Shutdown Meltdown Showdown

By Jackson M. Henry

Politics revealed its ugly twin brother last week in Washington, DC in a form of a government shutdown. Its whiplash sent tremors to world stock markets and rattled people’s nerves worldwide. Even distant island communities like Guam, CNMI and Palau which depends on US Government programs, will not be spared by the wrath of this latest US political grand standing. Everyone is bamboozled just how those Washington follies can be so damn irresponsible.

As Presidential Press Secretary Keobel Sakuma disclosed, the shutdown only delays our COFA II funding and effect Federal funded programs in Palau’s Ministry of Health, Education and even PCC. My Rubak buddy called me up yesterday and exclaimed, “Akora Dilung! It is all the reason why we in Palau must boost our own revenues from the private sector so no outside funding can manipulate our strings”. That Rubak is right. We must dig our economic trenches and build up our nest eggs for unexpected events like this. We cannot afford to be victimized by other’s “ideological crusade”.

Victims of the US shutdown have coined those responsible for this mess as “Political flame throwers”. Other names that I have heard include, “political extortionists”, “legislative arsonists”, and “political hostage takers”.

The ordinary working class folks are bewildered just how a world super power lead by some of the best brains in the world could “burn the ship” and send the entire world swimming in a shark infested waters. Anger is mounting in the US and many stock market watchers are flustered by the very thought that those grown men in Washington and acting like kids fighting over toys in a sand box. Even Republican donors are furious that their own party has grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory.

The US Government shutdown is estimated by OMB to cost the US taxpayers over $2 billion. But it is not the loss of money that infuriates people but, the sense of betrayal that they get from the very same people they voted for to represent and protect them from the ills of big governments and power plays in high offices

When those empowered to hold the nation’s purse string allow government to shutdown, voters and taxpayers revolt with words like: “we gave you power on a golden platter but you blew it. You dropped the ball on us. You fell asleep at the switch. You betrayed our trust”.

What Washington did is a lesson for us here in Palau to never betray the trust that the voters bestowed on those in Congress. Local newspapers reported the recent public outrage over the $30K junket by several law makers to NZ and Cook Islands to “study” VAT which could be downloaded free from the internet or even have 9th grader Ms. Aulerio, the winner of the Independence Day essay contest, teach us.

People the world over just witnessed what minority can do to hold one nation and the entire world virtually hostage. We must stand up and voice our outrage that governments are “of the people, by the people and for the people”……..not for political parties, ideological crusaders or a few minority power junkies.

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