A Confession of Bias, Followed by a Bunch of Stuff You Should Probably Ignore
I have some grave personal reasons to fear a government shutdown.
My husband earns way more than I do. He’s an engineer for NASA. He won’t be getting paid during the shutdown. It’s possible that he won’t be compensated for it afterward. A “pay holiday” is the perversely cheerful term for it.
Without his income, we may have to use our retirement savings to make the mortgage payments and continue his mother’s health insurance. That’s not a place we’d like to be.
Worse, ethics rules forbid him from working a temp job at any private company that holds a federal contract. This eliminates essentially everything in his field. (This is also the reason why, in the event he does get compensated for the shutdown time, I will recommend that we accept it with a clean conscience.)
Now, obviously I’m biased here — I’ve got a personal stake. So I don’t expect you to give any weight at all to my opinion. In fact, I expect you to tell me that I’ve been bought off by Big Aerospace, and that all of what follows (and come to think of it all of the above, too) is entirely wrong.
Of course, that’s never stopped me before.
I can’t help but think that the impending shutdown is a kind of very expensive political theater, with the politicians being the absolute last ones to bear any of the costs personally. These they will pass off to the civil service.
And yet — is there any reason to blame civil servants in particular for our budget woes? As in, personally, with their mortgage payments and their mothers’ health insurance and their savings at stake? Should civil servants — all 800,000 of them — bear more of a responsibility than our elected officials?
To make a modest proposal: Would there not be less misery, and for fewer people, and would that misery not be more justly distributed, if we simply horsewhipped a randomly chosen member of Congress every day on the steps of the Capitol until they reached an agreement? (You wanted political theater, didn’t you? I’m happy to supply….)
I’m just asking. I hope I’m allowed to ask — even if, as I said, I’m biased.