The Sky is Falling

So here we are in day 3 of the 2013 government “shutdown”.  And let me tell you, people are up in arms.

First, let me address the fact that the government is not in fact shut down.  81% of the government is operating according to Senator Rand Paul.  I am in fact, at work today as are a whole lot of other people.

Nevertheless, some of my more, how shall we say… moderate, associates are beginning to sound the alarm.  This shutdown is now impacting local small business!  There are real people being hurt here!

We are running a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit.  We are borrowing 40% of our spending from China.  We are on course to having a 17 trillion dollar debt by the time Obama leaves office, and we are adding the ACA with it’s trillions in new costs to that.  You’re right…real people ARE being hurt here.  Every day that the government just continues on with business as usual the entire country, and future generations, are being hurt here.

If you have ever dealt with the IRS when they were clearly wrong and you tried to get them to understand that…you may have dealt with some bureaucrat that sat on the phone with you explaining that there was nothing they could do to help you.  They may have even read to you from a law or regulation, while they told you there was nothing they could do to help you.

If the EPA has ever condemned your property or taken it by force because some owl lives in a tree somewhere on it, you may have gotten the same result while trying to work it out with them

In short, if you have EVER had to deal with any person representing an agency of our federal government, you may have found that in general, they didn’t give a crap about your problems.  They were not there to help, or to serve the public,.  They were there to clock 40 for 30 years and retire, and your problems weren’t their problems.

Well now they have problems.  And their problems are not my problems.  I am at work, and they are not.  And if something bad should happen to some of them as a result of not being paid, I will lose as much sleep over it as they do when a family is kicked off their property because of a tax lien or a spotted owl.

Do you realize that the Park Service brought people back off furlough to stand guard and attempt to deny citizens access to national monuments?  Does that make sense?  If the freakin guard is there anyway…why shouldn’t the people be allowed in?

This brings up a more fundamental question to me.  Who the hell do these monuments and parks belong to anyway?  It seems rather apparent that they belong to the federal government and we are simply allowed to look at them when the government says so.

People were kicked out of hotels at Yellowstone and told they had to vacate the park because the government is shut down.  What??  So now hotels can’t care for guests, restaurants can’t feed them, roads can’t support traffic, and bears can’t shit in the woods without the government?  Somebody better go check Old Faithful!  I’m sure the geyser stopped erupting since the Park Service is on furlough.  The waterfalls stopped running…. pavement lost its rigidity…hell the fabric of the universe itself may begin to unravel.

We are operating under a false premise here.  The federal government does not exist to provide jobs to people.  When a business closes up shop and lays people off or fires them we do not have days of reporting on it.  But now we do.  Why?  Because it’s taken for granted that once you sit your big ass in a seat on the government payroll you are employed for life?

“What will the people do?”  Oh I don’t know… what have the 2+ million people who have been unemployed everywhere else had to do for the last few years?

The Maryland/DC/Virginia region has been spared the economy that the rest of the nation has been facing for years.  Boohooing about facing a couple of days of it now is a bit unseemly.

The federal government was constituted to regulate interstate trade, provide for the national defense, and oversee international treaties.  Three words, “the general welfare” have been used to justify ALL the rest of what you see.

Yes I know people get put in tough spots.  I have been laid off in the past.  I know what it means to scrape by.  I have been poor.  I have lived in section 8.  I have had to make up child support that I couldn’t pay while I had no job.  But it breaks down like this.  If you walk in to a place and tell the man in charge that you want him to send home everyone that is not essential to the performance of the duties of the office…and 800,000+ people walk out… there’s a problem.

800,000!!  Really?  Is it possible that 2% of them are not only non-essential they are also not performing any useful function?  In other words, is it possible they are just “fluff”?

If it is possible…how about 3%?  4%?  what’s 5% of 800,000?  Well….it’s 40,000.  And if the average federal wage is 50k…  see where I’m going?

A friend of mine just expressed on her Facebook page that it is right to be concerned about your own welfare and that of your neighbors.  Let me express an old fashioned idea.  Perhaps we should be concerned about the well being of the nation.  Perhaps we should “Ask not what your country can do for you…”

Perhaps, in order to salvage the Republic, some people may have to be inconvenienced.  Some may even have to suffer.  Perhaps one of those will be me.  If so, I do not welcome it.  But I will bear it.  Because in the end I love this country, and what we see here is not what it was meant to be, what it is supposed to be, or what we should allow it to be.

If we need to shut it down for awhile to get things sorted out.  So be it.  And if some people suffer as a result, that’s unfortunate.  But let me throw a little DMX in here to wind this up.

“To live is to suffer.  To survive, is to find meaning in the suffering.”

14 responses to “The Sky is Falling

  1. Although I agree with a lot of what you are saying I still don’t think you are not giving enough weight to what would happen to this country’s economy if we put 40K people out of a job today. I feel your stance of my way or the highway is a cut your nose to spite your face approach. To pretend that shutting down government for a few weeks or months won’t have a huge impact on the entire country is ignorant imo. I know people are making a much bigger deal out of this current shutdown and I will agree that it is being blown way out but if this gets to be prolonged it will have a huge impact and no one is going to be able to prove otherwise to me. If you feel there needs to be government cut backs that is fine but you don’t just drop all these jobs all at once because that impact on the economy would be huge. I wasn’t in support the ACA and didn’t want it but the real fact is that it is law, not a proposal or bill waiting to be passed. If the shoe was on the other foot and this was a law you supported and though was good for the country but the other side was holding up funding and stonewalling at the expense of the American people you would be outraged screaming that they already lost the battle and its already law so get over it. IMO they all knew this was going to happen and neither side made a REAL effort to come up with a solution and just wanted to let the “government shutdown” happen and blame each other for it all the while hoping to bring more people to their side. I have also been doing a lot of research on the ACA bill and have found that there are a lot of thing being said that I can’t find anywhere in the bill one of those being that the folks on the Hill are exempt. I think there are things being lied about from both side of the argument and I am tired of being lied to by people that should be working for me. It seem like you are giving the right a pass on this because you don’t want ACA. I blame them all and believe there is no excuse for what is going on, no one gets a pass on this with me.
    I hope this isn’t to all over the place because I didn’t really have time to write this all at one time. Sure miss not being able to have these conversations throughout the day with you where we can have more point to point debates which I think is better than trying to comment on it altogether. I would call you but where I am working now here in Quantico has to many people around to talk about this kind of thing.

    • The word “exempt” is being used incorrectly. What they are getting is a 76% subsidy, which based on income they do not warrant.

      The thing is, you talk (correctly) about 40k jobs being “dropped” on the economy. But the fact is that there have been ACA related layoffs and reductions in hours that seriously overshadow those 40k jobs.

      As far as the law being the law goes… That’s not how I roll. Or how you roll either if you think about it. The Supreme Court once ruled that a black man has no rights a white man is obligated to observe. That was the law. Would you urge me to simply accept that one too? How about if the Senate ratifies that U.N. Small Arms Treaty and it one day results in men in blue helmets dropping by your house to inspect your guns? Gonna sit still for that one?

      The simple fact here, to me at least, is that this is OUR country. If these Assclowns are doing things which are intentionally or unintentionally tearing it down, I don’t feel it is my duty to sit quietly by and watch them do it. We both have kids. What we leave them is far more important than what it costs us personally. IMO

  2. My point about the law isn’t that you have to sit and take it or pretend it is ok but shutting down the government to get your way isn’t the answer. I don’t think holding hundreds of thousands of jobs in the wind to get what you want is ok. What would happen to the country if this happens every year that one side wants to get their way? Their are right and wrong ways to do things and imo this is wrong. Example: Chief architects of USA Patriot Act are already working to revise the law so the NSA kind of data collection can’t happen anymore. It will be submitted and I would hope passed and that is how you change things without standing in the middle of the play field refusing to get off until you get what you want. I do want to make it clear I am not blaming one side or the other, I blame them both.

    • Gotcha. But let me ask you this. Let’s say the Democrats (just to keep it consistent) not only do not support or vote for alterations to the Patriot Act which curtail the NSA, but rather come up with some method of passing, without a single Republican vote, sweeping legislation to allow the NSA to do more, with less oversight? Would you then want the Republicans to do everything in their power to defund that?

      • Not at the risk of shutting out Hundreds of Thousands of jobs of people that would be victims in the effort. When you go to war you don’t plan for as many mass causalities as possible and just call it war. You do your best to keep causalities as low as you can that is all I am saying.

        • We shall have to agree to disagree. I cannot say that we should sacrifice freedom and liberty to save jobs. What does it benefit us to be employed, in a police state? At some point you have to put at risk everything to save things that are more important than you own well being. As a soldier I know you know this. I just think that we are very much, as a nation, a frog sitting in water that is getting hotter. We cannot continue to refuse to change course because it will hurt some people. If we don’t, we will hurt EVERYONE. I’m not cool with that.

          • So as long as someone feels it important enough they can circumvent the system and do things however want? This is just the thing you argue the other side does but its ok as long as it’s what you want. The rules are the rules and the laws are the laws and NO ONE is above them and two wrongs don’t make a right. There is a system in place to deal with things that I don’t think it’s anymore ok for one side to do it than the other. If no one uses the system correctly then the system itself might as well not be there and then where would we be? The system isn’t being used properly by keeping people from going to work because you don’t get what you wanted. Just for the record there is no reason to think that the revisions to the Patriot Act won’t be supported being as it was the republicans the put the bill in place under Bush. Bring things to a halt isn’t proper use of the system and if everyone thought this way nothing would ever happen and blame can always just point the other way because “They made me do it; They left me no choice”. The only way I could support something like what is going on is if the majority of American people were calling for it and you can’t show me where that is the case. If you don’t see this as an abuse of the system then your right we will have to agree to disagree.

          • You are actually historically incorrect Andrew. The power of the purse rests with the House. “Legislation by Appropriation” is a term you can google. The House is within its Constitutional authority to deny funding to anything they see fit to. The actual abuse of the system is the President unilaterally amending the ACA without Congress, by altering deadlines, granting waivers, suspending parts of it, etc. I used the Patriot Act as an example, not as the only part of the argument.

            The simple fact is that the federal government exists to provide for the common defense, regulate interstate commerce and negotiate international treaties. Not provide jobs for “non-essential” personnel or support local small business. I do not support an ever expanding federal footprint simply to keep people employed. By that logic we could NEVER go to a flat tax system because it would cause everyone that works for a tax preparation service, and half or more of the IRS to lose their jobs.

            Just like denying NASA their SWAT team would cause people to become unemployed…

            We have to decide what the government should and should not be doing based on the Constitution and the rule of law, not the jobs report. Otherwise, why not just put everyone on the federal payroll?

            And I maintain that if your position is “non-essential” we shouldn’t be funding it anyway. What we have actually found out during this “shutdown” (during which some 83% of the government remains open and NO federal worker is actually going to lose money) is how many people we employ that we don’t actually need. We have had the pork shown to us clearly, for 2 weeks now. And still some of us clamor for more…

          • Also for the record, The House has submitted numerous bills to reopen and fully fund various parts of the government, just not Obamacare. The people who are holding things up because they aren’t getting what they want, are the Senate Democrats who refuse to vote on those bills.

        • Actually, when you go to war the object is to inflict so many casualties on the enemy that they lose their will to fight. See Nagasaki and Hiroshima for relevant examples.

          • Just for the record you are perversely abusing the term non-essential btw. There were many things that didn’t and couldn’t happen during the first week of the shutdown. Things came to a crawl during that week, “non-essential” doesn’t mean “not needed” as you have implied over and over again. The term “non-essential” is better viewed as “Minimum Manning” or “Skeleton Crew”. Walmart opens its doors and put one cashier out there doesn’t mean they are fully functioning but they can say they are “Open”.
            As to your comments on mass casualties you got me there because I did leave one key word out but thought it was implied “Civilian/Non-military”.
            I wouldn’t hold Nagasaki and Hiroshima as our proudest moments in American history war with the killing of over 150k civilian in two bombs.

          • Okay, so like I asked you weeks ago. Please describe for me in as much detail as possible, how 17-19% of the government being “shut down” has impacted a restaurant owner in Atlanta.

            The only people upset about this are the people who are sitting home right now, for which they will be paid. So it is like I said it would be. They are getting a paid vacation at tax-payer expense. Forgive me if I don’t cry too much over that.

            As far as Hiroshima and Nagasaki goes, we did what had to be done to spare the lives of even more people who would have died had the war gone on and on.

            Lastly, let me say that our government has no problem doing things which harm the civilian population. So, if the absence of a percentage of our government harms a different portion of our populace…shrug.

            If we, as a nation, cannot survive without 17% of our government for a couple of weeks…we have SERIOUS problems Andrew. Let me say that this shutdown has not impacted me in any way. It has not impacted Social Security in any way. It has not impacted food stamps, unemployment checks, or any of a long list of “programs”. I would wager that the majority of our nation would not know the government was “shut down” if the news didn’t tell them. So let’s try to keep things in perspective, shall we?

          • You might want to do some research about the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing before saying it saved so many lives. There are strong arguments that they were about to give in because of several other factor one being Russia getting involved but we will never know now will we.

            Talk to any business owner that is on or near government installations. I know of one such owner and he is being impacted like anyone would. You talk about these people that “will be payed” as if they are being payed. If you are not getting payed you are not spending and if you are not spending the local economy is effected, basic economics. The biggest reason the impact isn’t what it could have been is because the DoD found a loophole in the wording of who is mission essential and cut those not working by around half. So 400k give or take jobs not currently getting a paycheck = impact on every local economy where a higher number of those jobs exists. Perspective?? As long as you have not been impacted in any way there can’t be problem or impact anywhere then? Is that keeping perspective? Does businesses not closing their doors after a few weeks mean there is no impact? Are you really that closed minded that you have been sucked into the propaganda black hole. This might come to a shock to you but everything you read isn’t fact and is sometime flat lies. You really seem to hold animosity toward government workers that have nothing to do with why the government is shutdown but are impacted by it. Are you pissed because you are working and getting a paycheck and they are not but will get paid later?
            SCREW THEM they should have to suffer for something they have no control over damn it! #Sarcasm off

            So if “our government has no problem doing things which harm the civilian population” that makes it ok because? That seems like a flawed argument to me.

          • Sigh… You are correct of course Andrew. We should not only restore all government functions, constitutional or not, necessary or not, so that John’s Pizzeria can get back to serving lunch to federal workers. but we should expand the government further so that more guys named John can open more pizza joints. Of course you neglect to take in to account that money going in to the economy from paychecks given to federal employees and contractors, was first taken out of the economy in the form of taxes. But what the hell, right?

            You criticize me for taking the perspective that if something isn’t affecting me I don’t care. But isn’t that the same position half our nation takes? So what if taxes go up…if you don’t pay taxes to begin with, why should you care? So what if taking your EBT card to the Walmart where the registers are screwed up and charging $700 on a card with $0.49 left on it is technically theft, they “owe” you, right?

            As far as animosity towards government workers goes, you and I both know some that are supremely deserving of it. Not all of them, by any stretch. But when you are in desperate need of help and some brain dead robot is on the other end of a phone saying, “I’m sorry sir, there’s nothing we can do for you”, do you think they are losing sleep that night over the fact that your business is being shut down, or your family kicked out of their house, or your Veterans benefits are late, or any of a whole host of other problems you may be dealing with? No Andrew, they are not. So yeah…screw ’em. Welcome to life in the rest of the country, where you don’t have life long job security, generous benefits, and guaranteed retirement plans. Welcome to uncertainty. Welcome to an interruption in pay. Welcome to the struggle my brothers! Welcome to America everywhere else, for everyone else, outside of DC. Newsflash.. YOU TOO can be laid off.

            Do you think Andrew, when the government comes along and simply decides to cancel a contract, or switch companies, that they sit around thinking about how many people will or may be unemployed and how that will impact the local economy? No, they don’t. You just sat in an office where EVERYONE has lost or will lose their jobs, though they may find other jobs. Think there’s any hand wringing going on at the federal level over that? Do you think the COTR for the contract you are on gives a crap about finances at the Fulford household? Let me enlighten you, the answer is no. If they can cut you and keep the program running, they will. Period. Look at the impact BRAC has on local economies. By your way of thinking we should never close a base, anywhere, ever.

            Lastly, I have been a business owner. In Newport News, Virginia. You may have heard of it. There’s a few small military installations in the area. But what I am first, is an American. What I am second, is a father. And what I am concerned about is what kind of country I am leaving for my children. Right now, it is one that is 17.6 trillion dollars in debt and headed at breakneck speed towards being Greece. If some of us have to suffer in order to prevent that, so be it. And if this stretches on long enough that I become one of the people sitting at home, that will not change my tune. Even in light of the fact that when *I* get furloughed I just lose my income, and no one is going to give me back pay when I return to work.

            We cannot just continue down this road to oblivion because changing course will be painful. There are a whole lot of people who have been put out of business by various things over the course of time. Technology has made all manner of professions obsolete, as an example. We struggle through. We did not halt the progress of robotics because assembly line workers would be impacted. We did not halt the development of email because it would negatively impact the post office. And Congressional Republicans should not simply lay down and let the most convoluted, screwed up, and ultimately harmful law passed in the last 50 years, impact EVERY American for generations to come, so that local small business can once again prosper off the federal workforce.

            I did not say that all 800,000 people defined as “non essential” were useless. I asked at the beginning of this if it might be fair to say that just 5% of those positions could be safely eliminated. You balked at that. So if you are not willing to reverse government growth, or halt it, or even slow it down…what is the alternative? Shall we expand it until every person in the country works for the government? Shall we invent whole new agencies with thousands of positions, for no other reason than to provide jobs to people? At what point does this system become unsustainable?

            I’ll answer my own question. It is unsustainable now. And something must be done. You may not agree with what is being done, but at least SOMETHING is being done. Though in the end it’s all just a show. You will get back your bloated government in short order Andrew. The hotdog guys will start selling dogs again. The furniture movers will start moving things again. And yeah, some of them will go out of business because they didn’t have any funds to carry them through this. And then something wonderful will happen. The people you are shedding tears for now will return to their desks and life for them will go on as usual, and they will not spend nearly as much time crying for you as you did crying for them. They will not care that John’s Pizza shop closed, because a new one will open. And we will be, as a nation, right back here at this same spot in a few months. Raising the debt ceiling again, borrowing more money, instituting thousands more pages of regulations, creating new agencies, hiring thousands more government employees.

            And what will we leave our kids? Nothing. Financial ruin. But what the hell… at least small businesses near federal installations will survive…right?

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