As we walked our dog around the lake this morning, we encountered three Restonians in furlough mode—one with NASA, one a DoD contractor and one with the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, all solid citizens doing work that is needed and broadly beneficial to us all.
None of them are known targets of John Boehner and his merry band of thugs. They are just a tiny sample of the huge collateral damage done by these irresponsible people still drawing their comfortable $174,000/year salaries. Collateral damage includes, for example, 800,000 government employees furloughed, hundreds of thousands of little kids denied Head Start programs, meat and food safety inspections that won’t happen, clinical trials for children and adults halted at the NIH, etc, etc. Did I mention the costs, likely in the billions, of shutting down all manner of program operations, services and construction; and, then having to re-start them all because these guys don’t like a health care law?! By John Boehner’s logic, shouldn’t the other party, and all of us for that matter, be allowed a turn at shutting down the government until our least favorite law is denuded, defunded, repealed or whatever? We’re not talking about legislation under consideration, or even the yearly budget, areas which should be the subject of thorough, deliberative processes in a responsible legislature. We are talking about cherry picking an existing law that has passed the test of constitutionality. I’m sure that we liberals, broadly centrist Democrats, and DINOs (Dems in Name Only) all would love to pick one or more of our most despised laws, and hold the government hostage until our pick is deleted or repealed. Actually, it turns out that Democrats are philosophically and otherwise opposed to shutting down all the essential work that the government does for the American people.
If I weren’t personally so opposed to damaging the wide sweep of important and even wonderful things that our government does for America and hurting so many people while I’m at it, my dark side would like to take a shot at getting rid of one of the sources of the mounting inequality in this country. My bogeymen include corporate and fat cat welfare woven throughout many of our laws like the tax code, laden with special exceptions and bargain tax rates for unearned income. Take a minute and think what law, laws you’d like to have taken off the books if you had the power that conservative Republicans are trying to wield with their hostage-taking today. I’m willing to bet that precious few Restonians would pick a law that, with some fixable flaws, will provide essential health care to over 30 million people. It takes really special people to shut down our government, much less to do it just to prevent millions of people from having essential health care. There, I feel better!