On the EDge: Time for government to get back to the business of running the nation

Composite image, St. George News

OPINION — It can be extremely difficult these days to put food on the table and keep a roof over your head.

The vagaries of being a part of the workforce and decisions made by corporate America in behalf of the fat cats whose only connection to the workplace is counting the money they make on the backs of workers who toil and sacrifice to ensure profit margins remain at a level acceptable to the money guys while dodging layoffs, sucking it up during salary freezes, being furloughed “for the good of the company” and, in general, trying to keep their heads above water in the tsunami of a volatile economy pulsed by egos and greed rather than good, solid business practices, values and integrity.

Government jobs once became highly sought after because of decent pay, decent benefits and stability. As long as there’s a United States, there will be government work, right?

As we have seen since the ‘80s, a government gig is, sometimes, not all it’s cracked up to be, the specter of furloughs or working without pay because of a shutdown caused by irrational egos hanging in the air.

There are about 800,000 government workers now clawing for breath because they have been choked out of their incomes, all over a stupid wall that is the impetus of this spitting war. Of course, all that happens in a spitting war is everybody gets wet.

About 380,000 of those workers have been placed on unpaid leave, the remainder are being forced to perform their jobs without benefit of a paycheck. This all seems as if it should be illegal as hell, although it really isn’t.

It is not a leap of faith to say that this whole thing was well-thought by both sides months ago and is, at this point, merely bad acting by a bunch of hams with no theatrical training or skill.

That’s why Social Security was funded for all of 2019 back in September. Take away those retirement checks, Medicare and Medicaid and the townspeople would march on the White House with pitchforks and torches. Old people vote, they have money and their numbers are increasing each year. Nobody running for elected office is going to mess with them.

That’s also why funding for veterans benefits for all of 2019 was approved some time ago. The military, unfairly, often becomes the meager bone the snarling dogs of politics fight over and drag into senseless debates over patriotism and national pride. In reality, most of those politicians stayed as far from the military as possible until, of course, they were deemed too old for military service. We call those people chicken hawks, too cowardly to go into harm’s way but perfectly willing to send other mothers sons and daughters into conflict.

Now, however, the military is being recognized as an important voting bloc, whether active duty or veterans. And, you can be sure they are listening to the former military men who have exited the revolving door of the administration. Those guys know how the guys who control the purse strings really feel about the military.

But most of the others on the government payroll are pretty much on their own and they have been left swinging in the wind.

I’ve been on the bad end of furloughs, having to endure them on a corporate level for a couple of years when even though the company was one of the most cash-rich corporations in the nation. The suits in the ivory tower back east froze salaries, made us wait a good three months before hiring replacements for people who left because it was a way to firm up the budget, dawdled on equipment purchases, then decided to put everybody on several furloughs to make sure the fat cats got fatter. It, of course, led to radical layoffs that have had a major, and negative, impact on the product.

They got what they wanted in the short term – steady profits to dole out to shareholders – but in the long term they are up that stinky creek without a paddle and their canoe has sprung a leak.

The working man and woman were at center stage during the last two elections – the general election and midterms. They were promised more jobs, more job security, higher wages that would come from tax reforms that would benefit business. Unfortunately, those who work for a living got duped and any benefit from the revamped tax code has gone into the pockets of investors.

But, at least they weren’t at the center of some loser-leaves-town grudge match as today’s federal workers are.

I have no dog in this fight. I don’t know a soul who works for the feds in any capacity.

But I do know that we have friends and neighbors here in Southern Utah who do work for these guys and I feel sorry for them.

Other forms of government in other nations do not allow for such childish behavior.

We’ve gone through a number of shutdowns since the ‘80s, including some rather long ones when Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich fought over taxes and then again when Barack Obama and conservatives went medieval on each other over the Affordable Care Act. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush also had their share of shutdowns rooted in partisan politics.

This one promises to grow to epic proportions, a titanic power struggle that has outgrown the reason of the original premise and has become an excuse to further divide a nation held together by a slender thread.

We deserve better than this.

That wall will never be built, no matter how long the government remains shuttered. The shutdown will not build political capital for either party, it will only more firmly entrench those who are already in their disparate camps.

It’s time for the government to get back into the business of running the nation and forget about shutdowns.

No bad days!

Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist for St. George News. The opinions stated in this article are his own and may not be representative of St. George News.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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  • iceplant January 8, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Couldn’t agree with you more, Ed.
    But I guarantee this is gonna stir up a hornet’s nest. You know the rats that infest these comments.

  • Henry January 8, 2019 at 4:28 pm

    Yes, because rats hang out in hornet nests, just waiting to make comments.

  • Just Guessin January 8, 2019 at 4:41 pm

    The Wall Is Coming

  • bikeandfish January 8, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    I think Ed has some valid points but misses a critical issue: Trump’s cohort ran on dismantling the administrative state. Keeping it closed is more than just symbolic. They don’t value the agencies that remain. Just look to Breitbart articles on the subject to see evidence.

  • Redbud January 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    The great and magnificent Trump speaks to us prime time soon to dispel the rumors and myths!

    • Red2Blue310 January 8, 2019 at 8:48 pm

      Yes, he came out from behind the curtain for all to see his fakedness.

  • jpff January 8, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    We have a democrat House, run by a lady who seems to have a strong aversion to anything Trump asks. We have a republican Senate, seemingly based upon endorsing Trump and hating Pelosi. If I were Trump, I would step back and tell the two groups to come to a census and to provide a bill they would be happy with. He could either then sign it into law or simply stay back and allow it to become law. The pressure needs to be on the legislative group to do its job; if they don’t, then perhaps Trump could declare his state of disaster and make some decisions.

  • Comment January 8, 2019 at 6:12 pm

    This wall is a big fricken joke. The donald is an even bigger joke. We need an effective way to rid ourselves of illegals. If your house is already infested with some sort of insect, let’s say cockroaches, then sealing up the gaps under the doors isn’t going to do much good is it? The drugs from mexico come in at border crossings, and are well hidden inside vehicles, so the drugs slip right thru. I doubt US border patrol catches even 0.25% of the drugs run thru the checkpoints. They hide drugs inside tires, gas tanks, even inside transmission and drive components. And how deep will the foundation of donald’s “steel wall” go into the ground. I’d say it needs concrete to extend down 20ft or more or the illegals will just tunnel under it.

    • bikeandfish January 8, 2019 at 6:53 pm

      Evidence actually shows that walls can actually increase illegal immigration. When we started initially putting up barriers those who had temporary work visas, who normally returned home off-season through unofficial ports of entry/exit, began staying illegally.

      I don’t agree with your views on immigrants most of the time but you have a valid concern with a barrier’s unintended consequences.

      • Happy Commenter January 9, 2019 at 11:54 am

        Only in the world of B&F…..

  • dodgers January 8, 2019 at 9:15 pm

    I trust the experience and recommendations of those who protect our borders, the U.S. Border Patrol, which has stated that walls and barriers absolutely work.
    Better to trust those who are closest to the issue and dealing with it on a daily basis.
    And $5B is a drop in the bucket compared to the >$100B we already spend annually on illegal immigration.
    And while the Dems resist spending $5B for walls and barriers, their new budget includes $12B “additional” money for foreign aid.
    For the Dems it’s not about the money. It’s about preventing another fulfilled campaign promise—-another win, for our president.

    • Comment January 8, 2019 at 11:18 pm

      So long as US companies and businesses continue to hire illegals, and so long as they are allowed to run their own businesses here even they will continue to find there way across the border. Not that difficult to tunnel under a wall, especially along a border of such a great distance in such a dry climate. If a wall went up along the entire border they’d start finding tunnels all over the place. Does “glorious leader” plan to order the wall to have a 20ft deep concrete foundation? LOL, and even the donald’s companies hire illegals all over the plays, ironic much? A bit like the chinese-made MAGA caps, huh? I just don’t know about you trumpers…

    • Redbud January 9, 2019 at 1:39 am

      Dodgers, truer words were never spoken! I don’t know why so many people ignore the facts. We need to build that wall!

      • Happy Commenter January 9, 2019 at 11:55 am

        Ignorant sheep ignore facts. They only know what they are led to…

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