The Five Biggest Sacrifices Obama Wants Us To Make 'Right Away'

Other than the affected, urgent tone, and the repeated refrain, "You should pass this jobs plan right away," there wasn't much that was new about Obama's much anticipated "jobs speech." He blamed a "political crisis" for making the economy worse. He used "poignant" examples of suffering and need, in order to appeal to his audience's emotions. He made several appeals to authority, including:

  • "Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans -- including many who sit here tonight."
  • "And now we're going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads?"
  • "This idea came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat."
  • "[L]eaders of both parties have followed the example [Abraham Lincoln] set."

He also tried to make legislators feel guilty:

  • "The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we'll meet ours."
  • "[W]e are bigger than our politics have been."

He took a swipe at "corporate profits," which he said "have come roaring back." And he derided ideology, characterizing principled opposition to the welfare state as "some rigid idea about what government could or could not do." Most importantly, he laid out what amounts to a $450-billion stimulus package, which he calls "the American Jobs Act," but which we may as well call the "Sacrifice Some Americans to Others Act," because it is, as we might have anticipated, replete with calls for more sacrifice as a way to "provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled." (At least he admits that it has stalled.)

"Sacrifice" means "the surrender of a greater value for the sake of a lesser one or of a nonvalue." It does not mean, e.g., choosing to work longer hours now for the sake of increased wealth and more leisure later; it does not mean choosing to give some of your extra money, for which you had no preferred use, to your friend, relative, or charity of your choice. So, with that in mind, here are five sacrifices that Obama wants to implement, right away.