I found Mr. Baxter's letter in the Oct. 16 edition of the DCI to be very interesting. In fact, I read it twice to make certain I completely understood his position on military death benefits and the government shutdown.
In the event a shutdown did occur, a bill was passed prior to continue funding the military and the president signed the bill. So the whole Congress — Democrats, Independents, Libertarians and Republicans — must not have read the bill and also missed that death benefits were not included. Actually it took a team of attorneys with a lot of time on their hands to figure out the omission. But once it was discovered it would only have taken an executive order for the president to quickly rectify the situation. He chose not to do that and so it went back to the House for a unanimous vote in favor of and a reluctant vote on the part of the Senate before it was sent to the president for his signature.
My understanding is that the "perks" referred to in Mr. Baxter's letter are not free. You hear reports that legislators have outstanding bills with the barbershop and the need for them to catch up on payment. The barbershop is a convenience and is available to all of Congress.
The shutdown did show all of us how much of our land and facilities paid for and maintained with our tax dollars is under the control of the federal government. One has to wonder why the government would go to the expense of gating off and patrolling open areas. Because by doing so they could inflict as much pain as possible.
Whether you think Obamacare is a good idea or not, the message on defunding was to bring attention to the cost, difficulties of implementation and limited, if any, control we may have over available health care options. We know that Medicare and Social Security are in financial trouble and the cost to our young people to keep all these programs going is financially unsustainable for them.
When this country fails to meet its financial obligation — and that will surely happen if we continue to spend at the present rate with debt of over $17 trillion — the pain from the collapse will be far greater than if we address our debt/spending problems right now.
Judith Ann Schaaf