Obama to governors: Public employees must not be vilified or have their rights infringed upon

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But let me also say this: it does no one any good when public employees are denigrated or vilified or their rights are infringed upon. We need to attract the best and the brightest to public service. These are times that demand it. We’re not going to attract the best teachers for our kids, for example, if they only make a fraction of what other professionals make. We’re not going to convince the bravest Americans to put their lives on the line as police officers or firefighters if we don’t properly reward that bravery. So yes, we need a conversation about pensions and Medicare and Medicaid and other promises we’ve made as a nation. But as we make decisions about our budgets going forward, I believe everyone should be at the table, and the concept of shared sacrifice should prevail. If all the pain is borne by one group – whether it’s workers, or seniors, or the poor – while the wealthiest among us keep getting tax cuts, we’re not doing the right thing. I think that’s something Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on.