Here in Ohio, Governor Kasich is being demonized for not exempting firefighters, among others, from his efforts to roll back public-sector unions. Some variation of "Our heroes deserve better" is the typical line intended to innoculate firefighters from having to share in the sacrifice.
Yawn. Truth is, get a couple beers in 'em and most firefighters (I'm good friends with a couple) will admit that firefighting is a fantastic gig if you can get it: Good pay, great benefits, pension, and job security, loads and loads of time off (enough to allow plenty of under-the-table secondary income in addition to vacations), and extremely early retirement--early enough, in fact, to start an entirely new career in one's early fifties while collecting a pension.
All this, and the job is not quite so dangerous as it's made out to be. Among the many professions which are more dangerous than firefighting (some of them substantially so) are taxi drivers, garbage men, truckers, roofers, tree trimmers, construction workers, and farmers. Are these folks not heroes, too? They do important work, afterall, while experiencing more danger and while paying the salaries of the generally better-compensated firefighters.
Firefighters are heroes, sure. And so's the politician brave enough to suggest that they've got it good enough.