It seems our esteemed leader might be poised to declare a national emergency along our southern border because it lacks a continuous wall. But that’s not where the crisis looms.
Our national emergency is within the Oval Office.
The president, undeniably, owns our current government shutdown, the longest in our nation’s history. “…I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down,” Trump said on camera in the Oval Office. “I’m not going to blame you for it…I will take the mantle of shutting it down. And I’m going to shut it down for border security.”
Of course, now he blames the Democrats for not acquiescing to his vanity campaign promise.
Maybe it’s Mexico’s fault for refusing to pay for it.
Maybe it’s our own electorate’s fault for recognizing a wall for what it truly would be–an ineffective multi-billion dollar boondoggle. It’s my understanding that most illegal drugs, for instance, arrive via legal ports of entry. Or under already walled sections of the border.
Maybe the partial government shutdown chaos (BuzzFeed News: “‘I like chaos. It really is good,'” Trump said during the annual Gridiron press dinner in Washington in March of last year, according to a White House pool reporter’s transcript.”) serves as a distraction from our dear leader’s mounting legal woes.
What’s certain is that 800 thousand-plus furloughed workers, many living paycheck to paycheck, won’t be getting paid. They’ll be living paycheck to no check.
What rabbit hole have we run down when–in the name of security in any form–members of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Coast Guard are required work without a paycheck?
Picture the quality of their work while all these vital people are unnecessarily stressed because they are unable to pay their credit card bills. Their mortgages. Rent. Utilities. Insurance. Food. These all add up while their bottom line does not.
CNN, in fact, reported on January 13 that on the third of this month a traveler carrying a firearm boarded a flight from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and flew to Tokyo Narita International Airport.
“TSA has determined standard procedures were not followed and a passenger did in fact pass through a standard screening TSA checkpoint with a firearm at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on the morning of January 3.”
What are all these stressed workers supposed to do?
In a recently rescinded five-page tip sheet titled “Managing Your Finances During a Furlough” the Coast Guard offered its employees some pointers: “turn your hobby into income; become a mystery shopper at grocery stores; hold a garage sale; babysit.” The last option, according to the Coast Guard, would be to declare bankruptcy.
Then there’s this gem from US Office of Personnel Management for government employees to use as a guide when working with their landlords: “I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments.”
Seriously? I’m a landlord myself, and I can tell you from experience the notion of bartering for rent money is a deep rabbit hole. We currently have a very good tenant who has been in arrears, off and on, since last April. His current balance is nearly $6500. Now, I know he’ll eventually pay it–but in the meantime, even without a mortgage on that building, it’s murder to our personal economy.
Now think of the 800 thousand-plus furloughed workers. It doesn’t just come down to their personal economies. In their wake are many thousands more who need, in turn, to be paid.
Republicans are supposed to be the fiscally responsible party, right?
How Republican–or responsible–does any of this nonsense sound to you?