Writing Out Loud: At What Cost?

By George Stahl

There aren’t many companies around the country that will pay their employees if they refuse to go to work. Not many will put out paychecks if their workers are refusing to work together to get the projects done, and then leave their desks, work stations, factory lines and cash registers in protest of the non-agreement.

Well, look it at that way, and hundreds of Senators and Congressmen are violating the rules of employment. Today is the 11th day that the Senate, and Congress have been off their posts.

Thousands of other government workers are either working their jobs without pay or are going about their day working on those projects. They dare not leave, or they will be terminated as well.

Now, for the point of this article. Simply put: no work, no pay! In the case of these workers in Washington, they are employees of the people who vote for them. Regardless of their reasons or agendas, if any of these ‘employees of the people’ voted in such a way as to initiate and now prolong the government shutdown, they should not receive their pay checks for the days the federal government is not working. On the other hand, if they are in the minority of Senators and Congressmen who voted against the shutdown, sorry folks, but that puts you in the category of the thousands not getting paid for their jobs, whether they are still working or not. This includes all of those men and women in our military. They are defending a way of life that allows a system like the one we have to simply…stop if they can’t agree on things. Shut it down. “We’ll show those guys, and one in particular, that we have the power to flip the switch to off. We’ll hold our breath ‘til we turn blue.” Maybe, but at what cost?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the employers of these knuckle heads, that’s us, we should not tolerate this outrage of bad planning and poor insight, nor should we be allowing their salaries to continue. Cut the money flow. That should show them we are serious about this nonsense. Hit them in their pocket books, and as George H. W. Bush said so clearly in his many speeches, “No more taxes. Read my lips: no more taxes.” H. W., of course, meant that he wasn’t going to add taxes if elected President. Well, he was, and he did add taxes. Another story for another time. The phrase he used, however, can apply in this situation of a shutdown. Instead of a promise though, now it is a threat. If you Senators and Congressmen don’t settle this and get back to work, we, your employers say, “Don’t pay… no more taxes.” Just for the time that these elderly babies in Washington can’t seem to play well with others in the sand box.

Eleven days must seem like 11 years to those thousands of federal employees not getting paid during this time. Each bread winner not winning any bread adds to the stress of society. What they do for a living may be what some of us need to stay alive. This is not just one of those times when the government says, sorry, we don’t have that service. This is when they say, “Sorry, we don’t have a person to tell you that we don’t have that kind of service.”

Usually if you are going to take a stand as hard as not paying your taxes for any reason, you would write a letter to your congressman to inform him and to vent your anger at his course of action.

In this case, by the time your guy or gal gets the letter, the shutdown will be over, and your solution to the situation will have lost its impact value. You can still choose not to pay your taxes for whatever time this is going into to, but as far as a threat? Not so much. By that time, it would become no more than a promise as your retaliation, not as an ultimatum. Less dramatic and certainly less convincing as a defense at your tax evasion trial. “Honest your honor, it was originally intended as a threat,” you will say. Now you get charged with tax evasion and make terrorists threats against a representative of United States government. By the time any of this transpires in a court, the government will have been back up and running for some time.

You, however, are in chains, sitting behind a wooden desk, wearing government-issue clothes, and wishing you had never read this column. See you in 8 to 10. America has another hero to memorialize, and bubba has a new playmate. Apparently, it’s all in the timing.