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October 7, 2013

Paying for Non-Essential Government Vacations

Steven R. Berryman

On Friday your House of Representatives took itself off the front burner by passing a law to guarantee back-pay checks to the non-essential workers sitting idle at home. With this assurance, now workers can sit idle for a last minute bonus vacation without any urge to call their congressmen to force any compromise.


With stalemate paying out like that, why force a compromise?


Not that either side wants a compromise anyway; one cannot negotiate without being willing to give up something of value.


Ironically, political donations to both Democrats and Republicans have been spiking as well during this pitiful Fall of put your transmission into neutral, take your hands off the wheel, and be prepared to sit in dead stopped traffic ‘til at least the 17th.


Our economic debacle is demonstrating epic strangeness overall, and I fully expect Rod Serling to step in from one side of the screen with a soliloquy to explain the madness…


“Your leaders have once again run out of other people’s money to waste. The debilitating fight is over whether we will again pay off the Visa Card balance with the MasterCard. As per political leadership, never wastes an opportunity to fight, contentious Obamacare becomes the battleground.”


President Barack Obama asks: Why are we fighting over ACA (the affordable Care Act), as we’ve already passed it, and it’s the law of the land?  Hmmmm…


Well, Mr. President, we were not pleased with Women’s Suffrage and Slavery, so we fought ‘til we got those right…


The people will never forget how constituencies were bribed and threatened and lied-to to pass Obamacare. It was forced-in against the will of the people, under severe duress. The current implementation fiascos (pick one) make the wound that much more painful, with timing of the ACA kickoff and CR (Continuing Resolution) synchronized.


Yes, the infirm among us flocked to library computers en masse last week to sign up for Obamacare. [Man, I thought it was free?] Well-off healthy middle class yuppies and DINKS stayed away in droves. Extreme wealth redistribution will prevail for years, as the penalty for lack of enrollment is so meager…


All the while, UPS and Walgreens drop company health coverages and/or reduce hours to employees as unaffordable, and other politically connected businesses seek out loopholes and exceptions to the Obamacare provisions as waivers.


What, me worry? Just because “full time 40-hour work” is fast becoming a relic of the ages, as part-timers don’t qualify for Obamacare coverage penalties. What 31 hour per week worker that you know of raises a family of four?


The above simply insures more entitlement voters, exaggerated disability claims, food stamp rolls enlargement, and that your old girlfriend cleans houses for cash under the table.


Additionally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) now estimates that after full ACA implementation, we will still have missed 30 million citizens (and others) who will not be in the insurance pool, or will fall through the cracks...and that the net pickup in the health-insured will be only 7 million over current rolls.


With numbers like that, why didn’t they simply increase Medicaid coverage, at immensely greater efficiency and lower burden? Because ACA is a political tool, that’s why...Social engineering, as they say.


So, why bring back 800,000 “non-essential” federal government employees at all? [Well, despite the fact that they also interact with and directly impact another two million related contractor and support jobs and service sector jobs?] A recent poll – by me – confirms that life has gone on as per the new normal of non-recovery. As we say: business sucks.


But even in shutdown-mode, people still walk the dog and fetch the mail daily (its bills). Cops still patrol the beat looking for evil cell phones, and they haven't closed up the oceans to swimmers with yellow “DO NOT CROSS” tape. Yet.


So, if they were non-essential government workers, why are we paying them at all?? My taxes are already way too high; I’m taxed enough already. Make-work government must be reined-in, and this shutdown is a classic demonstration of the why.


My solution to this mess is to begin to prorate my federal Income taxes for 2013. I’m going to call my HR department today and reduce my withholdings effective last week to not pay for government work that was never performed for me. I will not pay one-365th of my taxes for every day of the self-imposed government shutdown.


Consider a similar plan for yourself if you are as ticked-off as I am. If not, then hustle on down and get some Boardwalk Fries to celebrate your fortunate bonus vacation.


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