Shutdown blame lies squarely on Trump

Published 1:16 pm Thursday, January 3, 2019


Contributing columnist

As I write this, the federal government is in the 12th day of the Trump shutdown with no end in sight. The ManChild-in-Chief wants his wall and he wants it now, consequences be damned. His supporters continue to blindly follow their emperor, marveling at his luxurious garments while their ears remain closed to his lies and subterfuge.

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The shutdown sits squarely on Trump’s shoulders. His inability to negotiate and compromise with anyone is truly stunning. His incapacity to recognize and admit truth is unparalleled. While real people, who would normally pay for their own groceries, utilities, school fees and taxes remain out of work, he sits in the comfort of taxpayer funded public housing and tweets about being lonely.

The real people affected by this shutdown don’t have the luxury of deciding when to go back to work. Remember — he shut down their jobs and paychecks before Christmas. He and Congress left the workplace but still collect their taxpayer-funded salaries. These are the true grifters of the federal welfare system. We pay their salaries, supply government-funded quality health care, and a guaranteed pension. It’s time to stop vilifying those who scrape by on welfare and food stamps and stop the Washington Gravy Train.

The current Congress contains 153 House members and 50 Senators who are millionaires. The median minimum net worth (meaning half are worth more, half less) of today’s senators and House members was $511,000 at the start of this Congress, according to David Hawkings of Roll Call. The only effects these folks are experiencing are the annoying phone calls from their constituents who can’t feed their families. Such a bother.

Ironically, employees of federal law enforcement agencies are currently working without pay. Imagine the morale of TSA, FBI, ATF and DEA workers who show up for duty but won’t be paid until the Congressional Circus opens. Trump rails about national security then doesn’t pay the very people responsible for keeping the country safe. The good news is they will eventually be paid for the time during the shutdown.

However, government contractors like janitors, security guards and cafeteria workers who are in low-paying jobs won’t be paid at all for the period of time of the shutdown. The lower the wages, the less this regime seems to care. For those in Congress and the White House, whose jobs it is to protect American citizens, they are failing their duty in exponential fashion.

We have created a class of professional politicians who line their pockets with lobbyist Benjamins, dark money donations and PAC donations disguised as “speaking fees.” Meanwhile, the gap between those who have and those who don’t is getting wider and wider. Ten House members and three Senators are worth over $43,000,000 (Hawkings, 2019). That’s $43 million while we pay them and provide health insurance.

It’s time for We the People to stand up and stop this scam. The most vulnerable of our population continue to suffer at the hands of the 1 percent. It’s time to call out the emperor, tell him we don’t like his clothes and we don’t want a wall. We also need to remind McConnell, Graham, Pelosi, Schumer and the rest of the millionaires in Congress that they work for us and they are in grave danger of being fired.

“He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ — Matthew 25:45, NIV

G. Elaine Wilson-Reddy, JD, is a professional educator, consultant and advocate. She lives in Danville.