I mostly steer clear of politics here. Why? Because that's what I do for a living and when I'm here I want to think/talk/write about other things that interest me. But this morning, a good friend of mine sent me a note about what she thought should be shut down in the government: The NSA (fat chance), Homeland Security (George W's favorite invention) and things like that. I agree with a lot of what she said, though I don't think it will come to pass.
But at the bottom of her email was a note from someone named Lorraine, in which she talks about what President Obama is threatening to defund if there is a government shutdown--and then goes on to rail against Michelle Obama's expensive vacations. Well, it's such bullshit that I had to respond. So here it is:
Dear T: What the woman Lorraine wrote is utter and complete hogwash. The president makes no choices about spending money in the United States. All monies are appropriated and spent by Congress and Congress alone. All debt is debt belonging to Congress--including the monies spent for the secret service and Airforce One used by the President and First Family. In terms of presidential and first family vacations, Ms. Lorraine apparently does not know that the actual vacations, the clothes, the food, the house staff, the non-presidential and non-secret service cars, the rent on the places and all party expenses unless directly related to a matter of State--are paid for out of the private pocket of the President and/or his wife. He's made millions on his books, gave the Nobel prize money away to charity, and like other presidents has no problem paying his own way.
-Social Security Disability
-and Federal Retirees
--well, again it's nonsense. Why? First, because the president does not have a say in who or what gets paid on any level; and secondly, because the things Lorraine mentions are all in the permanent budget: They get paid whether there is a government shutdown or not. As will Obamacare. As will Congressmen, Senators, their aides and so forth. What gets shorted financially are all of the "discretionary spending" items: NEW claims on social security; tens of thousands of non-vital federal employees, the Smithsonian, National Parks and the like. But certainly not Social security or retirees or military retirees. Current military, they get screwed by a shut down, but not retired military.