The government will shut down if we don’t do this or if we don’t do that. That is an age-old threat that might hurt some but misses those whom it ought to punish vigorously. Those needing to be punished are those whom you and I sent to Washington, D.C. to do the business of us citizens. That would be primarily The Congress.
Yet, if they don’t make things happen on our behalf, they make you and me suffer in two ways. First, we don’t get what they promised they’d make happen for us, and second, we lose some services but those who didn’t do their jobs emerge on the other side of this concocted punishment of us, not them, scotfree preaching to us as if this hadn’t happened. Essential services continue under this framework but they might forbid us from using national parks, or maybe they’d permit more people to steal across our borders than do already.
So, they, the Congress, aren’t able to do what they promised us they’d do (because of either posing for Holy pictures or to impress us with their toughness), and then they punish us because they couldn’t/wouldn’t get their jobs done. Does that make sense to you? Of course not. Were that you or I and we failed to get our jobs done, we’d either get fired or we’d be on strike or both, and we’d not be getting paid while we were on strike or after being fired.
These men and women, who often act like nothing more than spoiled children, skate scotfree because they can and they know they’ll get away with it. Wouldn’t it be interesting if there were a real penalty enforced on them for what we could call political malfeasance?
What would be happening if they knew they had a specific timeframe within which they would have the budget done and in place, or they’d be cut to half-pay for thirty days in which time they had to finish their work or lose the rest of their compensation until the work was done.
You and I know full well what this amounts to is political posturing pure and simple and at our expense. The spittle would fly. They’d huff and they’d puff, which isn’t anything they don’t do on at least a weekly basis today, they’d find some other way to pose for Holy pictures, and finally they get back to work and pass a budget that survived the scrutiny of the President who’d have to be the adult in the room.
In its simplest form, our Congress is, unfortunately, constructed so as to permit these kinds of actions. We The People send our choice to Washington, D.C. Some of those we send stay true to their promises. Some of those we send begin straying from what they promised as soon as their flight touches down in Washington. The press is complicit in all this because these are the things that sell newspapers or e-mailed bulletins or whatever else they concoct. The TV cameras are rolling and precious clips suitable for campaign purposes are to be gathered.
There is the tendency for us voters to place the blame for this malfeasance on the shoulders of other districts’ elected officials, and not on the shoulders of our own elected officials. We continue to send the same people back election after election expecting a different result. That is not smart on our parts, but it is the reality because we know them, we shake their hands and they have generally done what we wanted.
This is why I think there needs be some kind of blanket cost to be paid when this happens and that would be my proposal instead of thinking we are going to unelect the guy or gal we know, have shaken hands with, maybe have met in their offices in Washington, etc., etc. That won’t work any better than it is working today. Same old, same old.
If this question could be made a national referendum question, I would bet we’d have a super-majority of the voters in support the first time around. And, the Congress would come to understand that we are still the boss. They work for us; we do not work for them simply sending our tax dollars to Washington to be spent.