Are You Earning Your Keep?

As you know by now, I’m not always on top of current events – I rely on my community to alert me when something is going on and otherwise, I fill my days with doing what I can to earn my own keep…

(Those of you who take your citizenship responsibilities seriously, please forgive me.   If I keep track of everything my government is doing or not doing, pretty soon, I’m so depressed, I cannot contemplate getting out of bed in the morning – therefore, if the world is to benefit from my existence at all, probably best I’m not well informed…)

I, buried in writing and such, was unaware of the impending government shutdown until a chat with a friend this morning informed me it has arrived.   I dutifully opened my browswer and read the news stories from a variety of sources and while I admit, I’m not armed well enough to engage in a battle of wits with someone who lives and breathes this stuff, I will say this…

If the shutdown requires thousands of employees to be furloughed and lose out on paychecks, then why on earth are Congress salaries not on the chopping block as well?

I cannot get past the fact that all but the most basic functionality of the government can be shut down, but those who are at the source of government wheels grinding to a halt get their paycheck no matter what happens…

How, I ask, is this a logical system?   Those who create havoc do not have to suffer the consequences of their stalemate – or at least not until their next election bid.

Would they work somewhat harder at doing the job they were hired to do, if they knew they, too, would not be drawing a paycheck until they got things running?

According to one news scoop, the shutdown of 1995-1996, which I remember well, cost taxpayers 1.4 billion dollars.

Why does it cost us?   I don’t remember anyone calling me and saying, “Hey!  If you don’t decide to get something fixed, it’s going to cost you and your fellow taxpayers 1.4 billion dollars – so, what are you going to do?”

Had they called, I would have raced over to the office, fixed a 50 gallon urn of truck stop style coffee, locked me and other committee members in and said, “No one leaves until we have a solution – nope, not even to use the bathroom –  WE ARE NOT WASTING THIS MUCH MONEY”.

But, I didn’t get the call.

Shame – I probably could still go 20 hours or so at a time, if the need called for it…


As with most of my political commentaries, I have little hope this rant will accomplish much or anything at all…

But I do question why those I’ve talked to do not feel the sense of outrage I do.   So far, the most commentary I’ve gleaned is,

“Well, it’s just a political stunt – It’ll be fine – They’ll get it worked out.   It’s just sad it’s come to this.”

I will disclose, those I’ve talked to are not among the furloughed employees.


Had I pulled these kind of stunts during my working career, I’d have gotten fired… And not 2 to 4 years from now, either – –

My departure would not have required a costly re-call election process either….

My boss would’ve simply said, “Tamrah, you’ve steadfastly refused to do the job we hired you to do.  Here’s your pay through today, security is here to escort you from the building.”

Firing and escorting from the building is a feasible plan, logistically speaking – I’m fairly certain those charged with protecting our Congress and on-site to remove dead-weights from the building were not among those furloughed.



Adding links to others writing on this subject, as well as the link to sign the petition demanding Pay Freezes for Congress when they choose this route:

The Petition Site –  Demand A Pay Freeze for Congress

IPledgeafallegiance blog – The Villains, Thieves and Scoundrels

Slate Articles website – My Shutdown Diary ,     Who’s Been the Most Shutdown by Furloughs,


15 thoughts on “Are You Earning Your Keep?”

  1. Like you TamrahJo I often try to avoid the news, but as a friend only yesterday flew to the USA especially on her tour to visit national parks and museums, I assume this is your rant! then I can only wonder at her disappointment when she arrives to find all her itinerary will be upside down due to closure of these wonderful places….
    My Hubby informed me this am that the US has shut down 😦 as money has run out…and government can not agree….

    It was the same here in the UK two years ago when cut backs were put in place.. I was made redundant in my Support job due to local governments cut backs as they passed onto private Care groups… They also threatened to close down local libraries, But after much protests they kept them open… They hit what caused the most headlines.. as Day care centres were also targeted .. While all the time, they wine and dine on business expense accounts….

    We forget that WE did the electing of these idiots… and I know I will be looking real closely when the next local government elections are coming around

    Wish you a good week


    1. I’ve struggled with voting for so many years, as there is rarely one candidate that I believe can truly be a part of getting things back on track – Being a history buff, I marvel at how far we have supposedly advanced and how often we repeat the same mistakes over and over – – 🙂

      I do have to say I’ve only worked on one committee in over 30 years of work that accomplished a satisfactory outcome in a short time. We spent four days gathering facts, with us all furiously debating and writing up reports at the end of the day of learning, over supper. We were very proud of work and on our last day of the ‘fact finding mission’ our leader announced we had come in so drastically under budget for our trip that if we wished to order a slightly more expensive meal for supper, we may do so. I don’t recall anyone changing their order –

      We then carted our findings back to a committee of 30+ who ultimately were to make the final decision – after 6 months of wrangling, arguing and political maneuverings and posturing, the grand ole committee chose to go with the recommendation we had made in our initial report. The six-month process drove me batty.

      The leader of our small fact finding group (there were 6 of us) smiled at my impatience and anger as month after month, we sat in meetings to be available for questions while those who controlled budgets funded by taxpayers and whose salaries were paid by taxpayers wrangled over the smallest little detail because they had other agendas and wanted to use this issue to upstage their ‘enemies’ – I commented I had grave doubts that a committee ever got anything accomplished and he tried to comfort me by explaining that democracy only works when everyone feels they had adequate space and time to be heard – –

      I think back to the arguments surrounding the final wording/action of our Declaration of Independence – – the months of debate that preceded the writing/release to the public of our Constitution – still, I chafe against the notion that daily life for so many can be so impacted by the Democratic Process – –

      As you can tell, I’m trying mightily to remind myself the virtues of the system in the face of my disappointment that we seem wired to veer mightily towards the edge of cliffs before we strive to reach a workable compromise….



  2. in solidarity with you. why do they get paid, and accumulate so many benefits, when they are so dysfunctional? sadly, I think we’ve allowed leaders to disregard ethics, and doing the right thing for people and the environment, while increasingly pursuing wealth and power. it seems government is for sale to the highest bidders. hopefully enough people will come together and help create leadership that can be respected by we the people. ahh, I feel better now. ready to go smell the flowers.


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