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Kevin & Christine Korenthal: Congress takes a stand

Posted: October 7, 2013 2:25 p.m.
Updated: October 7, 2013 2:25 p.m.
 

Just in time for Halloween, we have what we are told is a truly terrifying and dangerous situation on our hands. Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know if you have heard, but the federal government has shut down due to a disagreement among Washington legislators over spending — or, rather, not spending.

One could spend days blaming this side or that side for the lack of willingness to come to some sort of agreement. I would say that the Democrats have failed to come to the table and negotiate in good faith, while someone from the other side of the aisle would accuse the GOP of holding the government hostage.

So let’s leave that debate for another day.

In a letter to federal employees on Tuesday morning, after the midnight cutoff came and went with no agreement among the Senate and the House, the president lamented the effect that he knew this would have on the 2.9 million civilians working for the federal government.

That number is stunning, isn’t it? Nearly 3 million civilian employees work for our federal government and 800,000 of those workers who are considered “nonessential” have now been furloughed.

My heart broke for those families when I realized how many would be affected. However, after that initial shock wore off, I began to think.

How on Earth did we get to a place where that many people depend on a constantly expanding federal government to have a job and an income?

Is it wise to continue to grow something until it is so large that it literally cannot be allowed to fail or be dramatically scaled back without risking severe economic distress?

I would argue that it is perilous to continue on this course because it will inevitably end in economic collapse.

On some level, our leaders must know this. That’s why, I believe, our legislators are considering another “continuing resolution” to fund the federal government rather than passing an actual budget for the year.

I don’t know about you, but in our home, we live on a budget. We take into account how much we have coming in, how much we absolutely need to spend going out, and whatever is left is for charity, non-essentials, and little luxuries.

We scale back where necessary to make our budget work, even if it means cutting all non-essential spending. Sometimes it hurts but we must live within our means.

Sadly, as we all know, Washington exists outside of reality. That’s why Congress hasn’t passed, much less balanced, a budget in six years.

That’s why members of Congress continue to fund the federal government through resolutions, whereby they can fund all of their latest pork projects without the same level scrutiny they would receive if their spending was neatly laid out in black, white, and red ink.

This expansion of government and out-of-control spending has become untenable and dangerous. Our legislators, Republican and Democrat, are spending money that we don’t have to fund ventures that benefit their friends and contributors, while claiming that failure to do so will hurt our economy.

They negotiate deals behind closed doors, then hide pet projects and political favors in lengthy legislation full of ridiculous spending in the hopes that their constituents will never know.

They make laws that hurt businesses and restrict our freedoms, ostensibly in order to assure us a safe and fair society to live in, but then exempt themselves and their friends.

Why is that? If a law is truly necessary and just, shouldn’t it apply to everyone equally? Should anyone be immune to any part of a “good” law?

The Affordable Care Act is a prime example of just the sort of law that passes when a massive federal government is out of control. It was rammed down our throats even as we told Washington we didn’t want it.

They refused to read it or tell us what was in it before they voted it into law against our will.

Then, to add insult to injury, they exempted themselves, their families, employees, friends, and their richest, most powerful contributors from it with exemptions and waivers.

I, for one, am glad to see some of our legislators having the guts to take a stand and try to stop this law from taking effect. Now it’s time to get more men and women in Washington who will do the same and protect the people, their money, and their rights from corruption, cronyism, and calamitous spending.

This piece is by Kevin & Christine Korenthal. The Korenthals rule their roost from the wrong side of Santa Clarita (the greatest city in California) in Canyon Country and take full responsibility for all of the opinions represented herein.

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