The Cost to be the boss

BB King once wrote a song called “Paying the cost to be the boss” – but what happens when boss refuses to pay the cost?

It’s a shame that this is what it took to get me writing again but lets find at least a modicum of good in the avalanche of bad.

As of this writing I and 800,000 other Americans and their families are being held hostage by the United States Government. 420,000 of those individuals are being forced to work for no pay whatsoever. As for me and my family my great, great grandfather fought in the Civil War against such things – it was called slavery. Is this “involuntary servitude” by the actual definition of slavery? Well you could always refuse to work for free and quit your job. Imagine, however, being a few years from retirement and told you can either work for free or quit your job. That is the choice many of the 420,000 workers face.

It’s easy for those not directly effected by the shutdown to be complacent. Those forced to work for no money makes it easier to not notice the effects – in the short term. Will you get your tax return? Yes – because 36,000 IRS employess are told they have to work for free.

And while making people work for free will blunt the notice of most people in the short term, in the long term the economy will start to collapse. Think things cant get bad? Guess again. As I type this 1,500 section 8 contracts have expired at Housing and Urban Development (HUD). While project based section 8 tenants will not immediately face eviction, those with vouchers will. Again, this will not immediately effect those who are not from low income families. It will, however, effect the 42 million Americans who receive food stamps but will soon go hungry because they won’t receive them. Currently one in five childen in America rely on food stamps.

Long term owners of properties that receive income from HUD face the decision of asking tenants to pay market rate rent (which tenants will not be able to do) or consider assigning those mortgages back to the Federal Government. Who pays for the mortgages after the properties have been assigned by back to the Federal Government?

You do. Through raised taxes.

Will 42 millon Americans not being able to buy food hurt you if you can afford to buy food yourself? You bet it will. Those foodstamps account for 10% of all the food US families buy for thier homes. You think prices are high at the grocery store now? Wait a few weeks and watch the money fly out of your wallet as prices soar to make up for the difference.

People who are being forced to work without pay will not be willing to do so forever. Already airports are slowing to a crawl. Eventually, if this continues, airlines will begin to shut down. Already some airports are being forced to close terminals. While some of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) employees may be willing to return to work for free in the short run, this will not continue. Who are these employees of the FDA? They are the people who ensure you will not die from botulism in that food you will eat each week.

At present the Government Service Agency (GSA) can no longer issue its payments for rented space to tune of $460 million a month. Maybe you don’t work for anyone who rents to the GSA. Federal employees who are now expected to work for free and will not in the long run guard the shores of the United States in the form of the Coast Guard. They also guard America in the form of Homeland Security the the Secret service, as well as guard prisons.

Does this make sense? Regardless of whether one wants a wall built or not built the debate has wasted nearly the same amount of money as the cost of the wall. But who are the people who are actually holding millions of Americans so they can debate over the construction of a wall? Three people who get paid while the millions don’t: The President, the Senate Majority Leader and the Speaker of the House. The President wants his wall. Whether of not we actually need that wall is now beyond the point. The President will keep the Federal Government closed until he gets his wall – no matter who suffers. The Speaker of the House will not ever give the President his wall – no matter who suffers. The Senate Majority Leader will keep any bill passed by the House of Representatives of introduced by the Senate that he doesn’t like from reaching the floor of the Senate for a vote. This absolves the President from having to veto legislation and precludes congress from overriding the Presidents veto. Three people who, taken together, are able hold millions of Americans hostage for a political agenda. I doubt this is how the countries founders intended the Federal Government should work. I doubt even more that they would tolerate such actions.