I didn’t think the politicians would let it go this far. They huff and puff a lot, but when it came down to the wire I thought they would find a solution to keep the government open. Sadly they are all far more concerned about the agenda of their party affiliation and trying to position themselves for the next election cycle than they are the concerns and needs of the American public.
House Speaker, John Boehner was quoted as saying: “….This isn’t a game,” yet Republicans continue to strategically send bills to the Senate they know will be rejected all to get Democrats to go on the record as against specific measures. President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid have made it clear they will not negotiate with the House and will not sign any bill that is not a clean funding bill to reopen government. With neither side willing to blink this is simply a game of chicken.
So what’s the next move by the House? They send up a bill to pay all federal furloughed workers the wages they lost during the shutdown, once the impasse is resolved. The Senate is expected to agree to that legislation. At the same time, those in charge are going way out of their way to ensure the American public and our armed forces feel as much pain from this shut down as possible. Not only are they closing parks like the Grand Canyon when states are willing to fund their continued operation during the shutdown but they have refused to televise sporting events to our troops and have even gone so far as to threaten contracted chaplains who voluntarily choose to preside over Sunday services for the troops.
With the country going deeper in debt every day and our lawmakers telling the federal work force things like, stay home, we don’t want you to serve the public; oh but don’t worry, we’ll pay you for the time spent away from your post when we decide America has had enough. If that doesn’t sound to you like a game, I don’t know what does.
The furloughed workers shouldn’t be forced to carry this burden alone. They nor the country should be used as pawns in this power struggle. This whole affair is nothing but political showmanship.
If our elected officials want to play games how does this sound? For however long this shutdown lasts and the public is not being served, the taxpayers will not be paying any income taxes for this period. In other words, if the government is shut down for 30 days, every taxpayer should withhold 8.2 percent of his or her 2013 income tax. How does that sound? The government wants to put pressure on us? Perhaps we need to apply a little pressure of our own!
Speaking of pressure, why in the name of common sense should the people who shut the government down continue to get paid? From the White House through to the Congress, Senate and all their staff members should be going without pay during this time, with absolutely no opportunity to have it back door funded.
Somehow, someway we need to return to our true core values. Earlier last week, there was a news story regarding a soccer event. When the national anthem was to be sung, the public address system went out. In unison, more than 15,000 spectators began singing the national anthem. Instinctively people knew what to do and how they felt about the country. Liberals and conservatives both love this country but instead of working to solve the minor differences we have we’ve allowed the media and the politicians to pit us against each other. That simple fact underscores everything about this shutdown.
When it comes to issues and politics, we’ve lost the instinctive ability to recognize fact from fiction, to see the difference between those helping themselves at our expense and those genuinely sincere about serving their country. Day by day, we are losing our way in the wilderness and neither side has put forth a leader that the country can have true faith in and get behind. It’s sad for a proud nation, now lost in its successes and careening farther off course with every passing day.
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.