This is absolutely insane. Michelle Obama has just proven herself to be utterly clueless or utterly phony – take your pick on this one. She has been extremely well-compensated for the jobs she has held, has lived the American dream and moved up into a very nice standard of living.
I have a new story today about Michelle Obama's visit to Zanesville, Ohio, where she met with a group of women at a local day care center. According to the U.S. Census, Muskingum County, where Zanesville is located, had a median household income of $37,192 in 2004, below both the Ohio and national averages. Just 12.2 percent of adults in the county have a bachelor's degree or higher, also well below the state and national averages. About 20 percent don't have a high school degree. Nevertheless, Mrs. Obama urged them to foreswear lucrative professions like corporate law or hedge fund management and go into the helping industry, even if the sacrifice is great:
As she has many times in the past, Mrs. Obama complains about the lasting burden of student loans dating from her days at Princeton and Harvard Law School. She talks about people who end up taking years and years, until middle age, to pay off their debts. “The salaries don’t keep up with the cost of paying off the debt, so you’re in your 40s, still paying off your debt at a time when you have to save for your kids,” she says.
“Barack and I were in that position,” she continues. “The only reason we’re not in that position is that Barack wrote two best-selling books… It was like Jack and his magic beans. But up until a few years ago, we were struggling to figure out how we would save for our kids.” A former attorney with the white-shoe Chicago firm of Sidley & Austin, Obama explains that she and her husband made the choice to give up lucrative jobs in favor of community service. “We left corporate America, which is a lot of what we’re asking young people to do,” she tells the women. “Don’t go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we’re encouraging our young people to do that. But if you make that choice, as we did, to move out of the money-making industry into the helping industry, then your salaries respond.” Faced with that reality, she adds, “many of our bright stars are going into corporate law or hedge-fund management.”
Who does she think will be paying these people for their "helping" jobs? The story reports that she was paid $316,962 in 2005. Apparently, she believes everyone "helping" can earn that kind of money. Which of course neglects how she got that very well-paid job. That is by getting that fancy education, taking out those loans and then proving her worth as an employee. She did not sacrifice – she worked.
But other people should sacrifice. Talk about pulling up the ladder behind her.