To the Editor,
The so-called government shutdown was a phony ploy by the president to force Congress to a quicker resolution of the continuing resolution to authorize the funding of the government. Think about it - air traffic control, the military, Homeland Security, the Secret Service, the president's staff and servants as well as thousands of other "critical" workers were not furloughed. How could that be, since, supposedly, there was no money to pay them?
The president, through his department heads, decided which employees to give an additional paid vacation (remember, Congress retroactively authorized back pay to the furloughed the last time and will this time) and which employees to keep working. The furloughed were the ones who made the largest visible impact, such as the forest rangers at the closed parks and monuments, and the last-hope experimental trials for cancer patients. The president's blatant disregard for the welfare of the American people is no better than that of Congress. So, to lecture Congress publicly at the end of this mess about how injurious its inaction was is baloney.
There is not point furloughing anybody the next time because they will be paid, plus the plot doesn't work. What spurs Congress to action is how close we are to defaulting on the national debt. At the last minute, they seem to muster enough pride to work out an acceptable compromise, irrespective of how short-lived, to avoid default.
Beyond the grandstanding and the political posturing is a real issue -our out-of-control spending. At $17 trillion and counting, we are now borrowing simply to pay interest on the debt, the bulk of which accumulated from our decade-long foreign excursions, the bailouts and stimulus and 12 years of compounding interest payments. Look on your tax instruction booklet at the pie charts that show revenues and spending. The slice for interest payments is about the same as the slice representing borrowing.
If you or I had credit card debt eight times our annual income, we would be in bankruptcy court. The judge would decide who and what percent each creditor would receive from what was left in our income after our genuine needs were met. In five years we would be absolved and have a fresh economic start.
Maybe that is what the United States should do - default, declare bankruptcy and decide who to pay. If we defaulted, it would force us to live within our means. China would stop exporting to us, since our national bankruptcy court would declare us automatically even -the value of all the intellectual property they stole, all the patent and copyright infringements and consumer knock-offs would equal or exceed our accumulated balance of deficient payments and T Bills.
Since import credit would vanish, we would have to manufacture our own products, which would put folks back to work, which would raise tax revenue. In five years, if we can refrain from starting another war, we should be well on our way to a genuine recovery.