01:32:28 pm on
Tuesday 22 Oct 2019

Government Shutdown 2018
Matt Seinberg

There are two major events going on in the federal government right now. It's hard to decide which is more important. No, that's wrong.

► Trump has a tantrum.

Trump shutting down the government over his insistence regarding funding for a border wall is insane. He’s a toddler throwing a temper tantrum because he didn't get his way. This toddler is unlikely to get his way.

If you saw the Oval Office meeting the involved Trump, Pence, Pelosi and Schumer then you saw exactly what I mean. Trump was on his back, metaphorically, talking of his border wall, arguing with top Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, while Vice President Pence sat there, eyes closed, probably wishing he were anywhere else at that moment.

How can Trump blame anyone but himself for closing down the government? He's playing a game of chicken with Congress and it’s finally not backing down. Trump‘s calling it the Democratic shutdown, but his stubbornness and stupidity is closing the government.

Here's a quick synopsis of what is open and closed. Open is the U.S. Postal Service; Social Security checks will be mailed to all recipients, Medicare and Medicaid coverage will continue uninterrupted. Airport security and flight control will be working, parks and historic places will be open.

Closed is the Small Business Administration field offices; no new loans will start. Federal Housing Services will have a slowdown in loan processing, no new loans for single-family homes, delayed payments for public housing agencies, most Federal civil litigation will not be in session. Federal help for farmers will stop as field offices in states and counties will close, and parks and historic places will close buildings and services while grounds will remain open without any tours.

► The wrong people pay for shutdown.

In all, roughly 420,000 federal workers will be on the job, without pay. Another 380,000 furloughed, meaning they won't be working or paid. The wrong people cover the cost of a government shutdown, full or partial.

Imagine, a private company announcing the same move. It would be an outrage. I'm sure Trump would be on his high pulpit yelling about how he could do it better.

Trump is now in that position and he refuses to do it better. He's holding on to this idea of a border wall with Mexico, as a rabid dog holding on another animal it wants to eat. He's using federal workers as his fulcrum to tilt the balance of power towards his side.

I don't think it's going to work. Congress is going to figure a way to reopen the agencies he shut down. Having people out of work at Christmas is certainly not a popular move.

Remember years ago, when Clear Channel Communications, now I Heart Radio, laid-off hundreds of people right before the Christmas in what they called a "reduction in force?" That downward trend hasn't stopped. This year, Hubbard Communications laid off many people at its stations across the country.

Hasn't history taught anyone that layoffs at the holidays aren't popular and, instead, should come in January? Big deal, I guess, you have people on the books for a month in the new calendar or fiscal year. At least let them enjoy the holidays with their friends and family.

I wonder if Trump gave any thought about those 800,000 workers that are working for nothing or not working, only waiting to work. I wonder if the Ghosts of Christmas Pasts are going to make a visit Trump, on Christmas Eve, and scare the living crap out of him.

► He’s laughing at the ghosts.

Trump would probably laugh at the ghosts and mumble something about wanting a border wall before he went back to sleep. Let's see how much he'll be laughing in the New Year, when the Democratic House of Representatives starts impeachment hearings. Then he'll wish he took off with those three ghosts.

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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