Another shutdown, another sign of the apocalypse


When giving consideration to many things, I tend to initially approach them with a very naïve eye.

Consider food. I might simply ask how it tastes. The naïve part in such an example comes from not wanting to know the ingredients, preparation methods and so on. But if it tastes lousy and I’m not going to eat it, then thoughts of preservatives and deep frying it wrapped in bacon and serving it slathered with butter really don’t require much of an investment on my part.

I get it. That’s not the most complete way of doing things. It often leaves some thoughts and details off to the side. Occasionally there are issues worth considering and investigating. But here’s the biggest thing I’ve learned in my life: Numbers lie.

What I mean by that is more than specifics about numbers. It’s a general recognition of situations. Very rarely—and that should probably read VERY rarely—are any of us presented with complete stories. In a scenario using numbers, people twist them like balloon animals and carefully present them from selected angles to create your sightline of their opinions. Two plus two is almost never simply four. In addition, people tend to research things until long enough to gather materials that prove their opinion correct. Then, full stop.

Realistically, it means that all of us need to approach things with a bit of caution and skepticism. Or, as I like to think of it, don’t become too concerned with whether the glass is half-empty or half-full when you should be looking around to see who took some of your water. Get multiple sources. Consider there may be an upcoming drop of second, third and fourth shoes. At least listen to the other side.

And so, we recently had one of the longest shutdowns of our government in history. And yes, I was a bit naïve. But that approach allowed me to see something quite clearly: our political system is being run by idiots. I have an example. (Stop me when I’m wrong.)

As the beginning of the shutdown first approached, it was acknowledged that there was a group of people that would be told not to come in to work, and during the work stoppage would not be paid.

If the government shutdown went on long enough, some paydays would arrive and pass with no paychecks issued.

Once the government reopened, elected officials would look at a certain segments of this group (say in a “full-time employees yes, contracted freelancers no” possibility) and decide (my words) “…it wasn’t their fault, so let’s approve retroactive pay for them…” and a good portion will be paid.

Now… three simple concepts. But so far, I have yet to find anyone that says this outline is incorrect or inaccurate for many of those in the center of the storm. People wouldn’t work. People wouldn’t get paid. Once things were wrapped up, backpay would be arranged. And it is from this that I begin to have issues with the stupidity of our government.

Essentially what our elected officials are operating is a system where everyone knows these people will be paid, but the scenario is going to be played out where they won’t be paid. Work won’t get done… overtime and additional expenses will be required to get things back on track once we get the office doors open again, which wouldn’t have been necessary if everyone had just kept coming in to work… hundreds of thousands of people will have issues and battle hardships with their household expenses as a result of the missed paydays… and yet every politician seems to know, not even in a wink wink nod nod type of way but actually acknowledged and readily agreed, that these people will be paid later on exactly what they would have been paid had they worked.

In short… let’s set millions (if not billions) of dollars on fire unnecessarily so that we can have a meaningless pissing contest.

Yup… apocalypse.

Now before you go looking for the contact information of my web site and begin planning your blistering response to my ignorance, I once again plead for understanding about my naïve approach. I’m not talking about the extremes or difficult issues that need solutions. What I’m saying is this…

Our supposedly smart and educated elected leadership has a scenario where they won’t keep some offices open, staff on duty, or provide services… they are going to punish those employees without pay… then, they are going to give those the employees the pay they missed while facing a situation where additional monies might be needed to help get everything caught up, organized, and back in place. And somehow, that is preferable than agreeing that it would be better (and far less costly) to just keep the offices open, staff on duty, and provide services.

About six years ago, I was reading an article as the possibility of a government shutdown approaching at that time. Basically, it outlined how the closure of some offices was going to result in certain permits not being issued.

At that time, the article reviewed a specific and time-limited fishing season, and would result in thousands of dollars lost each day that could never be made up. The season would end up being shorter, plus other countries would simply ship in their catches to stock the markets while American boats were stuck at the docks. There was no way that these losses could be recovered.

Point is… stupid is stupid, regardless of how naïve it may seem. There are many things politicians do that do not need to be done. Forget the finger pointing and blame… stop wasting my money. Because… naïve or no… the money being wasted more likely than not could fix a ton of the issues that really need some attention.


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