The first problem is what type of sacrifice is not always clear. The individual usually explains its because of the economy and never really gets into specifics. This lack of detail enables the politicians to make the claim that they are sacrificing as well.
The second problem is that politicians are passing laws throughout the country prohibiting Americans from helping the needy. One such city is New York, which has banned food donations because the city can't monitor salt levels. This then forces people who would be helped by various charities to become dependent on government. This has a direct effect on debt in that it makes the city to need even more money. They have also passed laws prohibiting vegetable gardens which creates more demand for commercial farm products.
The third problem is that these same politicians expect us to do the sacrificing and not them. While Americans continue to deal with an economy that isn't producing enough jobs and falling incomes, the political elite continue to profit at the expense of the people. With an average income of $174,000, our house and senate members don't seem to mind telling us to sacrifice.
How do we get them to help in this 'shared sacrifice'? For starters we could make it so every year the budget is not balanced, they do not receive pay. Another way is we could make it that the only way they get pay raises is if they can get us to vote yes by putting it on the ballot. The third way is to limit their pay to that of the average American salary.
These problems can be fixed. By allowing liberty to flourish, our nations prosperity will come back. The individualist is what has always made this country great, not these collectivism ideas. Remember, forced charity is not real charity.