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Shutdown doesn’t impact those who caused it

By Walter Geiger If you ask our fat cat ‘˜voices’ in Washington who is at fault for the government shutdown all you will get is partisan finger pointing. The Democrats don’t want to cut federal spending or the size of government. They buy votes with entitlements. The Republicans don’t want Obamacare, the rollout of which has been an unmitigated disaster by any measure. Our senators and representatives know this. That is why they and their staffers are exempt from Obamacare but that is a column for another day. For the last two weeks we have seen federal employees broken down into essential and non-essential categories. Those who track disease outbreaks at the CDC in Atlanta are non-essential. Barack Obama’s White House chefs are essential. It seems there has been a targeted effort to make those of us who don’t frequent capitol hill suffer while those who reign there do not. The World War II Memorial in Washington, normally open 24 hours a day 365 days a year was barricaded. Vets in their 80s and 90s by the score were lined up to visit. That closure, ordered by the White House, was deliberate and mean-spirited. The vets, of course, would have none of it. Those who stormed machine gun nests had little trouble with crime scene tape. Your soldier abroad now can no longer watch sports or entertainment programming on the Armed Forces Network which has been cut to news only no college or pro football. That can only be called spiteful. There are multiple other examples: citizens denied scenic views of Mt. Rushmore, popular highways through prime fall foliage viewing areas barricaded and countless private citizens and companies living and working in national parks and forests hung out to dry. One trail through a national park which is popular with hikers and distance runners was too vast and accessible to close. Park service employees removed the handles from every water fountain along the trail to discourage use. ’It’s a cheap way to deal with the situation. We’ve been told to make life as difficult as we can for people. It’s disgusting,’ noted one park service ranger. Do those in Washington in either party really care? A few are now donating their salaries to charity but, other than that, there is no indication. They jet in and out of D.C. on their private aircraft, do the cocktail buffet circuit every night and generally thumb their noses at the rest of us. Perhaps all those in the executive and legislative branches of government have proven themselves to be the actual non-essential personnel. Right now, it is hard to envision a world in which we wouldn’t be better off without the entire lot of them. Walter Geiger is editor and publisher of the Herald Gazette.

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