OPINION: Shutdown drags on

OPINION: Shutdown drags on



As this tiresome government shutdown has dragged on and on (Is it over yet? I’m writing this on Thursday, so I’m not sure whether the dreary drama has since been settled), I actually found myself — like any other snowflake, I suppose — sympathizing with the 800,000 federal workers who are either refusing to work, or working but refusing to accept their customary pay. 

Foolish me! But I soon came to my senses and realized, obviously, that laying the blame on President Trump constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Allow me to explain away some of the complaints we’ve been hearing about, and the hardships allegedly being suffered, by offering some convincing excuses and double-talk.

People can’t pay the rent? Well, how was Mr. Trump supposed to know that most people have to write a check to the landlord or the mortgage company every month? After all, he lives in public housing, free of charge, and anywhere else he goes (Trump Tower, Mar-a-Lago, various golf resorts) he’s his own landlord. I mean, let’s be reasonable. Besides, why weren’t those people responsible enough to have put a few hundred thousand dollars aside for a rainy day? Huh? Is that asking too much?

And anyway, “rent” isn’t a word Mr. Trump is all that familiar with. He’d have to think all the way back to 1973, when the Nixon Justice Department sued him and his father for discriminating against black people who wanted to rent (ah, there’s that word again) apartments from the Trump Management Co. (The Trumps countersued, for $100 million, but eventually signed a consent decree.)

People can’t make their car payments? What’s a car payment? When Mr. Trump needs to go somewhere, a car simply appears and the chauffeur waits patiently for his instructions. If there are any payments to be made, that’s probably part of the chauffeur’s job. Or something.

People can’t afford to buy food? Well, why don’t they just hire a cook? That way, nice food appears on the table as needed. This is really not that difficult.

People can’t pay their utility bills, insurance premiums and medical bills? Well, they should simply follow some of the suggestions offered by their government in a five-page tip sheet on “managing your finances during a furlough,” which was distributed to civilian employees of the Coast Guard. (See, people? Even in the middle of a shutdown, your government was thoughtful enough to put out a shutdown advice sheet! Is that caring, or what?)

In this publication, folks are advised to:

“Have a garage sale. Sell unwanted, larger-ticket items through the newspaper or online. Offer to watch children, walk pets, house-sit. Turn your hobby into income. Become a mystery shopper.”

Clearly, the same government that everyone’s squawking so loudly about, because of the shutdown, has concrete, practical ideas to help people get through it. Problem solved.

***

The handy hints above are real, folks. And so is this, another quote from another government document: “Amendment XIII: Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

Maybe it’s time to send the cops over to the White House. With handcuffs.

Reach Glenn Richter at grichter@record-journal.com.


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