Friday, April 8, 2011

My thoughts on the U.S. government near shutdown

After having just read the New York Times article headlined "Shutdown Near, No Sign of Compromise," I am thoroughly disgusted with Congress. What people don't realize is that Congress is bicameral - it is composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate for a combined total of 435 legislators - legislators whom control and enact law for over 300 million Americans.

This is extremely disproportionate and it's immature and irresponsible for this small group of elected "leaders" to argue when the nation is at stake. By this I mean that even more job losses will potentially occur because if an agreement is reached as to which federal agencies will shut down, the fact is that some federal agencies will shut down.

The economy is still bad. It's going to be a long time until we as a state (California) and country recover. What's at stake is that people of all ages still can't get jobs, and what employers do is take advantage and don't hire the best talent. And employers refuse to hire enough workers, or they keep laying off workers, so work severely suffers. When there are not enough human beings to keep a company functioning, the company suffers. This is common sense yet most employers don't care, which results in lay-offs and these types of employers overwork their current small, meager staff. By meager I'm referring to a small quantity of employees. (Not all employers function with a skeleton crew.) And when an employer such as the federal government shuts down, it instills fear in everyone because the government can't get its stuff together. We as a nation are just retracting backward. The government provides many jobs, and as stated above, when humans physically don't exist in a job role anymore, who runs things? Who runs the state parks? No one. Is it okay for the military workers to work without pay, or a pay freeze? No. Is it okay for anyone to work without pay? No. People have to eat, pay rent, pay mortgages, etcetera.

But for each party in the federal government to butt heads and come to an imminent shutdown is assinine. It's hard enough for people to survive, and unemployment is still rampant, but when the workers at federal agencies have to lose their jobs as well, this is crazy.

In a typical Democrat versus Republican struggle, each party's priorties differ. What are they butting heads about? The federal budget and what to cut from it. I think it's already known that the military budget is being talked about, and state parks might be shut down.

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) and President Obama have been arguing. The House of Representatives has approved $61 billion in cuts and the Democrats supposedly want $38 million in cuts. Some of the Republicans, according to Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) want to ensure that federal money which would finance family planning at Planned Parenthood would not not be available in the future, nor would money be available to poorer women to receive other health services.

This article supplied many quotes by lawmakers about many things: the possibility of keeping the federal government open for one more week (what would that solve?); many Republicans were quoted as saying that a goal was within reach or that "both sides are working hard..."(But these lawmakers failed to mention an actual good plan or goal); Speaker John Boehner wants $12 billion cut from the budget for the remainder of the fiscal year (why this dollar amount was thought of, I don't know). This was the most sickening thing:

"In a private party meeting Friday afternoon, Mr. Boehner told Republican lawmakers that he was fighting for all the cuts he could get, and regaled them with reports of how angry Mr. Obama was with him for the hard line he has taken in the talks - news that elated his membership."

Rep. Boehner ought to be ashamed. To tell his colleagues that he was glad the president was angry with him and that his status in the party is better because of this is just stupid. As the clock ticks along in this weird, odd, scary time, this man is wasting time by wanting to ruffle the president's feathers rather than sitting down and getting to work.

Any elected official, regardless of his or her party affiliation, ought to be ashamed that he or she was playing around at a critical moment in history.

And the paragraph that made me upset is this paragraph:

"The dueling characterizations of the negotiations added to the frustration, extending far beyond the nation's capital, among federal employees and the people who rely on their services, as they waited to find out whether serious disruptions were imminent, and how long they might last."

Reporter Carl Hulse was so right in writing this. Federal employees need to live as do all people. So many people do rely on government services, and it's scary for anyone who might lose a job to wonder when the final hour will occur. And to be a federal employee listening to Congress fighting must be exceptionally scary.

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