Who Should Really Be Essential? The IRS
I remember well the government shutdowns in the 90’s as I was working for Social Security at the time. It was terrible for morale. We were declared “essential” but weren’t sure when or if we would ever be paid. This caused a lot of stress as did being told we could not process any new claims. It really hurt. We really cared about the people we served. The Oklahoma City bombing was also still very fresh in our memories. A lot of federal employees died in that terrorist attack from a right wing anti-government nut, and now the right wing nuts of Congress in the person of Newt Gingrich were attacking us again.
I do understand the frustration that many people feel in this country with our government. But it is our elected official that are responsible for all of it. All of it, because our government employees are the best in the world. No one should blame people who are just trying to do their jobs for the mess that we are in. The nuts are now running loose again, causing the shutdown the government that they seem to hate and attacking the federal workforce and the people they are trying to serve.
The latest plan from the house GOP is to cherry pick which government programs to fund. They probably have relatives that want to visit Yellowstone. But it gave me an idea. If the issue is really fiscal responsibility, why not declare all the IRS employees essential? After all, the IRS is the only government agency that brings in the money which we desperately need to pay our other bills. Maybe we should even staff them up in this crisis, do some more audits, collect some more taxes, close some more loopholes? I believe the president can make the decisions as to who is essential. Go for it, I say. Fund the IRS because we need the money. Hey, and we could fund the EPA because we need to breathe. We could fund WIC and Headstart, unemployment insurance, and food stamps. Let’s declare as essential every single program the Tea Party hates. Let’s pick the real cherries for a change and fund the programs that serve the most needy and vulnerable in our country.
It really would be an example of justice, equity and compassion in human relations, the second principle of Unitarian Universalism. We would then be fulfilling both our moral and our responsibilities.