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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Government Shutdown Looms | Who Is Really At Fault?

In about 48 hours, unless some quick compromising occurs on Capitol Hill, we will have a government shutdown. Don't panic. It's been done before - in 1995 and 1996 during President Clinton's time in the Oval Office. Same then as it is now, the Republicans are taking the lion's share of the blame. So, who is really at fault?

You have three players in this game: Unyielding Republicans, Democrats that want to preserve as much of the status quo as possible and a president who's nowhere to be found in Washington.

Let's look at the Republicans. The last time this happened, Newt Gingrich was leading the Republican majority. He wouldn't give in until we had 26 days of a government shutdown. Bill Clinton used it to reverse his public opinion and came out smelling like a freshly dipped cigar. Bad GOP. Bad GOP.

Now, the Grand Old Party is in the cross-hairs, again. Their problem is fueled by the results of the last election. They believe the American people have had enough of the runaway government spending and that they have a mandate to cut, cut, cut and get the federal budget under control. So they are staying firm.

On the other side of the aisle, the Democrats are screaming all kinds of scare tactics, "There won't be anything left of our government if the Republicans get their way." That's a bit overboard. Democrats are always good for drama.

The left likes to complain about the government spending, but they don't want to do anything about it. Both parties are to blame for the outrageous spending the government does, but the Democrats have spent a heck of a lot more, and they know it.

Now, let's look at Presidente Obama. Or should I say, "Let's look FOR President Obama." With a government shutdown looming, old B.O. wasn't at the White House on the phone trying to hammer out a compromise. No. He was holding a Town Hall Meeting somewhere in Pennsylvania or Oklahoma or Vermont - wherever it was, it wasn't in Washington. And at the Town Hall Meeting he's doing the "Best of Obama" campaign speeches. "We need to work on this like adults and not like children." Well, Baracky, that does a lot to move the process forward, doesn't it?

In short, we have no leadership coming from the White House. He'll probably be golfing tomorrow.

Morally, the Republicans are trying to do the right thing.

Where the real problem lies is with the American people. Americans want more government than they are willing to pay for. That philosophy doesn't work in the real world and it doesn't work with government, either.

I can't go into Best Buy and demand a 900" LCD TV when I only have $150 in my pocket. "Sorry buddy. Would you like a vacuum cleaner?" "Why would I want that?" "Life sucks and then you die." 

What the president needs is a Line Item Veto. He should have a team of people that can scan every inch of the federal budget and cut all the crap out. Earmarks are a good place to start. But congressional members are scared to death of the Line Item Veto. Their foolhardy, wasteful project might get nixed, and that wouldn't sit well with their constituents. Too bad.

How will a government shutdown effect us?

Around 800,000 federal employees will be furloughed.

You'll still get your mail. Social Security checks will go out, but no new applications will be taken. Our airports and the traffic controllers will continue to fly. Services that protect the citizenry will remain functioning, including the military. But... and this is one that twists my shorts in a knot... there will be delays in military paychecks. WHAT?

The worst part of this whole mess is that if the government shutdown happens, CONGRESS STILL GETS PAID. Who's in charge here, Gary Busey?

What congress needs to do is pass a law that says, "If a government shutdown occurs, all members of the legislative and executive branches will forfeit 90 days of pay, and will have all of their benefits revoked for 90 days."

That works for me. And it should work just fine for you, too.

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