Yes, Virginia, there’s a shutdown

December 28, 2018

Dear Santa,

I know you are especially busy this year, taking care of the people who have lost their paychecks due to the government shutdown. We were thinking that the politicians involved should not be bothered with Christmas, as they will be too busy trying to get the government up and running again.

We were wondering if the government leaders (Senators, Congressmen, President) are included with the people who won’t get paid, as that seems only fair. Specifically, we would assume that those politicians would permanently lose pay — and benefits — for the duration of the shutdown. Is that the case? ’Cause we were thinking that would mean:

1. No pay, no benefits, except maybe healthcare. So that means their pensions would be based on the reduced number of days worked (and paid for), and that their seniority, length of service, etc. would not include the shutdown period.

2. No fringe benefits, like government vehicles, staff (personal or position related), discounts, perks, etc.

3. If the politicians feel a need to have staff, they can pay the staff out of their own pockets, but the staff would not be working for the government (no pension contributions, Socail Security, seniority, etc.) And of course, the politicians would have to become employers, paying not just the wages, but FIT, SS tax, and other benefits, and reporting same to the governments involved. Unfortunately, that means the staff would also have to deal with the two employer scenario.

We can see exceptions to withdrawing benefits, but only in two possible areas:

1. Security. Security services should probably continue. We say “probably” because the politicians could, and perhaps should, pay for their own security, since they have abrogated their responsibility to the public. Perhaps turnabout is fair play?

2. Healthcare. God forbid someone could get sick and have no health benefits during the shutdown. As we assume that federal health benefits will continue for furloughed non-politicians, so this would be only fair.

Thanks Santa, for all the wonderful years of joy you’ve brought to everyone. And, in the spirit of Christmas, we’re recommending you don’t seriously show disdain for politicians, by skipping their houses next Christmas. After all, that would be like the crazy idea of fining them the equivalent of double their pay for the duration of the shutdown. Certainly not in the Xmas spirit.

Paul Donnelly

New Fairfield

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