The president talked about the “grit and determination” of the American people during the State of the Union, but let’s face it. We are selfish Americans who have let our government down. When Barack Obama asks us to practice a little shared responsibility so we can help the poor and raise up the middle class, we snap our wallets closed and question his motives.
Obama’s home state blazes a trail for the nation.
What better example than Illinois of a state where selfless residents do their all for their government? Illinois taxpayers can boast big salaries and benefits paid to teachers and civil servants who don’t have to be distracted from their duties worrying over how to pay for retirement. Illegal immigrants can receive state-sanctioned college scholarships in Illinois, enjoy the protection of a major sanctuary city, and thanks to a new law will be able to get their hands on driver’s licenses so they can get to their jobs.
Illinois established a Commission on the Elimination of Poverty that discovered state efforts to help the poor needed a kick start. Fortunately, state politicians know how to make it easy to fund great things, having already started in January 2011 with a simple, retroactive deduction from workers’ paychecks that helped pay off pension debt for public workers (see: Live in Illinois? Get Out Now.). Once that pension debt gets paid, Illinois can go back to eliminating poverty.
Obama only wants us to have what Illinois has.
President Obama has done what he can so taxpayers nationwide can have what Illinois has. He even helped to pass Washington’s own New Year’s FICA tax increase. DACA immigration reform, pro-union policies, and aggressive plans to help the poor and strengthen the middle class are just some of the gifts bestowed on ungrateful taxpayers. The president has tried to make sure that job-creating businesses and stingy business owners pay their fair share, but Republicans keep stalling his efforts. Since the GOP won’t help, what can taxpayers do to make sure we are doing everything we can to serve our government? We can start by helping the government create lots of jobs.
Jobs still come first.
The president posed some questions in his weekly address:
Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions: How do we bring good jobs to America? How do we equip people with the skills those jobs require? And how do we make sure your hard work leads to a decent living?¹
Mr. Obama wants to make our country “a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.”² We certainly need those jobs. Even Illinois has an 8.7% unemployment rate, well above the national average despite its long history of Democrats running the state’s government.
There was outrage when Illinois raised the state income tax in 2011. Sure, the increase is only temporary and the state needs the money to fund retirements for government workers. Springfield lawmakers had to start somewhere. Pension reform is DOA in Illinois, so what else could legislators do but ask taxpayers to share the responsibility? Our president is challenged by a similar problem. Until you pay the bills you already owe, how can you spend a lot more to invest in the future so the government can create jobs?
Businesses don’t understand.
Businesses can be just as selfish as Americans who resist plans to redistribute incomes with a fair, balanced approach to divesting us of our money. Despite Illinois’ best efforts, expecting a little shared responsibility from the state’s job creators proved to be a problem. Some companies even closed up shop and moved away.
Keeping jobs in America is also an issue for our president. Perhaps Mr. Obama could do a better job explaining his balanced approach and that an ambitious social agenda is expensive. When money is short, those with money to spare need to do their part. Businesses and business owners must have cash to spare or they couldn’t afford more workers, could they?
Selfish Americans don’t understand, either.
There is so much we can do to support our government, but as selfish Americans concerned with our own futures we don’t always see the light. We are being offered a chance to invest in our country and put much-needed reforms in place, like granting legal status to 11 million illegal immigrants so they can work, too. All we have to do is engage in a little shared responsibility and adopt the Obama balanced approach that ensures only those with more money than they need have to pay.
What can ordinary Americans do? Step up to the plate. Don’t wait for Washington to pass a tax increase that Republicans will try to block. Call your elected representatives and tell them your fair share isn’t good enough and your taxes should go up because there will always be someone who needs your money more than you. When tax time comes, don’t just pay your fair share. Kick in a little extra. You can be sure that all those wealthy Democrats who endorsed the Buffett Rule are going to be paying a lot more than they owe, too.
Most important, stop questioning everything the president says and every action he takes. Politicians are just citizens who answer to a higher calling and Barack Obama, like the state he comes from, is the cream of the crop.