As a public service, I shall now address the most frequently asked questions about the Government shutdown.
WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENT?
In this case, it’s the federal government, as opposed to your state, city or county government. I live in an area with a merged city-county government. It is sort of like Christian Rock combining the worst of elements of two conflicting disciplines. The federal government is described in the United States Constitution.
The federal government has three branches: 1) Executive (the President and all his minions); 2) Legislative (Congress); and 3) Judicial (Courts). The Shutdown involves primarily the Legislative Branch.
WHAT IS CONGRESS?
Our Congress has two parts. The Senate consists of like 50 or 100 senators or possibly more. The House of Representatives contains God knows how many people, maybe 1,000. They make the laws, sort of. Mostly, they just disagree about what the laws should be. This is because the Republicans control the House and the Democrats control the Senate. John Boehner, a leathery-faced chain smoker from Ohio, is the Speaker of the House. Harry Reid, a feckless milquetoast from Nevada, leads the Senate. They do not get along with each other. Although Reid used to be a boxer, my money is on Boehner in an actual fight.
Congress has an approval rating of less than 10%, putting it just ahead of syphilitic dementia and just behind root canals in popularity.
WHAT IS A SHUTDOWN?
It’s where the government doesn’t have enough money to operate and shuts down a bunch of stuff. They won’t shutdown everything. We’ll still have air traffic controllers, prison guards and, of course, Congress.
WHY DO THEY CALL IT A SHUTDOWN?
Not everyone calls it that. Fox News calls it a “slim down,” which sounds like a really positive thing. It might be a real positive, unless you’re one of the million or so people not getting paid during it.
Others call it a slow down, as though the government could actually move any slower than it already does.
HOW DID IT GET SHUTDOWN?
The House controls spending and won’t agree to fund anything unless part of Obamacare is delayed for a year AND members of Congress are required to participate in it. The President and, hence, the Senate refuse to agree to this, saying that the law is law. So, both sides would rather have much of the government grind to all a halt than compromise.
WHO SHUT IT DOWN?
That’s hard to say. There are three schools of thought:
The Right: Folks on the right (the “Conservatives”) say that the President did it. Why? First, they hate the President, so he has to be blamed. Second, the President is a Democrat, and the Conservatives are not Democrats. They blame the President for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act a/k/a Obamacare. They don’t like Obamacare and don’t want it implemented, even though it is now the law. So, the House won’t agree to fund any of the government unless there are changes made.
The Left: Those on the left (the “Liberals”) blame the Conservatives, more particularly the Republicans. They don’t want to negotiate with the Republicans. So they don’t. They hate the Republicans. As a result, they don’t really want to talk to them at all. Their hate of the Republicans is probably the reason they made Obamacare a law to begin with.
Everyone Else: The remaining Americans (the “Victims”) don’t know who the f**k to blame and don’t give a rat’s ass.
WHAT IS OBAMACARE?
I’ve written extensively about that before. No one really knows, but it exists.
WHO IS MY CONGRESSMAN?
I have no idea. Just pick one. They’re all about the same.
WHY WOULD ANYONE VOTE FOR THESE PEOPLE IN CONGRESS?
You got me on that one. No clue.
SO, IS THERE NO GOVERNMENT NOW?
It’s not really shut down completely. Let’s say you worked in factory, and it got shut down. There would still be security guards and some maintenance people working. It’s kind of like that, but completely different.
Mostly, they’ve just furloughed a lot of employees. That means they’ve told them not to come to work. Of course, they also don’t get paid. For example, of the 1500 employees of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only three are working. Those three are complying statistics on how many people in the Bureau of Labor Statistics aren’t working.
If you are a “non-essential” employee, you’re not working. “Non-essential” means they don’t really need you, which begs the question of why they’re paying you to begin with.
I’M A NON-ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEE. WHY DO I HAVE TO WORK?
That’s likely because you don’t work for the government. Private sector non-essential employees should still report to work and pretend to be busy like usual.
HOW MANY FEDERAL EMPLOYEES ARE THERE?
Something like 3,000,000, and that doesn’t include the military, CIA, NSA and a bunch of others. That’s more than Walmart, IBM and McDonalds combined. The Department of Homeland Security has 230,000 employees itself. That’s hell of a lot but only one for every 1300 people in the country. They can’t really protect all of us, can they?
IS CONGRESS GETTING PAID?
What kind of idiot are you? Of course, they’re getting paid. The Congressional barber shop, gym and shoe shine service are closed, though. So, they are suffering but not as much as Congressional Barbers, Shoe Shiners and Gym Attendants. Besides, if Congress doesn’t get paid, the Washington D.C. prostitution industry will collapse.
I’M IN A TENT AT A NATIONAL PARK. WHAT’S THE DEAL?
You have 48 hours to get the Hell out. If you don’t, the NSA will turn bears loose on your campground.
DOES THIS AFFECT THE NFL?
CAN I GET FREE HEALTH INSURANCE?
Probably not, unless you’re really poor or a member of Congress.
ARE THE PEOPLE WHO LISTEN TO MY PHONE CALLS FURLOUGHED?
No, we’re not.
DOES ANY OF THIS AFFECT MY OBAMACARE BRAIN IMPLANT?
Yes. For the time being, the microchip implant has been deactivated. You’ll know when it restarts, because you’ll piss your pants a couple of times.
ARE THE DEATH PANELS STILL WORKING?
Yes, they are. Much like jury duty, you may be called to serve at any time.
SO, I GUESS THERE ARE NO COPS? (ASKING FOR A FRIEND)
You’re wrong about that. Most cops are state employees anyway. Plus, I know an FBI agent, and he’s still working, although it’s questionable about whether he’s being paid. Imagine how surly he’d be if he had to bust your ass for free.
DO I STILL GET MY MAIL?
Yes. The Postal Service isn’t affected, because it generates income from postage. Somehow a business that loses billions of dollars can still deliver a letter for you 3000 miles away for 46 cents. Go figure.
I’M DRUNK AND DON’T UNDERSTAND ANY OF THIS
First, that’s not a question. Second, your drunkenness does not explain your lack of understanding. Many teetotalers, including the few sober members of Congress, don’t understand any better than you.
WHY ARE THEY TAKING OUR GUNS?
That’s a Frequently Asked Question About The United Nations. I can’t answer it.
WHY CAN’T A GOOD GUY WITH A GUN STOP THIS?
Mr. LaPierre, I told you to quit posting questions.
WHAT’S THE PRESIDENT DOING?
How should I know? Golf? Vacationing? Fighting evil? Doing evil? Just the usual stuff that Presidents do, I guess.
DO YOU THINK YOU’RE THE BOSS OF ME?
IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: THE FOREGOING REPRESENTS THE OPINIONS, SPECULATION AND ASSUMPTIONS OF THE AUTHOR. ALTHOUGH I AM A LICENSED ATTORNEY, NONE OF THE ABOVE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED OR RELIED UPON AS LEGAL ADVICE. IN FACT, MUCH OF IT IS INACCURATE AND/OR FALSE. IF IT WERE ACTUAL LEGAL ADVICE, I WOULD SEND YOU AN EXORBITANT, YET REASONABLE, BILL FOR MY SERVICES.