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Why Share in Sacrifice If We Didn't Share in the Prosperity?

President Obama speaks during fiscal-cliff negotiations. (AFP/Getty Images)
President Obama speaks during fiscal-cliff negotiations. (AFP/Getty Images)

Writing at the Huffington Post, the Rev. Al Sharpton says that the majority of Americans — blacks, whites, Latinos, gays, lesbians and seniors – cannot (and shouldn't have to) pay the bill of the elite 2 percent by having "entitlement programs" eliminated or cut.

When the great recession of 2008 struck, it hit some of us harder than others. Middle class families, the poor, people of color and the workers of America suffered the most, while those that caused the crisis were largely unscathed — many even increased their wealth. Today, when we are in danger of going over the notorious fiscal cliff, some repeatedly speak of 'shared sacrifice.' But when the top 2 percent were enjoying their tax breaks and stockpiling their prosperity, there was no sharing with the masses. And instead, these individuals and groups now have the audacity to ask seniors, minorities, folks whose children fought in our wars, the disenfranchised and the most vulnerable among us to sacrifice some more. Does that seem fair to you?

On Monday, I was in the nation's capital with Marc Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League, Ben Jealous, President and CEO of the NAACP, and Melanie Campbell, the Executive Director of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation as we convened a meeting on the 'Agenda for Black America.' We gathered a group of African American and civil rights leaders representing 62 organizations as we collaborated on national priorities for the coming Presidential term. We will be laying out the specifics of this agenda (addressing everything from economic disparity to the criminal justice system) to Congress and the White House in the next several weeks. But the very first thing that all of us who care about the future of our nation must agree on is that middle class tax cuts must be reissued and tax breaks for the top 2 percent must expire.


Read the Rev. Al Sharpton's entire piece at the Huffington Post.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

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