me… I thought the government was supposed to be for the people.
actually, there is a reality of that opening line… and in the
immortal words of Jackie Gleason from Smokey and the Bandit:
“That’s an attention getter.” Still…)
American political system isn’t about everyday people. We get
the benefits of a civilized society and organized services from
our government. In many ways, those are good, and often great.
In many ways, the government is responsible for positive things.
if the system was about average people, then the people accepting
contributions and job offers for friends and family wouldn’t be
speaking on and on (and on) to defend and support those same companies
that provided the dollars and employment opportunities. In other
words, our best interests would be involved, and not their best
system is bogged down to the point of often bordering on useless.
In the past year alone, we’ve been treated to such wonderful government
demonstrations -- over and over and over again -- as the fiscal
cliff, the sequester, the shutdown, and the debt ceiling.
consider three ideas:
one -- Be careful about trusting decisions to those with no understanding
of the issue… or to those with no interest in the outcome
happen to know of a company that by policy required staff to park
off-site, and then used a shuttle bus system to bring employees
to the main property. Upper management… senior executives… did
have on-site parking privileges, and they used an area immediately
adjacent to the elevators that led to their offices. (Imagine
so often questions would come from the staff concerning parking,
and the answers always seemed a touch off. The answers weren’t
really wrong… they just seemed to miss the point. An employee
might ask why they needed to park in a distant lot. And the response
would be that employees saved money on gas… got to rest a bit
while someone else drove… and so on -- presented in glowing terms,
while never really addressing the actual question.
“Why can’t we park on-site?”
“Think of the money you’re saving on gas.”
I actually live in the opposite direction, so I’m spending more
money on gas because of this situation. Still, that wasn’t my
question. If you don’t mind… why can’t we park on-site?”
that ride is time when you can rest. No worries. Escape for
a bit. You can close your eyes, or just gaze off at the beautiful
landscape passing by while you relax in comfort.”
just a three-minute ride if we’re being honest about it. I actually
spend more time sitting on the bus while it’s not moving, waiting
to get going. Plus, I need to add 60-minutes each day to my
commute in order to use the shuttle bus. I have to park, wait
for the bus, ride it in, and then after work do the reverse.
Again though, not my question. I was wondering…”
in order to use the shuttle and arrive at work on time an employee
would need to leave earlier for the ride in and add time to the
ride home. Seldom did management bring that up.
thing though, there was a perfectly reasonable answer for why
off-site parking was needed.
was at a premium on-site. To bring in the customers it made all
the sense in the world to free up as many spaces at the property
as possible. And part of that concept was relayed to staff. The
trouble is -- well, remember those “who is the bus driver” word
problems when you were younger? -- the response provided never
seemed to match the problem with a smooth, accurate communication.
And I often think that the reason wasn’t a run-around, or some
intentional misdirection. I believe that in this case it is possible
that senior management never understood the concept.
it didn’t matter to them.
they didn’t have to park and then ride the bus, the idea that
employees might be spending even more time commuting didn’t connect.
two -- Some of the best food is available near a national park
Near one of the entrances for Mount Rainier there is a place called
the Copper Creek Inn. The restaurant here serves a blackberry
pie that is… well… delicious, amazing, brilliant, and an entire
thesaurus of appropriate words would fail to describe it. This
pie, when served hot from the oven with a scoop of ice cream,
is the greatest pie in the world. (One bite and you would agree.
Yes… you would. Straight from the oven to you, after one bite,
you would nod when asked if it was brought to your table directly
from paradise. It’s that fabulous.)
the Copper Creek Inn isn’t alone. I’ve had the great fortune to
visit several tremendous places located near national parks… restaurants
and hotel rooms serving the visitors of the Grand Canyon, Joshua
Tree, Yosemite, and the Everglades, as just a few examples. And
these locations depend on those of us visiting the parks for their
three -- Back pay
politicians postured and posed and worked on getting the perfect
quote released to the media that would catapult their name to
the top of headlines, they seldom agreed on anything.
when it concerned back pay for furloughed government workers.
agreed on that.
so… those three concepts now placed before you… I ask: Are these
people representing me? Are they representing you?
answer for the VAST majority of us clearly seems to be
no. Not in any way, shape or form.
are out of touch with my needs and the challenges I face, and
they show no recognition of total scope of the damage being caused.
(Unless of course it creates a good sound bite. Then they recognize
that an issue exists. Unfortunately, when presenting the material,
they honestly have no clue what they’re talking about more often
than not. But we don’t have time to drive off on that tangent.)
more thing before I really begin to vent. Let’s read a story.
one comes from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer,
and it looks at how several American vessels are stuck in port
during one of the crab seasons because no permits can be issued
while the government is closed.
all that material delivered… here’s why I’m upset.
know… stay with me.)
these politicians stage their little contests of chest-thumping,
word on the street is that Wall Street is paying close attention.
No less than Warren Buffet said of the thought of defaulting “it
would be a ‘pure act of idiocy’ and ‘asinine.’”
And I agree.
the easiest of explanations: I’m certainly not happy about watching
a 401k collapse on me. (Again.)
not specifically (or solely) referring to my retirement though.
Instead, what I am talking about is the repercussions… the collateral
damage. (So to speak.)
furloughed government employees receive back pay for the time
they were out of work? I honestly don’t know. I’ve heard stories
that many were signed up for unemployment compensation. (I cannot
prove that.) And the reality as I understand it is that virtually
all of them knew they were eventually heading back to work. (In
comparison, I’ve had plenty of friends that lost their jobs, but
when it happened to them they were never heading back to that
employer within a few days or weeks. I’m sure you know people
that faced this scenario as well.)
said, I’m fine with the thought of back pay since it is an attempt
to make things right for people that suffered at no fault of their
trick is… the back pay for government workers is, to me, typical
Washington looking out for their own and nobody else. Places like
the Copper Creek Inn… counting on visitors to a national park…
will not, to my knowledge, be getting “back pay” of some sort.
out that article on Alaskan crab fishing again. No permits… no
crabs. Sounds easy enough as a concept. But deeper down in the
article is this paragraph: “Gleason estimated that $80,000 a day
loss number for the fleet and said the problems will only get
worse. The holidays are huge for crabbers, especially sales to
Japan. Each passing day means Russian fisherman can corner the
market and box out American suppliers in quantity and pricing.”
are we with this?
part, it’s like moving a car. Any person knowledgeable about getting
good gas mileage will tell you the most dangerous item working
against your efforts is the brake pedal. Slow down… lose momentum…
waste gas getting back up to speed.
shutdown… this threat of default… is amazingly pointless. And
even if it does end before a default… instead of using energy
to make things better, get stronger, and improve, resources will
need to be directed at recovering, getting back up to speed after
the brakes were applied. And those investments of resources will
never fully cover the damages resulting from the process of shutting
down and starting up again.
leads to my retirement. Why should I have to watch my investments
work hard to recover losses caused by the government’s inactivity
and, frankly, reckless actions?
my guess is because our elected representatives simply don’t understand.
They’re not parked in that lot. They’re not riding that shuttle.
And perhaps it’s well beyond time we all realized that.
~ ~ ~
completing this essay and starting the process of posting it,
word began to circulate that the Senate had reached a potential
solution, and it was expected to pass through both sides of Congress.
still not happy… and most of my thoughts remain intact. Because…
and you’ll never believe this… nothing got done.
pay attention… listen and read and think about the materials you
will see over the next few days. Because you’re going to be made
aware of dates in December and January and February.
that was accomplished was putting off the problems for a few more
talk about delusional. Get this -- “We
fought the good fight. We just didn’t win.”
John Boehner folks. And he’s not kidding. He’s the House Speaker.
And… apparently… he’s serious. If we trust his words,
he honestly believes that he led a good fight here, which means
he believes it was worth it.
2014. Any idea why you’re hearing that date as one of the dates
involved as a deadline for “addressing” portions of this mess?
Go figure… it just so happens to be the time that lovely sequester
comes around again. In short, it wasn’t picked out of a hat.
no long-term solution here. Nothing solid at all.
Democrats can’t do anything right, and the Republicans are too
stupid to act on it. Or… did you miss the fact that the Republicans
supposedly took this stand to force action on the Affordable Care
Act, and then nothing in the final results even noted
“Affordable Care Act” in a whisper? (And as to the Democrats getting
it right, I refer you to all of the stories pouring out that the
on-line resources for health exchange as part of the Affordable
Care Act apparently are so outdated and obsolete that the sites
may need complete overhauls. That’s my example for now.)
That’s my opinion. Self-serving idiots. And they have no clue
what is happening around the country, to real folks… to real Americans.