he said any better. If anything, it's worse.

      It's like weight lifting. When you lift weights, you do reps until your muscle fails. Then the next time, you add more weight and do reps until your muscle fails.

      The employers keep piling on just a little more each time, to see how long it will take until their employees simply cannot take it.

      Of course, in this case, it's not making workers stronger--just the corporations' bank balance.

      We Won't Let Republicans Replace Medicare with GOP Vouchercare!

      by CatM on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 01:31:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great letter (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OldDragon, CatM, Abelia

    It really sucks to say this, but I guess we're going to have to trust President Obama to do the right thing, because some of the stuff he is saying just makes me want to scream. Some or most of the people he is surrounding himself with make me want to scream.

    But mostly, he is saying stuff that I can live with.

    But then he says something that makes me scream at the TV.

    As you say, what choice do we have for our vote?

    I was screaming at the TV continuously for eight years before Obama was elected.

    Now I only scream sometimes.

    Is this as good as it gets?

  •  good letter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    great reasoning.

    thx for taking the time CatM

    I hope he gets the message.

    What is necessary to change a person is to change his awareness of himself.
    -- Maslow ...... my list.

    by jamess on Wed Aug 17, 2011 at 07:03:06 PM PDT

  •  So agree (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Great article CatM.  I wrote to him myself as I have several times already.  Compromise is only called compromise when both sides are giving up something.  When only Dems are doing the giving, then it's called "caving in."

    Caving in on the Bush Tax Cuts and caving in on the Debt Ceiling doesn't sit well with me but like you say, we only vote Dem again or vote for no one.

  •  Very nice (0+ / 0-)

    Awesome letter to the President! I too am tired of being the only turnip at work being bleed dry while my supervisors fly off on weekend vacations to the Bahamas using the corporate jet.  Anyway, thanks for sharing!

    Love. Learn. Share. Empower.

    by CaptAjax on Thu Aug 18, 2011 at 05:45:42 PM PDT

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