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Op-ed Placement

Life outside the Beltway goes on while Trump and Pelosi quarrel over shutdown

BY Adam Brandon
01/23/2019
Originally Published in The Washington Examiner by Adam Brandon on 1/22/19.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is desperate to win over the radical-left wing of the Democratic Party. With arms crossed and heels dug into the ground, she has lowered the bar of negotiation to something you’d expect from a child on a playground, not someone third in line to the presidency.

She personally insulted the president in the media and to her colleagues, telling House Democrats, “It's like a manhood thing for him. As if manhood could ever be associated with him.” She later warned colleagues to avoid interfering with President Trump’s address, saying, “ You get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you."

Threatening to rescind the president’s State of the Union invitation might be one of Pelosi’s lamest “burns” yet, considering the address was delivered to Congress in writing throughout most of American history. Tradition changed in 1913 when President Woodrow Wilson delivered the address in person, but frankly, a return to the old way might not be a bad thing.

Still, I have to laugh. Only a career politician like Pelosi would believe the ultimate punishment is to take away an opportunity for a speech. Members of the entrenched D.C. political class have a nasty habit of lecturing to the public when they should be listening.

If Pelosi and her Senate Democrat counterpart Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., took a break from sabotaging the White House to listen to grassroots, they would quickly learn that people have lost faith in Washington’s ability to work. It’s no longer a debate over what the government should be doing; it’s a debate over whether the federal government can do anything at all.

Only 15 percent of Americans say they can trust the federal government to do what is right “most of the time,” according to Pew Research Center. Only 11 percent of Americans have a “great deal” or “quite a lot” of faith in Congress, according to Gallup.

Can you blame them? We are approaching $22 trillion in federal debt. For some perspective: Stacking just $1 trillion in $1 bills would reach a quarter of the way to the moon. The U.S. debt, stacked in $1 bills, would measure to the moon and back twice, followed by a return to the moon and halfway back to earth. Really.

Yet, nobody in our nation’s capital can seem to find a single penny to cut. Democrats and Republicans have been working together for decades to grow the size and cost of government. The federal deficit is projected to approach $1 trillion this year.

As government grows bigger, it also grows older. Nearly half the federal workforce is over age 50, and they retire at 61.8 years of age, on average, according to the Office of Personnel Management. Nearly 90 percent of these civilian federal workers are employed in the executive branch.

This demographic shift presents a tremendous opportunity for Trump and Republicans to scale back the size of government. As these bureaucrats retire, their positions should be reviewed to determine if they are needed anymore. Cutting waste with no layoffs. Now that’s something Republicans and Democrats should be able to support.

The longer the partial government shutdown lasts, the more it demonstrates how nonessential some of these personnel are. For example, our tax dollars pay for 23 people to sit on two committees dedicated to researching and regulating the size of pears. Why?

Other than some dirty bathrooms and overflowing trash cans in national parks (many of which were cleaned up by volunteers), most of the country is not feeling the effects of the partial government shutdown. They are, however, feeling the positive effects of a growing economy, a growing job market, and a lower tax burden. America is finally back at work.

Life goes on outside the Beltway. Families are back to focusing on their own lives: working hard, making sure their kids are doing okay in school, making sure the driveway gets shoveled after a weekend snowstorm. The federal government is operating without the bloat of nonessential employees, and most of the country hasn’t noticed. Maybe that silence says more about the State of the Union than a speech ever could.

1 comments
01/26/2019

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