The Asymmetry of ‘Shared Sacrifice’: You Can’t Have Skin in the Game When You’ve Been Cut to the Bone

As all of our artificial fiscal crises reach full screech, you’ll be hearing a lot about ‘shared sacrifice’, the notion that we all have to pitch in and solve these (relatively) trivial problems. The problem is that some people have nothing left to give. Consider Social Security, where various mechanisms are being bandied around to reduce benefits in one way or another. Here’s, based on total income, how important Social Security is:


Until you reach the top fifth, cutting Social Security will have a real bite for most Americans. I’ll let the Rude Pundit explain:

…the Rude Pundit stood right behind her yesterday, waiting to pick up the pills that prevent him from going on a five-state killing spree. She was getting three prescriptions. The total was $6.00. This puzzled the old lady. She had never paid anything before, and even this seemingly small amount was obviously causing her consternation. The cashier checked with the pharmacist, who said that there had been a minor change to her plan, and now she had to pay a little for the scrips, a buck-fifty, three bucks. She apologized and put aside the couple of other things she was going to purchase to pay for the medicine…

A drug benefit cut for an old lady in a diaper and a closed tax loophole on private jets are not balance. That six bucks cut into that woman’s limited income in profound ways. To use the [extremely rich] friend’s equation in reverse (times ten), $6 is like $3000. And even that’s not a big deal to the wealthy because you can bet that the woman is living paycheck to paycheck. The millionaire has shitloads of money that don’t even count as taxable income…

…Back at the pharmacy, the old woman walked away from the counter, putting back the cheap socks and orange juice she was going to buy, leaving with her prescriptions, her sacrifice far from shared.

We are governed by sociopaths.

This entry was posted in Basic Human Decency, I For One Welcome Our Austerity Overlords, Social Security. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The Asymmetry of ‘Shared Sacrifice’: You Can’t Have Skin in the Game When You’ve Been Cut to the Bone

  1. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says:

    I think you’ll enjoy this quote from anatole France, via Jeffrey Toobin, via Ed Brayton:
    “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread.”
    hat tip

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