Thoughts about the federal government shutdown
Since October 1, we’ve been in a federal government shutdown. I feel angry, annoyed, and powerless. I am torn between admiring those who stand by their convictions and wanting to smack those who refuse to compromise.
As I’ve read and watched the news about the effects of the government shutdown, I’ve been thinking about how we got to this point – and what we can change to make it more unlikely in the future. Here are some thoughts about the federal government shutdown.
1. Actions (and inaction) should have consequences for Congress. In a private sector company, an employee who doesn’t do their job would get suspended, put on notice, or even fired (with an escort out the door). Congressmembers’ poor job performance should also have consequences. Their salary, benefits (health insurance), and perks (travel, meal, lodging, and entertainment expenses) should be suspended during a government shutdown.
2. Let’s agree to line-item budget approval. The Senate and the House are unwilling to compromise, but why must the federal budget be all-or-nothing? Instead, Congressmembers should go through the budget, line-by-line, and approve each budget item so that the federal government can continue to function. Then Congress can focus on the budget items on which they cannot agree.
3. Congress needs a succession plan. Presidents have vice presidents; governors have lieutenant governors; principals have vice principals; police chiefs have deputy police chiefs. But the succession plan for Congressmembers is… an appointment by the governor. Or re-election, months or even years later. Maybe we should change the law to elect an adjunct senator and adjunct representative. The adjuncts would act as a chief of staff (so that we wouldn’t have to pay additional salaries) and be able to complete the congressmember’s term if they are incapacitated – or impeached. I would think that failing
Possibly the only silver lining in the government shutdown is that we’re temporarily safe from the IRS. With apologies to hard-working and understanding IRS agents, we can breathe a sign of relief because IRS audits are being suspended. I think that most of us have a tremendous fear of being audited.
How has the federal government shutdown affected you? What can we do differently the next time there is a budget crisis?