As of right now, who speaks for the United States of America?
Why the frigging frig does "government shutdown" simply not mean that this idiotic COngress has just *voted themselves out of office* - go home now, please, and enjoy your retirement? Except, wait, I think this deliberate sabotage of the country you were sent up there to serve - for quite good pay and bennies, I might add - fully qualifies as domestic terrorism. How about we arrest you as you leave the House and send you all to Guantanamo forthwith without benefit of trial or counsel for the next eleven years or so? How's about that, then?
Or how about at least being honest about it and not taking another penny yourselves from th federal treasury where your salaries and benefits come from? No pay check. No health insurance. No subsidised housing. And we'd like your market-value rent check for your digs now, please, or you have 24 horus to get the hell out. Any COngresscritter who accepts ANY federal money as of right now is at the very least a screaming hypocrite - and do you really really REALLY want screaming hypocrites "representing" you in the halls of power?
So the military will get paid, no matter what, too? Just so as we know who REALLY runs this country then - the Tea Party and the military industrial complex. The generals will get paid. The Pentagon gets theirs. Teachers, health workers, people caring for the environment and the public safety? not so much. And just so as there's no doubt about what the shutdown really slams, take a look at this. The veterans, the kids, the disabled. Way to go, America.
here's what would happen next in a world where I was in charge. CONGRESS IS DISMISSED. RIGHT NOW. Everyone go home, you are no longer part of any part of the Congress, House or Senate. You have just proved yourself unwilling and UNABLE to govern the country you were sent here to take care of. Home. Now. Everyone. No retirement, no benefits, no golden handshake. YOU SHUT IT DOWN. Now suck it up. Oh, and by the way, your names go on a list. You are not allowed to run for any kind of office, ever again. Not even municipal dogcatcher.
Next, we institute a jury duty system. House and Senate gets repopulated by lottery, from the ranks of a lower echelon of elected officials - for instance, all of any given state's Mayors get their names put into a hat and some are drawn out at random - two for Senate seats, however many are required for the House. At random. They serve for two years. The only benefits they get are subsidised housing in Washington for this time, and just enough money in salary in order for their families to be supported, no more than that. No sinecure. No entitlements. You are here to do a job.
The moment you start being an obstruction to the funcitoning of the government you are a part of, you get sent straight back to Backwoodsville and another name gets pulled out of a hat.
You have the respect of and a mandate from the people of your country. THis service is a privilege. But it is finite, you get to do it and then you go home to private citizen land and you trust that the person who comes in after you will take care of YOUR needs the way you took care of THEIRS while YOU were in the hot seat.
People who do not want to sign up for things?... do not have to. But they get to carry a card saying that they did not. And if they are caught driving on a public road, or sending their child to a public school, or want to apply for assistance following a natural disaster... they are plumb out of luck. They pay a toll for every road they use (and they can't EVER go on an Interstate), they commit to pay a higher price for their food (hey, it's transported on those public roads - you didn't pay for them, you don't get to reap the benefits). They don't get to step inside a library. Their children don't go to school (and yes, jobs and careers will STILL require qualifications, but sorry about that....) Their houses get left to burn unless they pay for private firefighters (in advance). If they ever get into a situation requiring search and rescue, they'd better have their checkbooks in hand when they're found. You want to live off the grid and ungoverned? Go right ahead, do it. But you are no longer a part of the civilised society that the rest of us inhabit, and you will be treated accordingly.
COngress... you are unspeakable. You are incomprehensible. YOU HAVE JUST HUNG A "CLOSED" SIGN ON THE FRONT DOOR OF YOUR COUNTRY. Do you UNDERSTAND this?... How can you possibly not CARE????