By Liz Wood 

From the Hip: Shutdowns unacceptable

 


Phrases like “government shutdown” and “debt ceiling” are becoming household terms these days. Government employees who have been furloughed are frustrated because they want to be at work, but can’t because they have been declared non-essential. Those who are working don’t know they will receive a paycheck.

Facebook is filled with threads discussing firing all the legislators or implementing a law if they don’t come up with a balanced budget, they are ineligible for re-election.

I read a comment about how Europe has free health care, maternity leave for one year and job training. They are paying 60 percent of their income in taxes and according to the comment, at least one European is happy with that tax.

Really?

My husband and I were stationed in Germany for three years. We met people who worked outside of Europe because they could not afford to live on the income they received in Europe because of the high tax rate. In Germany, taxpayers were taxed for personal belongings, along with the 60 percent income tax rate.


Every year at tax time, I saw furniture sitting on the curb to go to the dump, because the taxpayers in Germany did not want to pay taxes on old furniture.

There is no easy solution to balancing a budget, but it does require one thing and that is for everyone to meet in the middle.

I have watched our government become so polarized in their beliefs they can’t find a middle ground.

We, as a nation, are constantly living beyond our means. If we weren’t, credit card companies would be out of business.

Yet we expect our government to live within their means. Any time there is a hint of raising taxes, the people cry out “no more taxes”.

I understand the sentiment. If the government can’t be responsible with the money we already give them, how can we expect them to be any more responsible with extra money?

The simple answer is, we can’t.

So how do we solve the problem? Voting out incumbents doesn’t seem to work, because we go from majority Republican to majority Democrat every time there is an election, and the problem continues to grow.

As a nation of taxpayers, we are watching members of our congress and a president who can’t share the same sand box. I think they forgot who they are working for.

Senator Mike Enzi, one of Wyoming’s two senators, said in a recent press release that the shutdown was 100 percent preventable. Enzi said, “There isn’t a single vote that is supposed to solve the whole thing.”

According to Enzi, there are 12 spending bills that are required every year before Oct. 1.

Those 12 bills are Agriculture; Commerce/Justice/Science; Defense; Energy & Water; Financial Services; Homeland Security; Interior & Environment; Labor/Health and Human Services/Education; Legislative Branch;Military/Veterans; State/Foreign Operations, and Transportation/Housing and Urban Development.

The bills, along with the voting records of our congress are available at thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app14.html.

The information on this website is insightful, but it takes time to read through the bills.

Understanding the budget process and why the Republicans and Democrats are so polarized is the first step to solve these problems.

Ask your legislator why he or she voted a certain way. Tell them why you agree or disagree. Don’t base your arguments on party-line politics.

That is the first step in making sure your voice is heard in between the elections.

 

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