Now wait just a doggone minute here! Donald Trump willfully, irresponsibly, and recklessly shuts down the government, affecting close to one million federal workers, emasculating the food stamp program, demands that the case against him for emoluments violations cannot proceed, as his lawyers are not allowed to work during the shutdown, but he can take Air Force One and make an unplanned trip to Iraq for no better reason than a photo op???
Would you all like to know that it costs between $180,000 and $200,000 per flight hour to operate Air Force One? PER. FLIGHT. HOUR. The trip to Iraq would have taken somewhere between 13- 15 hours. Do the math. No wait, I’ll even do it for you. Round trip, the cost of Air Force One alone for this photo op on which Trump also took his ‘wife’, was between $4,680,000 and $6,000,000. Let me repeat … it cost between $4.7 million and $6 million of our taxpayer dollars in travel alone, not counting security, meals, lodging, etc. for Donnie & Melania to go have their picture taken with soldiers in Iraq! How many of you have ever even seen one measly million dollars in your lifetime? Not me, that’s for sure! If you aren’t furious over this, then roll over and go back to sleep.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch …
- Only about 5% of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food & Nutrition Services’ employees are at work. This is the department that administers food assistance programs to low-income families and individuals.
More than 800,000 federal employees (more than one-third of the total) are impacted, either being laid off or working without pay. Many are like the rest of us and live from one payday to the next, contrary to what Scott Perry, a congressman from Pennsylvania said: “Who’s living that they’re not going to make it to the next paycheck?” Nice, Mr. Perry, real nice. Such empathy.
Most of those who are expected to work without pay during the shutdown will be given backpay once the government is once again ‘open for business’. However, non-citizens who are employed by U.S. embassies overseas may well not be eligible for back pay!
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is closed, but don’t worry … your income taxes will still be withheld from your paycheck! Gotta keep paying for Donnie’s travel on Air Force One now, don’t we?
Trump has claimed that the federal workers are supportive of the shutdown, saying he’s heard from federal workers who want him to “stay out until you get the funding for the wall.” Predictably, it’s another of his multitude of blatant lies, and federal workers were none too happy hearing him tell it …
“I am a federal worker who is working without pay. And yes, we live paycheck to paycheck. Who will pay my mortgage January 1st? You?”
“My husband is a federal worker, we need our paycheck next week to pay our mortgage.”
Now, Trump claims that he will keep the government shut down until such time as the $5 billion initial funding for his wall is approved by Congress. Well, first of all, as I have discussed before, $5 billion is only the first part, and the wall has the likely potential to end up costing around $70 billion. And frankly one billion would be too much. No, Donnie, I ain’t giving you a damn dime toward your wall! Congress is highly unlikely to give in to Trump’s bullying tactics to get his white elephant … thankfully.
Any president who would keep the government shut down ‘indefinitely’ for his own ego is no president, for he is failing to even consider the people he was hired to represent. Other nations agree …
“Canadians like to think their system of governance is better than the American one. If they want more evidence, they need only look at what’s happening now — a government shutdown in Washington — and be thankful their system doesn’t allow the same shenanigans.”
I can think of a couple of solutions here. First, what if all the White House crew, such as chefs & cooks, housekeepers, laundry staff, maintenance staff, groundskeepers were to be furloughed during the shutdown? Now, include Trump’s chauffeur and limo, and furlough the cast & crew of Air Force One and the helicopters Trump frequently flits about in. Think he might have second thoughts now?
And the best solution of all, though I’m sure nobody would have the guts to participate, is a massive nationwide worker’s strike. Every employee in the manufacturing industries, from the auto industry to the coal industry should walk off the job the first Monday after the new year. The only language Donald Trump understands is the one where ‘money talks’, and he is indebted to his wealthy cronies in the upper echelons of nearly every industry. When General Motors, Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods, Smith & Wesson, and many, many others are dead in the water for they have no workers, I give it two days until they demand Trump sign the budget bill sans wall and get on with the business of governance.
Folks, this situation is both unconscionable and untenable. Somewhere, sometime soon, Mr. Trump is going to need to be forced to realize that he is not “making America great”, but instead is making America a) the brunt of jokes in every nation on the globe, b) less safe than we have been in more than 50 years, c) economically unstable. He. He alone. He alone is responsible for the chaos in our government, for the highest turnover rates of any administration before, for the divisiveness of our nation, and for isolating us from our allies while pandering to our enemies.
One theory is that Trump knows he will never get the wall funded, and as such is using it as a point to get the shutdown for another reason … to keep his own posterior out of legal trouble (see Xena’s post for more information). This theory may well have merit, and if so, Trump’s shutdown is even more unconscionable. At this point, I think we seriously need to wake up the GOP senators and make it clear that We The People are against this shutdown and against the damn wall. So, stretch your fingers and start writing again, folks … please … for our future, our lives as well as lives around the globe depend on stopping this runaway train!
And one last thing … would somebody stop him from all this wasteful travel that serves no purpose? Federal employees aren’t getting paid and he’s wasting $6 million for a photo op???