Monday, October 14, 2013

Thoughts on the shutdown

My feelings on the partial US government shutdown boil down to two thoughts, really:

1. Math. Use it. If you don't have money, don't spend money.

2. Congress- know your job, and do it. The same thing goes for our President. Your job is to make a reasonable, mathematically viable budget and stick to it. If you disagree with your legislative colleagues, your job is to negotiate where you can. Refusal to converse or negotiate is generally immature.

Budget bills originate in our House of Representatives by law. The House decides the budget and submits it to the Senate. The Senate can approve or not, and they may send it back to the House/ suggest changes, but they don't write the budget. Neither does the President. The President can veto a budget bill as long as it doesn't have sufficient votes. It is the job of Congress to negotiate a workable budget, and refusing to cut spending from pet projects when there is a deficit in other places, and wanting instead to simply borrow more money, seems to me a truly irresponsible way to do this. Ahem... <senate.> The President and John Boehner cooperated on a deficit reduction plan in 2011, but now the President and the democrat-controlled Senate are unwilling to abide by it, and have instead been holding 800,000 + federal workers' salaries and large chunks of the government bureaucracy hostage until the House capitulates and the budget goes according to Democratic demands. This is a personal  subject for me, since my husband, the primary breadwinner for our family, will not be getting paid until the shutdown ends. (It is particularly frustrating because other similar jobs he could take in the private sector would be considered a conflict of interest and could result in his being permanently fired from his government job, or in certain other legal consequences. It is as if the government is telling us that he cannot work, cannot be paid, but also cannot go to work in a similar capacity elsewhere. His only option at this point is day/temp labor, as what long term employer outside his field is going to hire him, being both grossly overqualified and unlikely to work for them more than a few days or weeks at most? Hopefully, it will not come to that.) However, we support the House's efforts at fiscal responsibility and hope that they do not capitulate to bullying and intransigence.