It’s now day two of the government shutdown. Tim, Christian, and I have enough provisions to see us through until the end of the week, but we’re about to run out of dog food. Rationing has begun, and though Bella and Emmy appear to be holding up well, I fear that by the end of the day they may revolt and start begging for people food. I’m beginning to see it in their eyes. As a last resort, Tim may have to make the trek into Specks Pet Supply today, but his journey will depend entirely upon the atmosphere out there. With media coverage still available, we have yet to hear of rioting and looting in our sector, but without the federal government’s intervention, we can’t possibly avoid the inevitable.
My greatest fear is for our daughters. The town of West Lafayette, Indiana, sits west of the Wabash River. What if the federal government shutdown leads to the secession of this predominantly collegiate town? If West Lafayette becomes its own sovereignty, would their provisional government deny us entry into their kingdom, effectively using the Wabash to cut West Lafayette off from the rest of the country? I must find a way to rescue Julianne and Caroline from what I can only foresee as West Lafayette’s long-awaited opportunity to use this federal shutdown to intern thousands of young men and women, possibly forcing them into slave labor.
For now, our power grid remains safe from the federal government shutdown, but how much longer can that last? Certainly, with the dearth of federal agencies regulating the coal industry, Indiana is facing an energy meltdown the likes of which our generation and those before us have never known.
The prospect of living without the protection of the federal government is beginning to weigh heavily on my mind.
The State of Indiana cannot possibly function without the federal government and its vast, vast panoply of sage advisors controlling their federal dollars. Just how long can the post office function? Am I facing a future that does not include my daily trip to the mailbox to retrieve the circulars, the flyers, and the occasional notification from the credit card companies that I’ve been approved for a platinum card at the rate of 21% for the first six months?
I must, I must focus instead on our survival. Like my father before me, I must become part of the next greatest generation. We will prevail. We will prevail. Federal government or no federal government, Tim and I and the children must learn to live without that long-wondered-about trip to The Smithsonian and it doesn’t look as if we’ll be able to renew our passports anytime soon for that European vacation we hoped to take next year as soon as we save enough money to pay our 2015 federal taxes.
Steadfast and resolute, we will prevail.
Kidding aside, what began as a tongue in cheek bit of satire regarding the federal government’s shutdown—a result of Congress’ not-so-surprising inability to pass a budget–got me thinking about the actual efficacy of the federal government. I certainly do not want to see anyone with a government job go without pay—since there are so many government employees that would be as devastating to the economy as some of the draconian restrictions Congress forces upon private sector businesses and their ability to add to the GNP. Aside from our military—the one federal entity which I wholeheartedly support and which should never lack for anything—I cannot think of a thing that the federal government does for me today that I cannot live without for a while.
I’ve read that non-essential government workers have been furloughed. If they’re non-essential, why are they working for the federal government at all? Gee, I’d hate to be the guy who was told to go home this morning because his work is “non-essential”. There’s a motivator for success. And what happens to the money that is not paid to these furloughed workers for the number of days they’re furloughed? Any chance those dollars could be applied to our skyrocketing debt so that the Chinese loan sharks don’t come a-knocking for a while?
If I didn’t anger you with my aforementioned parody of life without a federal government then consider this: During a government shutdown, Congress still gets paid! I submit to you that if I was a Congressman looking at an interruption in my pay that might just be enough to light a fire under my fat cat behind. That would motivate me to want to pass a budget.
What is Congress’ motivation, then? Could it be that their collective inability to come to an agreement further pushes ahead their own personal agendas? Gives them more face time in front of the reporters who are living large when things start to go south on Capitol Hill?
Democrats are blaming Republicans for the government shutdown because of their stubborn resolve to delay the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. I refuse to enter into any rhetoric concerning that sea of quicksand, based in part on my inability to reckon how the federal government is going to run health care when they can’t even properly run the Veterans’ Administration, so my thoughts on Obamacare end here.
Not surprisingly, there is much whining about how our elected officials are failing to lead. This may be true, or, it could be that this is exactly what democracy looks like. It’s cumbersome, often ugly, smelly, and fraught with warts, and at times, tends to reflect poorly upon the greatest country on our planet. Like now. Furthermore, I certainly don’t believe Congress should be paid while they throw their toys up against the wall and threaten to go home and eat worms.
On the other hand, it is democracy; if you don’t like it, there are other places you can set up shop—like China or Russia. So when it comes time to re-elect those who represent you in Congress, become informed, read about both sides of an issue before deciding which side you’re on, and whatever your position, vote based upon these facts and not what the media’s narrative brainwashes you into thinking.
Gotta’ go…the mail’s here.