Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Empty Chairs At Empty Desks

Once bustling halls and offices are quiet today.  The lonely stillness would send shutters up spines of dwellers, if any in fact could breach the pad locks securing the federally owned buildings.

Photographer: Desk Driver
This photo is in the public domain worldwide.
I wrote the opening paragraph in October of 2013, during the Obama shutdown.  I had hoped the paragraph would never apply again.  Yet, here we are.  800,000 federal employees are going without pay because our leaders can't work together for the common good.

This shutdown is a little bit different than the one five years ago.  Back then, Senator Ted Cruz held things up to try to repeal Obamacare.  In that case, he was trying to undo a law which was already on the books.  Today, the government is arguing over a wall that does not exist yet.

Those who read this blog on a regular basis know how I feel about the wall.  Not only are there more effective deterrents to illegal border crossings, but the wall puts our country in a category alongside East Germany.  We should aspire to be something greater than a, now defunct, communist country.

Nevertheless, President Trump has vowed not to approve a budget without a five billion dollar line item to build a wall.  Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed not to include the line item in any budget that the House sends to the Senate.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has promised not to allow the Senate to vote on any budget from the House that doesn't contain the line item for the wall.

Each camp is firmly entrenched with their own point of view and are not willing to budge from their position.  As a result 800,000 people don't know where their next bag of groceries is coming from.  On top of that, half of the workers who are going without pay are still being forced to report to work.  I don't know about you, but that sounds like slavery to me.

At a meeting with Democratic leadership, last Friday, Trump said he could keep shutdown going for months or years, as if it was some academic exercise.  Real people are suffering.  800,000 real people don't know how they're going to feed their families and pay their rent/mortgages.  Businesses, which sell goods and services to these federal employees have lost a source of income as well.  The number of people who will be hurt by the domino effect, created by the shutdown, is incalculable.

Again, I think the wall is a bad idea.  However, nobody is going to die if the wall is built.  Surely both sides can find some wiggle room and figure out a way to get these people working again.  Besides, Joe Scarborough, of MSNBC's Morning Joe, made a good point this morning; even if the budget for it was approved today, private land owners would file so many law suits that ground won't be broken for 15 years, if ever.

No comments:

Post a Comment