The IRS announcement that tax filing season is about to begin despite the partial shutdown sent a strong message to taxpayers about what we are good for in Washington’s eyes. We are here to fund our lawmakers’ government at their whim with no guarantee that they won’t deny us what we pay for.
Democrats deny us a government despite massive taxpayer spending
A March 2018 shutdown threat was averted with the passage of a gargantuan $1.3 trillion spending plan under the watchful eye of former Simpson-Bowles fiscal responsibility commission member and GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan.
A Congress ruled by Republicans dumped the opportunity to pay for this spending behemoth on taxpayers and then Democrats took over the House and denied the nation government services we paid for by refusing to negotiate on a measly $5.7 billion.
A partial or even complete government shutdown wouldn’t be so offensive if we didn’t have to listen to lawmakers tell us that they need even more money because many Americans still don’t pay enough. That’s a familiar refrain that should make every taxpayer angry as the days drag on and we only get part of what our tax bill is supposed to fund.
It’s true that many of us don’t expect much in return for our yearly donation to Washington, but increasingly all we get is aggravation and threats of withholding services every time a spending bill comes up for approval.
It wouldn’t be so bad if there was the chance of a positive outcome from the daily war of words, but there isn’t. Instead, playing chicken by threatening taxpayers who are already cash out and using federal workers as hostages is how Democrats negotiate.
Presidential wannabe Harris: yes, then no
Consider newly-announced presidential wannabe Kamala Harris’ (D-CA) stance on negotiating when a shutdown threatened in October 2017:
I will not vote for an end-of-year spending bill until we are clear about what we are going to do to protect and take care of our DACA young people in this country.1
She got what she asked for on Saturday, albeit a number of months after her demand. Despite her party’s hand wringing and chest beating over the plight of DACA recipients and children at the border, Harris cleverly decided to focus on federal workers during the current charade:
Americans need their government to do its job. They don’t need a wall. They need a paycheck.2
Don’t blame the senator for ignoring the fact that if her legislative branch did its job we would still have a government. Denial and severe amnesia are a big problem with her party. Harris also forgot that not all Americans get a government paycheck. We are the ones who pay the taxes that back those checks. Now we aren’t getting what we paid for.
In fact, 800,000 federal workers are a drop in the bucket compared to the mass of taxpayers who support a government Congress refuses to give us.
Democrats will make sure we have no government
Trump’s DACA offer was denied by Nancy Pelosi before he had a chance to extend it. Harris had already used border security to arouse her constituents:
The President is holding the American people hostage over his vanity project on the southern border—and he’s peddling his usual propaganda to distract from a crisis of his own making.3
While she joins her Democratic buddies holding the American taxpayer hostage the sympathy lies with the government workers who aren’t being paid. That’s like a business firing its employees, refusing to give shoppers their merchandise after they pay, and then asking them to feel sorry for the unemployed store clerks.
As taxpayers we should be wise enough to know by now that our money is taken for granted and that we should not take offense.
On the job: federal workers who take the place of $5.7 billion in spending
Assuming lawmakers can read, perhaps they should pay more attention to what the employees they feel so sorry for do with their time when they are being paid.
Consider this December 21, 2018 announcement from Customs and Border Protection:
Wednesday evening, Ajo Station agents arrested a 46-year-old Mexican national, after he illegally entered the U.S. near Lukeville. During processing, agents discovered he was convicted in 2002 of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor in Mesa, Arizona. 4
Or this report issued the same day about an MS-13 gang member’s illegal entry:
U.S. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Eagle Pass North Station arrested a member of the Mara Salvatrucha, MS-13, criminal gang who had been previously deported.5
Or the federal agent who was assaulted while investigating “possible illegal alien activity near a residence.”6
Members of Congress who oppose the border wall and are not averse to shutting down the government because of it likely don’t have to worry about illegal alien activity near their residences. That’s one of the advantages of being a member of America’s political elite. So is being able to decide when and if they will honor their contract with America’s taxpayers to give us a government in exchange for the annual bill the IRS sends us.
UPDATE January 23, 2019: Keep your State of the Union
Today an arrogant Nancy Pelosi retracted her de rigueur House invitation to the president to deliver the State of the Union. Like her party’s forgotten offer to deal on DACA, Pelosi reneged again and blamed it on the shutdown. I suppose in her very narrow, left leaning view of things banning Trump shows the nation that neither she nor her party bear any responsibility for taxpayers not having a government.
We all owe Pelosi a debt of gratitude for not forcing us to watch a pack of seething, sour-faced, hubris-stuffed politicians display their angry rejection of each and every word that comes out of the president’s mouth. Trump will come up with a better venue. Perhaps after this it will become a tradition. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to draw breath in a House that is no doubt permeated with the stench of liberal hate and intolerance.
Mr. President, wherever you decide to give your speech we’ll be watching.
UPDATE January 24, 2019: We were ready to watch but this morning the address is suddenly off. What do you think – does anyone believe it will happen, or is this Pelosi’s first step in a strategy to make sure there is no SOTU in 2019?
UPDATE January 26, 2019: another astounding GOP surrender
Three of the names were familiar and no surprise: Collins, Murkowski, Romney.
Of the remaining three Republicans who sold out, Colorado’s Cory Gardner expressed delusion:
“I’ve been clear that I do not believe government shutdowns are ever the right answer, and I applaud the President’s funding resolution to reopen the government and provide a platform for additional border security funding.” said Senator Gardner.7
Additional border security funding doesn’t mean Trump’s wall. It means whatever Speaker Pelosi wants it to mean.
So we sit back and stomach another stunning defeat for Republicans.
Is the State of the Union still on?
Don’t be stupid.
Should we vote for Harris or Warren in 2020?
1. “Harris: I’ll Oppose End –of-Year Spending Bill if DACA Not Fixed.” Kamala D. Harris. October 25, 2017. https://www.harris.senate.gov/news/press-releases/harris-ill-oppose-end-of-year-spending-bill-if-daca-not-fixed, retrieved January 22, 2019.
2. “Harris on Unpaid Government Workers: “They don’t need a wall. They need a paycheck.” Kamala Harris. January 16, 2019. https://www.harris.senate.gov/news/press-releases/harris-on-unpaid-government-workers-they-dont-need-a-wall-they-need-a-paycheck, retrieved January 21, 2019.
4. “BP Agents Arrest Sex Offender, MS-13 Gang Member.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection. December 21, 2018. https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/bp-agents-arrest-sex-offender-ms-13-gang-member, retrieved January 22, 2019.
5. “Border Patrol Arrests MS-13 Gang Member.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection. December 21, 2018. https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/border-patrol-arrests-ms-13-gang-member-3, retrieved January 22, 2019.
6. “Border Patrol Agent Assaulted by Illegal Alien.” U.S. Customs and Border Protection. December 21, 2018. https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/border-patrol-agent-assaulted-illegal-alien, retrieved January 22, 2019.
7. “Gardner Statement on Funding Resolution to Reopen the Government.” Cory Gardner. January 25, 2019. https://www.gardner.senate.gov/newsroom/press-releases/gardner-statement-on-funding-resolution-to-reopen-the-government, retrieved January 26, 2019.
Image added January 23, 2019: Koplitz, Bill. “U.S. Capitol Building, East side steps and dome.” FEMA. August 3, 2009. https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/images/55950, retrieved January 23, 2019.