Both sides have boxed themselves into a corner. President Trump says he won’t accept a budget that doesn’t have funding for his wall and Democrats say they won’t accept any wall funding. Hard to find a compromise there.
Trump sells himself as a lot of things but one is that he is the best negotiator in the world. Hard to believe based on his career of business failures but let’s say he is the best: Would the world’s best negotiator lay out a position that can’ be compromised? And now only is that his position. During his campaign he promised, repeatedly to build this wall and have Mexico pay for it.
Clearing he know believes U.S. taxpayers must pay for it and claims we'll be reimbused at least through higher tax receipts based on his new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. Truth is, though, that not only is that agreement not yet approved by the Congress, the money we might get from taxes is not a "profit" that then will be moved to the "pay for the wall" account. That's Trump's attempt at sleight-of-hand.
The shutdown’s results are becoming quite real. Airline controllers are working but not getting paid. How long do you ask someone to work under such stress for no pay and as their mortgage and other bills pile up? National parks are left unsafe and with garbage piling up and other health threats rising. I don’t know what the “typical” number of deaths in national parks is, but since the shutdown, seven people have died.
The Internal Revenue Service isn’t sure it can pay out refunds people will be expecting. They don't have the staff they normally would have to help taxpayers with tax questions.
The Housing department has sent letters to 1,500 landlords of public housing asking them to be patient for payment (just as landlord Trump would be patient in their situation, I’m sure).
Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of federal employees who aren’t getting paid and are trying to figure out whether to pay the mortgage or buy groceries. And, yes, there are full-time employed men and women who face those choices now.
And the holdup is a wall, which Trump now is calling a steel barrier, as if that’s any different than a concrete wall. But that’s the Great Negotiator – change the branding and it’s new and shiny - and a compromise.
Needless to say, this is ridiculous, as is Trump’s claim that this shutdown could last “years." Unlikely for a lot of reasons but one big reason is the U.S. economy will be affected. Local residents aren’t getting paid, which means they aren’t paying their normal bills and aren’t going out to eat, or making big purchases; they are cutting costs where they can – all of which affects the local economies. All of which affect the national economy. And all congressmen and the President care about that as they head to the next election cycle.
I don’t know the answer other than for Trump to give up his wall or the Democrats to give up their opposition to his wall.
I do know this: All of them – congressmen and the President – swore to uphold the Constitution, which means serving the people, not themselves, and their adherence to that oath as we speak is questionable.
What can we the people do? Write letters, make phone calls. Make your view known. The President is claiming the people are clamoring for the wall. The Democrats say they aren’t. Let your Congressmen know your view. Send letters, make calls to the White House. Put pressure on them to force them to do whatever it is you want.
Holding up services to the people of this country is not the right answer, no matter how you feel. Will we get a refund for the weeks or months we have to go without those services? Will we only have to pay taxes for the months the entire government was open? Uh, we both know that answer.
Pointing fingers at Washington doesn’t resolve it either. But calling your public servants and making them know what you believe will.