I’ve had two posts on my Facebook account in the last two days that really tear at me because they show how national game playing by our Congresspeople — including Utah’s Rob Bishop — is directly impacting Utahn’s lives.
Bishop is a proud member of the Tea Party, which went to Congress this year with the avowed intention of slashing spending or they’d shut the government down trying. The list of programs they’ve slashed all in the space of a day or so, with little debate, are almost all “liberal” programs that directly impact the poor and needy, while they don’t seem to see a problem with federal spending that helps cattle ranchers, or farmers, or the oil industry, or the military industrial complex.
That’s bad enough, but the U.S. Senate has indicated it won’t go along with the cuts, and President Obama has vowed to veto them. The Tea Party are the tail wagging the dog of the rest of the Republicans in congress who lack the spine to stand up to them or — like Bishop — see them as critical to reelection, and there’s nothing more important that reelection.
So, without a budget extension, a government shutdown looms.
One friend on Facebook, Wendy Garcia, has a husband in the Army who is serving in Iraq. She is worried that, if the government shuts down, her husband’s salary won’t be paid to her.
Her letter, (click) posted to Rep. Bishop’s web site, is a plea to keep the families of the troops in mind.
If a shut down occurs and the military doesn’t get paid, our financial well-being will be affected immediately. Please do what you can to avoid this shut down. When you vote to continue the deadlock, please remember families like mine, who will run into money problems VERY quick through no fault of our own. My husband works very hard for his money, he (and every other soldier) deserves to get paid for their labor on time.
Bishop is real good at keeping the families of ATK Space Systems in mind when he’s fighting for spending on massive NASA rocket motors, so we’ll see if he remembers the families of the troops.
Or will he just blame the democrats? Yeah, it’s their fault for not going along with the massive cuts.
The other Facebook discussion was a reaction to something I put up that was, on its face, rather silly — when I turn 62 in March I am planning to go to Arches National Park and buy a $10 senior pass to the national parks — a lifetime benefit from the park system for getting older.
I wailed that if the government shuts down I won’t be able to get the pass on my birthday.
The post quickly garnered 27 comments. I got no sympathy for my problem (nor do I deserve any) but in addition to Wendy Garcia, several other federal employees chimed in, saying a shutdown will put them into immediate financial distress.
This is a sad commentery on where we’re at these days — Congressmen routinely vilify federal workers as leeches sucking down huge salaries simply because that very public vilification plays to the loudmouths screaming for government to quit taxing them or wasting money, or something. How does vilification of government workers for short-term political gain help the nation as a whole?
Interestingly, many of the government workers in Utah who now face layoffs are members of the Tea Party, the same people who scream for cuts in all spending except for their Medicare or welfare or whatever. One friend put it nicely:
I would like all the federal employees who voted republican in the last election to get in line for the very first pay cuts and furloughs. Of course, they’re blaming Obama for the results of their voting. I actually know a federal employee who also receives foodstamps–and she voted republican! And now she’s squealing about furloughs and cuts to welfare. The mind absolutely boggles–what did she THINK was going to happen?