So I'm taking my walk yesterday and the gate is closed and adorned with a beautiful plastic banner that is adorning all National Parks this week. I saw the same banner on the Lincoln Memorial. Here it is:
How much money did it cost to print and distribute all of these banners? The government shutdown was supposed to save money but all I can see it that it's costing extra money and all these workers are going to get paid anyway. But that's not my main beef here.
I can understand that they get furloughed and cannot show up to work. But what right do they have in closing parks like this and the Lincoln Memorial? And the various memorials in D.C.? The workers are not needed there. I've been to the Lincoln Memorial and it is basically a big stone building with a statue inside. Why can we not walk around inside? What right do these non-workers have to prevent us from seeing them? Is this just the government trying to spite the citizens because they cannot reach a budget agrreement with the opposition party?
So being the typical Australian who cares little for authority, I walked around the barrier preventing me from getting my exercise and climbed to the top and back down again. Surprise, surprise, I managed to do this without the park workers, (who I've never seen all the years I've taken this walk by the way). When I arrived back at the barricade, there was some kind of uniformed officer waiting to talk to me. (Did I mention there was also a sign warning me of a $65 fine for trespassing on this National Park?)
I saw him from a distance and practiced in my head what I would say to him. My thoughts ran this way: This is a hill. I use it for exercise. You don't own it and you better not try to prevent me from walking up it because of your stupid government shutdown. I don't need any workers to help me climb up and down this hill.
The actual conversation went this way:
Officer: "You do know this park is closed, right?"
Me: "Yes, but this is my usual lunchtime exercise."
Officer: "Oh. Are there any more people up there?"
Me: "Yes. There's a wild Tea Party orgy going on!"
Actually that last line stayed in my head as I replied "No."
So what do we do? Allow the government to continue to spend us into bankruptcy? Default on our loans? No. It is time to make some serious cuts in government workers, and remaining workers' benefits and pensions. We need to bring some fiscal responsibility back to our government spending. So fire a quarter of the government workers and only hire back the good ones. That's what happened in the private sector and we are doing just fine.