079 Capitol Hill United States Congress 1993
079 Capitol Hill United States Congress 1993 (Photo credit: David Holt London)

Update at the bottom.

When people are out of work, we should be sympathetic, but what is the point of using  taxpayer’s money to pay supposedly capable people for doing nothing? What is the point of deliberately shutting down the government and telling government workers to stay home?

WASHINGTON (AP) — Their government has failed to keep the doors open and has told federal workers to stay off the job as the political parties fight over spending and health care in austere times.

Now Congress and President Barack Obama are sending this message to the 800,000 sidelined government employees: We don’t know when the impasses will end but you will get reimbursed for lost pay once the government reopens.

With the partial shutdown entering its fifth day, the GOP-run House passed a bill Saturday that would make sure the furloughed workers get paid for not working. The White House backs the bill and the Senate was expected to OK it, too, but the timing was unclear. (continued here)

These are “austere times”? What about our President’s and Congress’ behavior illustrates they think that? Who else can afford to pay people for doing nothing?

When private industry runs something — anything — we can point to the reality that underlies the choices of the decision makers. Customers buy the what they want for prices that have some relationship to cost. Employers pay workers salaries that bear a close relationship to their skill levels, and shutdowns and strikes are both rare and real, not pretenses. Everyone loses. Nobody gets something for nothing.

Do you work in the private market? Do you pay taxes? Do you make as much as a Federal Government worker? Do you want to pay nonessential Federal workers to sit at home while essential Federal workers work? Is that your idea of good government and the wise use of your money?

Here is the excuse.

“This is not their fault and they should not suffer as a result,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said of federal workers. “This bill is the least we should do. Our hard-working public servants should not become collateral damage in the political games and ideological wars that Republicans are waging.”

Rep. Elijah Cummings thinks we should pay “hard-working public servants” for doing nothing. What does that say about what Cummings really thinks about the importance of work, particularly when he is spending other people’s money? How much do Democrats care whether government workers actually do any work? How much have Republicans been infected with such diseased thinking?

Once again Republicans show signs of buckling. If Congress uses our taxes pay Federal workers, the shutdown is virtually over. Since unionized Federal government workers will once again be paying their union dues, Democrat politicians will once again be happy. Moreover, the corporate news media will still have stories about the shutdown of various Federal agencies.  Taxpayers will see they are still paying through the nose, but they are not getting anything. Therefore, continuing the shutdown will have become utterly stupid.

When will we learn? Using government to do anything we do not need government to do is a bad deal. Because of the inevitable nonsensical politics, the cost is too high. The “business” processes are too hard to manage.

So now we move onto the fight over the debt ceiling. Will the RINOs make a show of fighting or will they actually fight?


Thought this observation worth noting.

Democrats have insisted that either the entire government is funded or none of it will be. Republicans have countered by writing bills to fund specific high-profile programs such as the National Institutes of Health, the national parks and some social services.

Those bills have won a smattering of Democratic support in the House, but Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats have rejected the piecemeal strategy, saying they will not pick and choose among favored programs.

Passing the federal employees bill would not break that vow, since it won’t put any workers back on the job, but merely ensure everyone gets paid. All workers were paid after the 1995 and 1996 shutdowns, too.

Republicans said it was striking that Mr. Obama has vowed to veto bills funding veterans’ services, the National Institutes of Health and the nation’s national parks, even as he said he’ll sign the federal employees bill.

“The House has approved 15 different options to fund the government, sent them over to the Senate, but sadly the only response is a loud snore,” said Rep. Harold Rogers, the Kentucky Republican who heads the House Appropriations Committee. (from here)


  1. If you look out the window, you’ll note that we have been at war for more than a decade. It appears to be winding down (at least militarily) but the costs continue. The government borrows money by authorizing the issuance of debt instruments.

    I’m familiar with the Constitution, as I have indicated here in the past. Thank you.


    1. Look out the window? What country are you in?

      Why don’t try looking at the budget? Three quarters of it has nothing to do with military spending. Borrowing money to fight WWII made sense. A police action in Iraq? Afghanistan? Don’t kid yourself.

      The brave soldiers who fight police actions for us are relatively few in number (and still fight in Afghanistan), but given even halfway decent leadership they win. What they most need from us is good government, men and women running our nation who know their job. One look at the budget will answer that question. We have not done our job.


  2. That not raising the debt ceiling will cause a default is arithmetic. There’s nothing in the Constitution that prohibits the national government from borrowing money. At the time the Constitution was adopted, there was a tremendous debt from the Revolution that needed to be retired.


    1. Arithmetic? So our interest payments are greater than what we take in in taxes? If that were true, I don’t think borrowing money will help the situation. As it is, given we are not at war, why are we borrowing so much money? Except in a Socialist Democrat’s spendaholic dreams, where is the need?

      Have you actually looked at the Constitution? Have you compared what that document authorizes Congress to do with the Federal Budget? Of course you have. You reached the this line in Article I, Section 8, and you stopped.

      To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

      What does it matter if anyone reads the rest of the Constitution? Doesn’t it just say whatever Congress wants it to say?


  3. Tom – are you suggesting that Members of Congress have taken actions in this shutdown episode that have so much theological significance that they will go to Hell because of their stance on health care or the Continuing Resolution? If so, can you elaborate on that point? When one follows back to the post, it’s not clear what the mortal sin might be.


    1. Each of the men and women in Congress takes an oath of office. They swear to support and defend the Constitution. If they were doing that, no one would take seriously the possibility that not raising the debt ceiling would cause our government to go into default.


    1. Ever since the financial bailout DURING THE ADMINISTRATION OF GEORGE W. BUSH, it has gotten easier. What I still find hard to understand is why we have yet to throw the bums out.


        1. Their IQ may be higher, but that makes no difference. Whether one is a public official or just an ordinary citizen, doing stuff that will get you thrown in hell is dumb.


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