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What's So Bad About the Government Shutting Down?

When I was a kid growing up in D.C. in the 1950’s, one of my neighbors was a black man who worked in the USPS headquarters building downtown. I later found out that this man had been the only African American to command a warship during World War II, which was a submarine tender with a crew of 60 which was in the South Pacific battle zone.

I also later learned that this man had gone back home to Richmond, VA when the war ended and the best job he could get was as a mail carrier, walking around some neighborhood in Richmond, door-to-door, delivering the mail.

When Harry Truman prohibited discrimination in federal employment after 1948, this man moved to D.C., briefly worked for USPS, then went back into naval service in 1949. He retired as a Vice Admiral in 1980.

How many millions of black men and women were deprived of the opportunities that this man enjoyed over the course of his life? How much did the United States forfeit over more than three centuries because blacks didn’t enjoy the same legal and socio-economic opportunities enjoyed by whites?

A recent study has put the loss of income to blacks at more than $70 trillion since Africans were first brought to this country as slaves. But what about the cost not to the black population, but to the country as a whole? How many other qualified black men (and women) weren’t able to contribute their brains and their energies to America’s economic growth?

The current so-called ‘debt crisis’ isn’t a disagreement between the GOP and the Democrat(ic) Party over government spending or government debt. It’s a continuation of the GOP’s racist approach to politics which has been going on since 1948.

Think there’s anything other than racism which is behind the GOP’s absurd demand that the work requirement for receiving various welfare benefits be pushed up from 49 to 55 years of age? This is nothing more than a riff on Ronald Reagan’s ‘welfare queen’ driving around in her Cadillac. Remember that one?

The GOP knows ‘for a fact’ and has been promoting the narrative for years, that the only people in this country who are poor are individuals who refuse to go out, get a job and show up every day for work. And since a large majority of the so-called ‘inner city’ population of this country happens to be poor, the only thing that will get these lazy, good-for-nothings off their rear ends and earn a living (the way the white folks do it every day) is to withhold benefits and force them to go to work.

Incidentally, the biggest chunk of that federal debt happens to have been produced by all those social security checks mailed out every month. Why don’t we just increase the payroll tax to cover those costs the way that a so-called conservative, anti-tax President named Ronald Reagan increased payroll deductions in 1983?

Oh no, say the Republic(ans). If anything, we need to cut income taxes even more. Last year my effective federal tax rate was 17%. How come it can’t be reduced to 15%? I never had a problem finding a job.

Believe it or not, I’m hoping the debt talks collapse and the government shuts down the way it shut down for three weeks in 1995. The result of that brief holiday for the federal workforce was the GOP lost the popular support it had gained in the 1994 midterm election and Bill Clinton skated to an easy re-election in 1996.

I can just see Ron DeSantis running around to all the retirement villages in Florida telling the residents how to ‘make do’ without their social security checks. I can just see the AARP coming up with the money to pay nursing homes so that 2.5 million nursing home and assisted living residents aren’t thrown into the street.

If the government shuts down, the GOP will take it in the ass again. What’s so bad about that?

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