Letters to the Editor: Government shutdown

October 16, 2013 

Lee Judge / The Kansas City Star (October 14, 2013)

MCCLATCHY

EMAIL YOUR SENATORS and Congressmen. Have them pass the continuing resolution, ending the government shutdown. Then raise the debt ceiling, so America can pay its bills. Then they should not take any break until they pass a budget.

Congress currently prefers the shutdown to a continuing resolution, since continuous operation without an approved budget is unacceptable. However, the shutdown is unlikely to produce an approved budget. Congress had all year to approve a budget.

In a Tuesday, Oct. 8, interview, Senator Risch implied that threat of a government shutdown or default produces budget cuts. However, these dramas have not produced an approved budget in years. Congress must work together until the job is done.

Risch said that his office only receives about 100 communications per day regarding the shutdown. In contrast, they can get over 1,000 communications per day over gun rights. It appears the shutdown is not important to us!

Risch said communications were two to one in favor of the shutdown. Thus, Congress may believe they are acting in accordance with our wishes.

Make your wishes known! It is easier than voting.

DANIEL GRIFFITH, Pocatello

I WANT TO INFORM my representatives in our government that my wife and I do not agree with the government shutdown. And we will be even more disgusted if the country defaults on its bills. This is not the way a responsible people conduct business.

If this is not fixed by Nov. 1, I stand to lose both my Social Security and my veterans disability. I paid for both, one way or another.

I have been an American citizen for the 63 years that I have been alive. I was proud to join the Army and serve my country in time of war. I have never before been so ashamed of my country.

By the way, we do not want the affordable health care de-funded. Do not eliminate it, fix it!

They need to do their jobs or get out!

HERB EDMONDS, Sweet

I JUST READ in the Statesman that Idahoans support the shutdown 2 to 1 and are telling our four congressional representatives to keep the government closed. I wonder if compromise is dead in Idaho or is the tea party taking the state over? As a moderate (I believe mainstream) Republican, I believe we have to compromise to get what we want the most. This means giving up something. But most of all, we can't act like a 5-year-old, crossing our arms while constantly saying "No" until we get exactly what we want (new pony, ice cream, defunding Obamacare, etc.). Is this what the tea party is or is this what the Republican Party has become?

I sincerely hope the tea party splits off the Republican Party and does their own thing. And yes, I think it's the height of stupidity to keep the government closed, to say nothing of threatening federal default.

FRANK SMITH, Boise

THIS IS WHAT I WOULD tell Idaho's Reps. Raul Labrador and Mike Simpson and Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch:

I served in the U.S. military longer than you have been in the Congress, and I have thus earned the right to exercise my citizenship by speaking out. As a mature adult, I find the thinking and scheming behind the current and possible future budget gridlock to be childish. I find that holding citizens fiscal hostages in repeated attempts to kill an act that has been found to be the law of the land by the U.S. Supreme Court is beneath reasoning adults. Further, to cause immediate death benefits to families of military members killed in action to be suspended because of congressional infighting is particularly repugnant. I believe that it is time for you and your political cohorts to leave the playgrounds and do what you were elected to do: keep our nation solvent.

LAWRENCE MCBRIDE, Troy

REGARDING SUNDAY'S (Oct. 13) front page report that calls to Idaho's congressional delegation support the government shutdown by a margin of two to one: Surprise, surprise! Since all four members of the Idaho delegation are Republicans, Democrats and moderates don't bother to contact them since they know how they vote, what they believe and that they are not influenced by other than Republicans.

Why do Idahoans who say they support the shutdown dislike the Affordable Health Care Act? What about making health insurance accessible is so awful? I suspect that most of these people against Obamacare are really against Obama.

Let's remember that in a representative democracy like ours, disgruntled Americans cannot overturn a presidential election (although George Bush did it in 2000), cannot reject laws with which they don't agree, and cannot ignore Supreme Court decisions. Most certainly, responsible leaders do not shut down the government to get their way.

LYNNE MATTISON, Boise

PRESIDENT LINCOLN stated that one reason for our Civil War was that "... government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth." Sorry, Abe. It's perished. No better example can be given than Obama and his Democrat "we will not negotiate" stooges. It's all about Obama's perceived power over the citizens of the United States and government intervention over every facet of our lives.

No changes to the ACA except for Obama's frequent changes? I'm tired of the "it's the law" argument, as law means nothing to Obama; he believes he can change or ignore any law he chooses. The not affordable Affordable Care Act should be deferred until the many glitches are fixed, or hopefully completely rescinded.

Democrats are deliberately making the government shutdown as unnecessarily painful as possible so the mass media will blame their opponents. Should the Republicans cave to his demands, does anyone really think Obama will negotiate in the future? Remember, "We will not negotiate." The Democrats are no longer interested in the people, only in expanding government and their power.

SCOTT A. JONES, Council

THE ONE QUESTION both parties that are involved in, is why do those senators up in Washington get paid for doing nothing?

And the rest of us, the ones that put those bozos in office, have to suffer just because the two parties are not willing to compromise?

Every single American knew that this kind of thing was apt to happen, because neither side is willing to work with the other side for the American people. After all, there is no place in the Constitution that says the House or the Senate gets paid while the rest of country suffers. Both sides are supposed to represent the American people, but this is not happening.

What should be done to force both sides' hands is, stop paying both sides; that way if they have to suffer just like the rest of us are, that is just tough. But of course this will never take place, because they believe they are better than everyone else, and I feel this is really sad. After all, no one else is paid for sitting around doing nothing, so why should the Senate and the House be?

DAVID HAMMOND, Grangeville

IN RAUL LABRADOR'S interview on National Public Radio recently I learned our representative was "not impressed with polls showing unhappiness with congressional Republicans is going up as the shutdown goes on." The truth is Labrador is not impressed at all with the needs of Idahoans who don't have health insurance because of a pre-existing condition, who have 401ks instead of a pension and have seen their savings plummet because of stock market declines, who are federal workers not receiving a paycheck, or veterans not receiving help from the VA.

But he seemed very impressed with his ability to put the U.S. economy and credit rating in jeopardy with his insistence that the Affordable Care Act be delayed by a year. Health care delayed, like justice delayed, is health care denied. Labrador's party has had years to come up with a better plan, but we've seen nothing yet.

It's time for Labrador to drop it and help Democrats and moderate Republicans pass a clean continuing resolution. Mr. Labrador's dogged persistence in delaying the ACA is putting Idahoans' physical and fiscal health at risk.

SHERRY HAMILTON, Meridian

LEADERSHIP, leadership, leadership — three things that the USA desperately needs immediately. Not just so-called elected leaders. I definitely support those independent truckers and veterans that will soon occupy D.C. for days to notify Obama, his friends, adversaries and other incompetents that immediate leadership is required now for the USA and not a moment later. In other words, "Git 'er done." Move on and address other issues for the common good. Restore out faith in our elected government. Restore world confidence in the USA.

GERALD L. DIFFENDAFFER, Boise

AFTER READING the front-page article "Idahoans urge continued shutdown" (Sunday, Oct. 13), I could only shake my head in dismay at how many fellow residents of this great state are so woefully uninformed, and so willing to exist in a blissful state of ignorance.

While it saddens me that so many in my native state don't know any better and are so easily manipulated by false and misleading propaganda, it angers me that our elected representatives who do know better choose to play to public sentiment rather than do the right thing. In my opinion, our current crop of congressmen need to be replaced.

The tea party is the worst thing that ever happened to this country in many ways. They have caused total dysfunction within the Republican Party and are doing a bang up job of destroying it from the inside out. The fanatical mindset of people who align themselves with tea party ideals has driven a wedge of animosity between people in the Republican Party, and between people of both the major parties. The spirit of cooperation is now dead and gone in this country. God help us.

BRAD K. COOK, Middleton

THE SUNDAY, OCT. 6, letters sounded like the script from MSNBC. What a bunch of whiners. The person in the White House made the choices.

His rule is to hurt the American people the most? The person at the top picked what to close and put his stamp of approval on it.

He acts like a petulant child, who wants it all his way or he will have a temper tantrum. "No, I won't budge. It has to be my way." What a good role model.

Elderly people were thrown out of their homes, because they lived on federal land. He is living in "my" house on federal land. Close the White House. I'm sure there is a Motel 6 nearby.

Democrat or Republican, I am rethinking my stand against term limits.

America does not need a king nor another God. We have a God that is just and kind; not selfish, thinks of what is best for us and not his desires.

For those of you so in love with this person, go back in history to 1939. This is where we are being led.

JAN STOKER, Boise

I AM SHARING MY heartfelt reactions in response to the forced closing of our National Monuments (National Cemeteries) to our fallen, in the line of duty or passed on to their eternal reward, after years of faithful service. The closures are such a shameful and despicable act. I wish to share my response to such an egregious, heart-wrenching, vile insult to those who have faithfully answered the call to duty and so willingly paid the ultimate price, faithfully fighting for our freedom and the freedom of so many people around the world.

These nearly nationwide (and Europe) first ever National Monument closures is the gravest insult to our "fallen and laid to rest service men and women." So sad, so angry, and now I hear that our recently fallen are denied a proper military last rite per their faith and their families were being denied the $100,000 life insurance benefits due them under the current law/benefits. I have never been this angry regarding this level of disgraceful conduct toward those who will willingly put their lives on the line, by certain elected officials. Never have our servicemen and women been so abused - this is a national disgrace.

VICTOR HILL, New Plymouth

I'M ATTENDING SCHOOL to become a deacon in the Episcopal Church. As part of my studies I have just recently finished reading Joshua, Judges, Samuel 1 and 2, Kings 1 and 2 and Chronicles 1 and 2. The picture I got was that when we turn away from God and start worshiping other idols, ie money, power, material stuff, and let the children, the hungry, the widows, the aliens, and the mentally ill suffer we are in big trouble. This so resonates with me about the way our government is right now and I just can't understand how some people can be so stiff-necked and have their hearts hardened. We really need to cut this out and I mean right now!

DEBRA GREENLEAF, Garden City

OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS were elected to run the government for us. As of this date — what a bust!

From the top to the bottom, no one seems to agree on anything unless it promotes their own agenda. How can they in good conscience allow the government to partially close?

Why not force the elected legislators to compromise by denying everyone (top to bottom) bathroom privileges until they get going and take care of the government. Believe the government would be running again in less than 24 hours.

CARL WERTEL, Mountain Home

THIS LETTER IS TO put members of the House and Senate on notice — we're coming after them! When election time comes around, we're going to take our country back! There are no term limits for these pinheads, except with the American voters. They have worn our patience past the point of thin. We are going to put some adults in charge. Today was the last straw. Withholding death benefits from families of the very people who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country - shame on all of them.

I say this to the present Emperor, Obama, as well as to he who would be Emperor, Boehner. Remember, We The People are coming to get you.

JAMES WAGNER, Meridian

WELCOME TO THE new dark ages. Perhaps now we see what happens when a movement of willful ignorance is allowed to drive a civil society into retreat. I remember a time when Americans believed that the future was bright, progress was a good thing, and we had a duty to each other. Somehow we let that decay into fear of the other, contempt for the poor and sick, institutional and personal greed, disrespect for education, and the rejection of science.

I'll bet you didn't vote to break the economy and damage your own interests in the last election. The argument wasn't laid out that way. Some Americans saw a populist groundswell, but not the shady billionaires steering them toward a cliff.

This country can't succeed if we don't tend the machinery of democracy, guard against sabotage, and take the long view, that our sincere efforts today mean our grandchildren will still have opportunities. Once in a while it's important to stand up for principles; this is one of those times.

DAVID SIMMONDS, McCall

WHEN DID WE HIT this bar of dysfunction as a nation? A few of our elected officials from a fringe group are holding the health and security of our nation hostage. I am appalled as a woman to see the waste that is being propagated by these few within our "House of Representatives."

We have effectively been furloughed due to the inability of a few, to understand and promote the democratic principles put forth by our founding fathers.

Effective government is not "my way or the highway." How can these representatives show such blatant arrogance and disregard for our nation's health? Their immediate resolve is to "shutdown" the government they were elected to represent. Our country's economy has been put in jeopardy due to the stalemate we have been thrust into.

This charade has had a negative impact on our global reputation as well. Countries throughout the world have taken notice of our inability to govern with diplomacy. Our leadership position within world politics is being compromised.

I applaud President Obama's efforts to stabilize the U.S. economy. He was freely elected by the people to lead our gifted nation.

TERRILL L. LACHCIK, Caldwell

IT IS A SAD DAY for the American people when they have to suffer the Fools of Washington, D.C. Why do the American people have to take furloughs and pay IOUs, yet the fools in Washington, D.C. still retain their salaries and perks? Why are they exempt from the Affordable Care Act? What's good for the goose definitely should be good for the gander. What I can't understand is why the American people let the government force them to require health insurance that Congress themselves knew they would not use.

Congress' approval ratings are at their lowest and yet Americans keep wondering why nothing changes. Nothing changes because you, the voters, keep reelecting the problems. If you want change, i.e. a better government for the people, vote the politicians currently in office, out! Vote for someone that has your welfare in mind, not theirs. Do this and the people will then know what America is and should be: a society of the people, by the people and for the people, not for the politicians and cronies.

MARTIN DAVIS, Boise

MY SON WORKED for no pay this week. He's an information tech specialist at the Veterans Administration Portland Regional Office and even though his department wasn't included in other VA stopgap funding, he was needed. His boss asked him to stay, and he hoped that once the government restarts, he'll get back pay.

It's better than a furlough, and since long-term medical problems are straining his family's income, even the promise of a paycheck must be seized. At least medical bankruptcy is less a doleful prospect for him now that health care reform is underway.

President Obama, please stay the course and keep the new health care system running and adapting, as it was designed to do. And if any young adults read this, please sign up; once the new system starts functioning, Congress might follow suit.

RICK L. DAVIS, Pocatello

A RECENT STATESMAN headline stating "Idahoans urge continued shutdown," was followed by Rocky Barker's article which stated, "calls to Idaho's congressional delegation are running two to one or more for continuing the shutdown ... until the ACA is defunded or delayed." The writer never states the source of the numbers regarding the calls. I would guess these figures came from the offices of the delegations themselves, who never fail to spin and twist information to serve their own party talking points. The numbers are presented as a significant reason for the Idaho Congressmen to "stand their ground opposing reopening the government."

Even if the numbers are accurate, who other than their blind supporters, would bother to call any of them? I've learned through watching their legislative behavior and my past efforts to contact members of the Idaho delegation that they do not represent me. Republican politicians in Idaho consider themselves invulnerable, and they don't have to listen to anyone who isn't a member of their own self-serving party. Why would anyone who doesn't buy their party line bother to call?

MIKE YOUNG, Boise

AS I WATCH OUR Congress right now, I am thinking of the two years I spent working in Washington, DC. I attended many congressional hearings and noticed how brazenly the congressmen scolded and cross-examined various agency directors and executives. They were sometimes very cruel and degrading. I also went to many hearings where everyone negotiated and came to an agreement. I have always defended our system and have told friends and family that Congress is trying to do what is best for our country, but I'm not sure I feel that way anymore.

Most government employees will get paid for the days they have been furloughed, but what about the temporary and contract employees? People need to know that the government employs many hourly and contract employees from staffing agencies and they are not considered true "government employees." Will they get back pay?

Let's vote new people into Congress and send them to required training such as: "How To Deal With Difficult People," "The Art of Negotiation," "It's Not All About You," etc. Career federal employees would not get away with running their agencies the way Congress is now running our country - they would be demoted.

PAM JOHANSEN, Meridian

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