Kennedy: Shutdown hurting more than just government employees

There are, if I recall correctly, several methods of management. There are democratic leaders, liaise fare leaders, and those who manage by crisis, among others. It seems that the not-so-esteemed leader of our country prefers the management by crisis form of leadership and if there is no crisis, he creates one.

The current shutdown is such a manufactured crisis.


It has been about four weeks since the President decided that it would be a good idea to shut down portions of the federal government in order to get democratic approval for the border wall. The ripples throughout the entire economy are now becoming waves. Affected government employees, either those on furlough or those being forced to work without pay, are feeling the pinch this week since their paychecks are not coming. Mortgage and car payments will not be made on time, adversely affecting the individual's credit rating. Tuition will not be paid and some children of the affected workers may have to drop out of college. Food budgets are being trimmed as are things that may not be essential but make family life better.

Ancillary businesses, such as restaurants, grocery stores, and other merchants, who operate in areas where the shutdown, is in effect are seeing lower incomes and many are reducing their hours to try to offset their reduced revenues. Auto and real estate sales are down in those areas as well. Since the National Park Service is one of the agencies affected, those areas are not receiving any revenues from fees or other charges which help keep the parks and shrines clean and patrolled for safety. Their sources of supplies and services are also not needed while the shutdown goes on. This could very well lead to permanent damage to our parks and wildlife areas.

I, for one, can't see the connection between the agencies that are shut down and the wall, or fence, or whatever. The budget appropriations for those agencies have no effect on border security except for perhaps the TSA and that connection is tenuous at best. It is now long past time for the President to let the government workers get back to their jobs of benefiting the American people.

As for the security of the Mexican border, the current portions of the border wall have proven to be ineffective since those so inclined have climbed over it — razor wire not withstanding — or as those with more nefarious intentions have done, tunneled under it with construction worthy of a major construction company. What's going to stop those who desire to keep going over, under, or even through any new barriers? Aren't there some more technically advanced and less intrusive ways to monitor who crosses the border and where? How about more Border Patrol officers, or monitored lighted motion detectors, or even camera carrying drones connected to closed circuit TV monitors to spot those who enter the U.S. without papers?

Another way to spend those security dollars more effectively is to provide more staff to those offices that determine if an undocumented person is worthy of asylum or other reason for legally being allowed into our country. It's an abomination that thousands are still being held in detention camps, some still separated from their children. They're forced to live in the types of squalor that they were escaping from in the first place, maybe even worse. It's un-American.

The House and Senate both approved a measure, before the shutdown, that Trump indicated that he would approve. It contained some money for border security and appropriations to keep the government operating until February. Unfortunately for us all, some of his more hardline so-called advisers whispered in his ear and suddenly the bi-partisan measure was no longer acceptable. Whether or not he raised his voice or slammed his hand on a table before walking out on last Wednesday's negotiating session, that he called, is of no consequence. What is important is that once he didn't get the answer he was seeking, he walked out without hearing what the opposition had to say, just like a petulant child.

To be sure, the Democratic leadership, apparently, hasn't tried to be a bit more moderate in their stances either. It's really unfortunate that those with only a left wing and those with only a right wing can't seem to realize that the majority of the American public flies with both wings. One or the other may be a bit larger, but not so much that the American eagle can't fly straight. It behooves Congess to get its act together and get things settled and back to normal.