Letters to the editor: government shutdown

October 4, 2013 

EIGHTEEN YEARS AGO I become a childcare provider, because of a failed attempt to find decent and affordable care for my own child. Those ideals became the cornerstone of my business.

The biggest expense in my new venture was feeding children. I found a program to help, Under the Umbrella, a part of the USDA. The rules were simple 1) feed the children according to USDA guidelines 2) and keep a detailed record of who, when and what the children were fed, and I was reimbursed most of the cost of those groceries. There are currently more than 100 in-home providers enrolled in UTU who care for more than 1,200 children in 20 counties.

The benefits of this program are teaching children healthy habits and keeping costs low, which allows me to serve the poorest of my community.

The other day, I was notified that there is doubt regarding further reimbursement due to the shutdown. USDA asked providers to continue as normal.

Losing UTU will devastate our (childcare providers’) bottom line — Idaho ranks 47th in the nation in cost of childcare. Free and reduced lunches and WIC are also at risk. Ask Congress to stop this now. Our children are suffering.


IDAHO’S CONGRESSIONAL Tea Party toadies voted to shut down the government, consequently closing access to Lucky Peak lake and other recreation sites operated by the BLM, BPA, Forest Service, Bureau of Reclamation, and Corps of Engineers. There goes our boating and fishing. Even the rescue searchers for the lost hiker at Craters of the Moon have been furloughed.

Our representatives followed the directions of their extremist fanatic “core” and kept an anti-ACA “poison pill” amendment tied to the continuing funding resolution. We owe them a debt of gratitude for saving us spending money on bait, fishing gear, gas, and beer. I sleep better knowing that they will be getting full pay while other government employees are laid off and our supporting communities are losing sales money. We should show Risch, Crapo, Labrador and Simpson our thanks at election time for what they have done to Idaho.


YOUR EDITORIAL critical of the GOP for tilting at the Affordable Care Act (“GOP needs to remember: Elections count”), made some good points, but this:

“Negotiating over the debt ceiling makes more sense than trying to undo the ACA.” But how does “another round of debt ceiling dysfunction looming” make any sense whatsoever?

Our increasing debt has to do with paying for commitments already made, and about the GOP's largely successful insistence that we should reduce taxes without regard to spending. There is no legitimate moral, ethical, or legal argument for saying “yes” to spending and then “no” when the bill arrives.

There is the political tactic of using an arbitrary limit for extortion. We’ve seen this show already, too many times.

Playing “chicken” with the credit of the country (and by extension, the health of the world economy) is flat out crazy, as illustrated in your choice of Lukovich’s cartoon of Thelma and Ted cruising the GOP off a cliff that you wrapped the editorial around.

You made some good sense about the ACA. Don't feed the trolls on the debt ceiling.


SINCE CONGRESS is causing a government shutdown, leading to furloughs for many federal employees, it is only fair that each senator and representative also be furloughed, losing the same fraction of their yearly salary as those also furloughed.

In a related topic, there has been much discussion about making certain employees accountable for their competence and success-read merit pay. It seems equally fair, then, that Congress be held to similar standards, i.e. each member's pay should be tied to the amount of legislation passed that they helped pass. I think for many congressional members, that pay would be zero. “What's good for the goose is good for the gander?”


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