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A New Tradition to Shut Down Our Government

Updated on January 11, 2019
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is currently a volunteer at the Westchester County Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years.

Introduction

The latest shut down of the government just gave me an idea. Let me propose it and see what you think. Don’t dismiss it so quick and hear me out. It may have merit.

- Jan. 2019

Background

One of the ongoing issue with our federal government is the over spending year after year. No matter whether we are in a boom or a recession, our spending just seem to rise and always above our intake revenue. Hence, we have ran up a deficit of $22 trillion so far and no end in sight. In this past year of 2018, records have shown that the IRS has raised a record amount of tax revenues. Yet, we seems to spend even more. What is the solution? A balanced budget amendment? That has been proposed at various times by congress with no appetite to pass it. Here is an alternative idea to achieve a similar result.

Here is my proposal to the President, whoever is sitting in that office. Since the President does not have direct control on spending, being only the executive branch of government, he does hold indirect power over the seat of government spending.

This latest shut down illustrates that our government can function without non-essential services for at least 3 weeks. Therefore, my simple solution is this. In any year if and when our spending overtakes our revenue, the government will automatically shut down for 3 weeks at the end of the year. This is the least disruptive time of year. Many are on vacation anyway. Congress is out of session and many are home celebrating with their families. Let the government shut down for 3 weeks in December to save $$$.

This will also act as the addition incentive for Congress to deliver a budget on time and within limits. If not, they will bear the blame for the shut down.

This idea is not new. Private companies and corporations have essentially done very similar actions with their employees. Rather than layoff or firing employees during a recession or hard times, they would shut down the company for a week so to save money and force employees to use their earned vacation time.

It is a win win for everyone. The only down side is for non-essential federal employees. They would need to find some other work for those 3 weeks or sit at home and spend time with their families. Actually, not a bad deal.

Also, it may get these employees to think about saving... No one should live paycheck to paycheck. The advice of economists is for everyone to have six months of expenses saved as an emergency fund. This will cover any unforseen expenses and occasional layoffs or career changes. Another win win.

Summary

Time and again, our Congress and elected officials have a hard time dealing with tax dollars.They have no problm spending them but have no idea how to live within their means. The alternative is always to raise taxes. Yet, we know that may not necessarily lead to more revenues. The Laffer curve comes to mind. A better way is to institute an automatic shut down. It acts like a brake to a runaway train.

What do you think?

A Simple Poll

Do you support my proposal?

See results

© 2019 Jack Lee

Comments

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    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      7 months ago from Washington State, USA

      Most who work for the Federal government are not enjoying 6-figure incomes (as many believe). Forget about the President and the Congress, Federal judges and Cabinet members.

      Many are average wage earners struggling to get by. Although there is a minimum wage in many states, that does not apply to civil servants.

      Your idea of "having 6 months of pay in savings for a rainy day" is a beautiful concept, but not realistic for many families, especially those who are single-parent families.

      Have you looked at the GS pay scale? I don't have numbers for 2019, but the 2018 rate for a GS-3 (which is commonly entry level) is $20,660. So how is that person, single parent, with rent, utilities, food, a few mouths to feed and daycare expenses going to sock away a nest egg to cover 6 months of expenses?

      Jack, THESE are the people that are being affected by the shutdown, and you say that once a year they should "do without" so that the Federal government can balance its books!?

      The "Federal Employee" is not an amorphous entity. It's real people with real struggles and they should NOT be used as pawns or methods to "balance the budget".

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      7 months ago

      Good idea! I also think that when the government shuts down, Congress should not get paid.

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