Mar 3, 2008

It's all about Michelle

Byron York has a great post about a Michelle Obama speech at a day care canter in Zanesville, Ohio, where the "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."

Mrs. Obama told these women to forgo lucrative career in the private sector and choose a career in a "helping" profession, such as nursing or social work. Fine. And easy for her to say: She left a job at a big-time corporate law firm to take a six-figure "public service" job. Not an option for your average nurse or social worker.

But what strikes me is how much time she spent griping about her hardships.
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.”


Mrs. Obama also bemoaned the amount of money she has to spend — nearly one-third of the median household income in Zanesville — on piano, dance, and other lessons for her two children. But she was grateful for the concern her husband's supporters have shown for her. "Everywhere I go, no matter what, the women in the audience, their first question for me is, 'How on earth are you managing it, how are you keeping it all together?'" she told the women.

How on earth indeed.

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