Saturday, October 5, 2013


Was my incredulous response when I turned on CNN Tuesday morning and saw that the Republicans had shutdown government because they wanted to block The Affordable Care Act. It passed Congress. The Supreme Court upheld it. Some Republicans may not like it but you lost this battle. Holding the economy hostage because you didn’t get your way is infantile. What are you two?

Connecting medical insurance to employment has always been a bad model, even when the economy was booming. Profitable companies have been finding their way around this for years. In the 90s, I began working for Goldman Sachs as a contingent through a temp agency. Lots of large corporate entities, primarily banks and law firms, were staffing some of their departments this way. I had a full time schedule but technically didn’t work for Goldman so we didn’t get benefits. The first Christmas I worked there, all of Goldman’s fulltime staff got a year-end bonus equal to a third of their annual salary. They couldn’t afford to hire us and offer benefits, really? 

Really was my response again when the House of Representatives proposed several piecemeal bills to fund national parks and museums, the NIH, and the city of Washington, D.C. If you’re proposing this does it mean I get to have a piecemeal approach to paying my taxes? Next year when I pay my taxes, can I deduct the percentage the government spends on programs I don’t like from my tax bill?

On Thursday, a friend posted something on FB that mirrored what I had been thinking …
Dear Congress, last year I mismanaged my funds and this year I can’t decide on a budget. Until I come to a unified decision that fits all of my needs and interests, I will have to shut down my checkbook and will no longer to be able to pay my taxes. I’m sure you’ll understand. Thank you so much for setting an example we can all follow.
So let’s talk about that, the example Congress is setting, both Republicans and Democrats. According to the Wall Street Journal, an anonymous White House aide said, “the administration doesn’t care how long the shutdown ends because we’re winning.” What are we teaching our children? That it’s okay to employ blackmail tactics to win. That it doesn’t matter how many lives are negatively impacted as long you win. Is this really the example you want to set for our youth?

Hundreds of thousands of government employees aren’t getting paid, can’t pay their bills, won’t have any discretionary income to pump into an already weak economy. Pre-schoolers can’t go to Head Start Programs, WIC, which provides low-income pregnant women, new mothers and children up to the age of five with healthy food, is not funded, the CDC’s ability to detect and identify disease outbreaks is severely diminished—you don’t care how long this continues, really?

So here we are, caught in the middle of this standoff, waiting for someone to blink. Didn’t their mamas teach them, you can’t always get what you want?  I want my representatives to stand for my interests but equally as important is electing people who know how and when to compromise. We really need to a better job of choosing who represents us.