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.