The online dictionary defines the word shenanigan as a mischievous or deceitful trick or practice. I always thought of the term in light of Halloween, not of the practices of the United States government, but in the last few years, congress and the president have changed my views. But it’s gone way beyond mischievous; deceitful now applies.
First of all, our constitution, established in 1789, requires that the President of the USA and the Congress approve all federal spending. The fiscal year runs from October 1 to September 30. Several situations can shut down the government’s operation. If our esteemed leaders fail to pass all the spending bills or the continuing resolutions of the federal budget or if the president fails to sign or vetoes any of the bills, then down go the “non-essential” functions of the government.
I contend that since this deadline comes around every year at the same time, our elected representatives should be very aware of it and arrange to meet it in a timely fashion. So what if the job is hard? Our representatives campaigned for these jobs. I recommend that they stop bickering, stop blaming each other, and do the jobs we sent them to congress for. If that’s too difficult, they need to resign and go home. We’ll find some other folks to replace them. I see no reason why the American people should have to worry constantly about the government shutting down at midnight on September 30.
Let us consider for a minute the effects of a shutdown. Non-essential workers will be sent home until the congress can manage to do its job. Now our elected officials, who make on average $174,000 a year, are essential of course. What about the people who aren’t? I saw a nurse on the CBS Nightly News last week who is severely frustrated about an impending furlough. She doesn’t make $174,000 a year and is one of the little Americans who suffer when our government fails to do its job. Her husband, who has Multiple Sclerosis, and her four children depend on her weekly salary for food, power, transportation, etc. Daily living expenses don’t go away because the government falls apart. The little man, or woman in this case, suffers.
This nurse I just spoke of works for a veterans’ hospital. By all means, let us cut another service from our veterans. We should all be appalled at the catastrophe that is our Veterans Administration. Patients across the country are complaining about the quality of care—or rather lack thereof--and the length of time they have to wait for that shoddy care. For example, in Dallas five heart patients had to wait for 3 months and more for heart monitors. One dialysis patient waited 5 months for a mapping procedure. Furthermore, appointments are often scheduled without consulting the patients at all.
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