If it’s one thing I’ve learned during my years in government it’s that without compromise, you’re not going to get very far. Sadly, our representatives in the federal government have seemed to have forgotten what it is they were sent to Washington to do, that is the people’s business.
We have now entered the second week of the federal government shutdown and there is no end in sight. 800,000 federal employees have been furloughed, meaning they are not being paid. And make no mistake, these are working class people, living pay check to pay check being put into a very difficult position. Our national parks and monuments to our great country are closed. Families who have lost loved ones in service to their country are not receiving their death benefits.
And according to economists, the federal shutdown will cost the economy overall 300 million dollars a day in lost output. Certainly not what the doctor ordered for an economy that is still on the mend.
Here close to home, in my own legislative district, our food pantry in Cohoes will be forced to shut its doors if the shutdown continues into November. But in light of all this, our elected representatives in Washington continue to receive their pay and refuse to come together to bring the wheels of government back into motion. Add to the fact that the salary for a member of Congress is 174,000 and that 47% of members of Congress are millionaires, and you have a situation that is simply shameful.
For us here at the local level, we don’t have the luxury of just shutting down because someone did not get their way. Imagine a situation where your city or county government just shut down resulting in no police or fire protection, no water, no garbage pick up etc..
I would simply encourage our elected officials in Washington to look themselves in the mirror and when they do, imagine that military widow looking back at them. Imagine the face of a World War II vet who traveled to Washington, only to discover that the great monument to their sacrifice was shut down staring back at them. I hope they look and imagine a Cohoes family who will go to bed hungry because the food pantry was closed.
If they did that then maybe, just maybe, our government would be back up and running.