Amazon and Taxes: Why you should be IRATE

If President Donald Trump was truly worried about working for the American people, the first thing he would have done after getting elected is to start to close some of the loopholes that major corporations use to avoid paying federal income taxes. It’s something that he has a lot of experience in, he’s run these mega-corporations, he’s used these loopholes, so he knows how to close them.

Instead, he expanded those loopholes resulting in corporations like Amazon being able to pay ZERO dollars in federal income taxes for all of 2017 and 2018. To make matters worse, it’s estimated that Amazon not only didn’t pay any federal income taxes in 2017, but it’s estimated they received a $137 million-dollar REFUND.

That’s right, when Amazon filed their taxes in 2017, the government wrote THEM a check, that’s even though they brought in 5.6 billion dollars in PROFIT in 2017, but that wasn’t enough, clearly, we needed to send them another 137 million dollars. I mean, what could Jeff Bezos do with a measly 5.6 billion dollars? The poor man’s company clearly deserved a refund.

Then after getting a tax refund in 2017, what did Donald Trump and the GOP do for mega corporations in their new tax plan? They cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent for 2018 and beyond. In the minds of President Trump and the GOP, companies like Amazon were paying too much, and they needed a break.

What was the result? Despite Amazon almost doubling its profits from 2017 to 2018, to a whopping 11.2 billion dollars, Amazon still got another check from the federal government, this time for 129 million dollars. If it wasn’t for all the federal income tax loopholes, that President Trump and the GOP allowed to stay in place, Amazon would have paid 6.146 billion dollars MORE then it did in taxes over the last two years.

If you’re still wondering why President Trump doesn’t want to reveal his tax returns, it’s because of loopholes like this. The mega rich don’t pay taxes, they find loophole after loophole so they can hoard their billions, then they turn around and claim that they are paying too much, to try and get further tax breaks.

It’s about time we say enough is enough, and demand that these major corporations pay their fair share, instead of giving them hundreds of millions of dollars every tax season.

The REAL impact of Trump’s “National Emergency”

President Donald Trump rocked the political world by declaring a “National Emergency” to try and power grab his way to 8 billion dollars to build his oft touted “border wall”, that is going to stop all illegal immigration, all illegal drug usage, and keep the dragons from storming Westeros and taking over King’s Landing. Well of course that’s not all true, I don’t think he’s claimed that it’s going to stop ALL illegal drug usage, just most of it.

Still the grab at money here still has consequences, even if the money never gets directed to the wall because of the court system. The money will be coming from a variety of programs from military construction projects to drug prevention programs, and while everything goes through the court system, those funds get frozen.

The Trump administration has said that they plan to use 3.6 billion dollars from the military construction budget, which currently sits at 10 billion dollars. But don’t worry according to Trump, he’s already talked to “the generals” about this and this is what he says they told him:

“I was speaking to a couple of them, they think this is far more important than what they were going to use it for. I said what were you going to use it for, and I won’t go into details, but didn’t sound too important to me”

According to The Associated Press those funds are used for improving housing, roads, hospitals, and other facilities. It can be used to eliminate mold or other hazardous conditions in buildings at well. Those Congressional hearings by military families living in mold and rodent infested buildings this past week? President Trump repaid them by cutting funding towards the repair of some of those buildings, and then said it “didn’t sound too important to me”.

Another area that Trump could choose to cut from is towards a hospital being built at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. I guess that doesn’t sound to important to Trump either?

According to Mark Cancian, a senior adviser with the Washington think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, “You are cutting a lot of projects the military was planning on, it means there are facilities, barracks, clinics and office buildings, you name it, they won’t be building”. To that Trump says it doesn’t “sound too important to me”.

These are projects designed to improve the quality of life for service members and their families, but I guess that just isn’t important in the eyes of President Trump.

Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued a letter Friday to Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan requesting a detailed list of all the military construction projects that could be impacted by the move. This is something that needs to be done, so the American people can see just what the President is willing to sacrifice in order to get his wall.

Another area that Trump can pull from to fund his border wall, is from the Pentagon’s drug interdiction program that has an annual budget of about $1 billion dollars. That money is currently used towards counter-drug activities, including towards detection and monitoring. As an example, school counter-drug programs run by the National Guard will probably be nixed.

Don’t worry, it’s not like we have a major drug problem in our country or anything, counter-drug programs for high schoolers seems like it’s something that should be cut for sure.

And while major Democrats are using this opportunity to say that they will be able to use this move in the future when a Democrat is in the White House, in order to address things like climate change (which is a far more real national emergency then the need for a border wall), it only further exacerbates the problem. Because it means that if this move is successful, the loss of funds will be more than a one-time thing. Those funds could be taken year after year, which will end up having a significant impact on the quality of life of our military community.

You Don’t Understand – A Message to Those who Haven’t Served

I’m not shy about the fact that I’ve served in the Air Force. In fact, I’m proud of it. It’s given me a perspective of the world that I would’ve never gotten if I hadn’t joined. That’s why every year I travel to visit the graves of the fallen on Memorial Day, that’s why I take the time out of my day to visit their graves throughout the year, not just on one day.

But I promise you this, what goes through my mind when I walk through those fields is different then what goes through your mind. When I look at those grave markers, inscribed with their name, their rank, and their unit, I see more than you do. The drab markers are picture-less, but when I look at each one, I see a face.

Of course, I don’t see the face of the fallen soldier, but when I see a Sergeant, I see myself. I see the face of my children and my wife and see them growing up without a father. When I see a Staff Sergeant, I see my old supervisor, who only has a few more years until retirement. When I see a Private, I see my old troop, an only child whose life could be cut far to short. I see the faces of their parents, their children, their brothers, their sisters, their wives, I see them all and how the world would be different without them.

I see a black hearse driving down the street at Dyess, both sides of the road lined with Airman, saluting their brother one last time as his parents take what’s left of him. I cried that day, and I cry as I walk through the fields where my brothers and sisters are buried.

I get angry when I see kids playing in these fields, but I keep my mouth shut because its not the place. I am barely worthy to walk on the grounds where these heroes are laid to rest, I’m not even close to worthy enough to cause a disturbance on their hallowed ground.

I’ve been to Normandy when I was stationed in Ramstein. I stood atop the cliff overlooking the ocean where those heroes landed. The water that ran red with their blood. I saw the kids playing on the beach but didn’t even deem myself worthy to set foot on the sand.

Trust me when I say if you never served you don’t understand. You can’t look at the marker and see the face that you served with, the reasons that they joined, the family that they have, and what they have to lose. You don’t look at that marker and see the full cost of war.

I was lucky to never have a brother or sister that I served with directly give their life. I was lucky to never have seen combat. I might’ve been in the Air Force, but I was a mechanic, not a desk jockey. I know those that saw combat, I know those that lost friends. I know what the cost of war is, and I know what another major war like those fought in Europe would cost. I can see the cost, I can feel it when I walk through those fields.

So, don’t tell me you understand, just like I’ll never tell a brother that lost a friend that I understand. I don’t see his face on each gravemarker. I don’t see his wife and kids, his brother or his sister. I don’t understand and neither do you.

There is NOTHING “radical” about AOC’s Green New Deal

Photo Credit: Senate Democrats

While much has been made about the “Green New Deal” proposed by Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez, the biggest controversies seem to be coming from what’s not in the resolution. Critics have clung to text from Ocasio-Cortez’s website, which included, economic security for those “unwilling to work”. And while that was posted on Ocasio-Cortez’s website, it isn’t what was in the resolution presented to Congress.

It’s the same when people bring up “airplanes being made obsolete” or “reducing carbon issues from beef”. None of that is in the resolution, it’s all from text on Ocasio-Cortez’s website on how SHE wants to lower carbon emissions. But even if you don’t agree with her specific plan you should still agree with her resolution. Because everyone should be able to agree on the fact that carbon emissions NEED to be reduced and that we NEED to reach net-zero global emissions.

The resolution is intentionally kept vague and doesn’t provide any specifics so that people with differing views on how to reduce carbon emissions can agree to the resolution. Additionally, it provides common sense information on what Congress should be looking into doing to ensure a world that is suitable for future generations.

The resolution starts out by pointing out facts about manmade climate change. These facts are backed up by the scientific community, and every expert in their respective fields. Only Trump and some of his far-right conspiracy theorist supporters are still in the camp of denying the human impact on climate change.

After presenting some eye-popping statistics, including:

(3) global warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius beyond preindustrialized levels will cause—

(A) mass migration from the regions most affected by climate change;

(B) more than $500,000,000,000 in lost annual economic output in the United States by the year 2100;

(C) wildfires that, by 2050, will annually burn at least twice as much forest area in the western United States than was typically burned by wildfires in the years preceding 2019;

(D) a loss of more than 99 percent of all coral reefs on Earth;

(E) more than 350,000,000 more people to be exposed globally to deadly heat stress by 2050; and

(F) a risk of damage to $1,000,000,000,000 of public infrastructure and coastal real estate in the United States;

 it goes onto some more generic initiatives, that not too many people can disagree with, even if we disagree on how to get there. Still there are some provisions in the resolution that have provided some minor controversies. For example,  

(E) upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximum energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;

The biggest controversy of this statement is “all existing buildings”, but that doesn’t have to be a major upgrade to make a significant impact. Many climate experts recommend a simple step like switching to LED bulbs or treating your windows to let in less light which can reduce heating and cooling costs.

If every building in the country was upgraded with these simple steps it would make a significant difference. And while we can argue about how to implement such a plan, what shouldn’t be argued is that it’s a worthy goal.

Another section that might be deemed “controversial”

(O) providing all people of the United States with—

(i) high-quality health care;

Once again this is a prime example of an action that shouldn’t be controversial, even if we disagree on how to get there. The problem is right now the GOP has no idea how to get there, so agreeing to the fact that every American deserves “high-quality health care” can be a hard sell.

But it shouldn’t be, nothing in this resolution is radical or ground-breaking information, it’s the reality of the world we live in, and it’s time for Congress to wake up to that fact. Only once we get everyone on board, Republican, Democrat, and Independent, can we start making progress to reducing carbon emissions in the United States and do our part to ensure a world that the younger generation and their family can live in.

Click this link for the full text of the resolution presented to Congress.

Envisioning a 4-party system

In 2016 the United States missed an opportunity. On the left we had a Democratic Socialist (Bernie Sanders) squaring off against a “conventional” Democrat (Hillary Clinton), and on the right we had a populist (Donald Trump), squaring off against a wide field of “traditional” Republicans. It was the perfect chance to highlight the vast disparities between the differing sects inside each political party and do something about it.

Even with an extreme partisan like Clinton, and an extreme partisan like Cruz, there were still two more candidates that held even more radical views competing for their party’s nomination.

But imagine if both parties were split in two, with each party’s most extreme members forming their own political parties based off those beliefs. A populist party for the extreme Republicans and a Democratic Socialist party for the extreme Democrats.

Before looking at the presidential election implications of doing this, lets look at the implications to Congress. The country is divided into extreme partisan areas, areas that elect people like Alexandria Oscar-Cortez and Bernie Sanders on the left, and people like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump on the right.

In an ideal situation each party would have roughly the same number of people (please don’t misunderstand me, there would still be elections which invariably means that there would be fluctuations to this and that’s a good thing). But as long as no one single party gained complete control for too long it’d be fine.

That would mean that depending on the makeup of the government at the time, each “moderate” party would need to work with their respective extreme parties to get their more extreme measures passed. Additionally, to get more moderate legislation passed they would need to work with the other moderate party. A system like this rewards cooperation, since no party can do anything all by themselves, as compared to our current winner take all system that results in politicians hurting their careers when they work with the opposing party. Having more parties in Congress is a clear advantage for the country because the amount of cooperation it encourages.

For the presidential election things get far trickier in a multiparty system though, you don’t want an elected president who only got 30 percent of the popular vote. Ideally, in a multiparty system you don’t have a direct election for the President, you have a parliamentary system like those used throughout Europe. I would propose a system where the elected Congress votes for and chooses the President.

This would once again encourage cooperation between the parties and ensure that the President isn’t extremely partisan, since no one party can elect the President by themselves. The other option for a Presidential system with multiple parties is a runoff election type scenario. However, I think this would still lead to a heavily partisan President, blunting much of the impact of a less partisan Congress.

To be clear, I don’t think a system like the one described above will ever be implemented in the United States, it would require a complete overhaul of our government right down to the Constitution. Still, I said it before and I believe it even more now, we need more than two parties in our government.

The way the United States works right now is we go from one extreme to the other, swinging back and forth between the two, and as a result we drown out the moderates. It’s an extremely volatile system that leaves a large portion of the population feeling disconnected from the government and encourages large partisan divides and big divisions throughout the country.

When America was founded, our government system was the best in the world, and while the country is still great (despite what certain politicians would have you believe about needing to make “our country great again”), our political system is deeply flawed and far from the best in the world. It’s about time we started looking at ways to fix it.

Defense spending and tax increases: what we need to do to balance the budget

moneyIn case you’ve missed it, the United States is going broke. The current national debt is at 22 trillion dollars, with a national deficit of nearly 1 trillion dollars. With our overall revenue at just under 3.5 trillion dollars a year, it would take us 7 years with the government spending ZERO dollars to just break even.

The bad news, the GOP, who historically has declared themselves the “fiscally conservative party”, has reneged on their promises and shown their true colors over their last two years in office. They have shown that they are anything but fiscally conservative, ballooning the deficit, which was down to 500 billion dollars during the last year of the Obama presidency.

Still with the debt so high what must we do to begin to claw our way out? We need to do the same thing every family does when they realize they are spending too much, decrease spending (budget cuts), increase revenue (taxes), or in this case both.

When you look at the budget, the biggest discretionary spending cost in the United States by far is defense spending (i.e the military). In 2018, the military had a budget of just under 700 billion dollars. That is by far the most any country spends in the world, even when compared to that countries GDP.

What the United States needs to do is start relying on it’s allies more when it comes to national defense and pushing its global interests. Currently the United States GDP is roughly equal to all its NATO allies combined, however, when it comes to defense spending the United States is accountable for close to 72 percent of all NATO defense spending. That means while we are currently spending 700 billion dollars a year, we should be spending only 480 billion dollars a year.  

The United States cannot afford to do this. We need to reign in our defense spending and force our allies to pay their fair share, if not they will gladly let us run our country into bankruptcy as they enjoy the benefits of our free defense services. The only way that they will ever start to pay their share is if we stop covering for them. We need to cut our defense spending, and then the next time Russia, China, North Korea, Syria, or a multitude of other bad actors misbehave, look to NATO to respond.  

Second, we need to increase taxes. It’s the only way to even come close to balancing the budget. While every politician in Washington knows this, the GOP was willing to mortgage the future of the country for a short-term political gain when they passed a massive tax cut in 2017. To make matters worse those tax cuts disproportionately benefited corporations and the super-rich, the same groups that are being taxed at historically low rates, when our country has a larger national debt than ever.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed 70 percent tax on income over 10 million dollars a year, would bring in an additional 72 billion dollars annually (7% of our national deficit, or 14% if we reverted back to Obama era spending) and that’s just by returning the top marginal tax rate to a figure that it was always at before the 1980’s. There are ways to get our spending in check without catastrophic consequences if we selectively target our tax rates like most European countries do, but we need to do it now before it’s too late.

This country needs to elect politicians that are truly fiscally conservative, those that recognize defense spending needs to come down and taxes need to go up. Something that those in red refuse to admit.

Medicare for all and Tricare

single payer
Photo Credit: Michael Fleshman

Medicare-for-all is shaping up to be a major focus for Democrats looking to replace President Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Still when Kamala Harris came out in favor of eliminating private insurance companies – a staple in most single payer systems, Democrats recoiled.

That begs the question do Democrats really know what they are pushing for when they are demanding a single payer system? The closest resemblance to a single payer system in the United States is Tricare, the health insurance military members are given (For those that want to be technical, Tricare Prime).

And as such I think that it’s the perfect way to evaluate how a single payer system would work in the United States. Yes, I understand the funding will be different, but most Americans DO realize that going to a single payer system would result in an increase in taxes – and by how much is still up for a bit of debate, although countries in Europe provide a good estimate for this.

Now as a military member I had Tricare for several years, so I know a few things about how it works from a user’s perspective.

The cost to the user has to be the biggest advantage in a single payer system – now I understand that we will all be “paying” for it in a national single payer system through taxes, but the difference is it doesn’t matter if you get cancer, you won’t get a bill. It’s stress free, you no longer have to worry about if your health or a freak accident is going to bankrupt you. You don’t have to worry about copays or deductibles, you just know your covered.

My kids have a variety of (small) medical issues, their therapies never cost me a dime on Tricare. When I talked to their doctors about what they needed I never had to ask about the cost, instead I got to ask about what the best treatment options were without having to worry about if I could afford it.

Furthermore, with Tricare preexisting conditions don’t matter. Now to get on Tricare as a military member preexisting conditions are a thing, they won’t let you join the military if you have a multitude of different health concerns, thus excluding you from Tricare. However, for spouses or kids, it doesn’t matter what they have – as soon as they marry the service member everything is 100% covered. With a single payer system, you don’t have to marry a military member to get this kind of full coverage if you have a preexisting condition. Simply by being an American you would have healthcare.

Still the biggest drawback on a single payer system is your ability to choose your doctor. In Tricare you are assigned a primary care doctor who handles all your day to day care and refers you out to other specialists if you need them. While that works great if you have a good primary care doctor, if he isn’t any good it can lead to a lot of headaches. While you can change your primary care doctor it can be a pain.

In a civilian single payer system there would have to be a system to address who you can see, if not everyone is going to want to see the top doctor every time their nose runs. I think a system where you have a choice between 3 primary care doctors – think a family health doctor, that can refer you out to specialists is the way to go. Of course, being limited on who you can see is a definite drawback of the system.

With this information and my personal experience on Tricare I am a strong activist for a single payer system. It is insane that in the United States there are people that lose every dime in their savings account or go into massive debt because they fall and break their arm. It’s even crazier that there are people with cancer that can’t get treatment because they can’t afford it. They are sentenced to die because they can’t afford the care that could save their life. People deserve better, and in America we have the option to give them better, it’s beyond time we did so.

 

Addressing a potential cause of suicide in the Military: BMT

Basic training

I want to start out this story by stating this for whoever might need to hear it. If you are thinking about suicide seek help. It’s never too late to get help and there are people out there that care about you. Seeking help doesn’t make you weak, knowing when you need someone else to help you out is a sign of strength, if you are thinking about taking your own life, talk to someone and get help.

According to data obtained by Stars and Stripes, a military news source, the Marine Corps hit a 10 year high on the number of suicides committed by its members. Overall 75 Marines killed themselves in 2018, up from 42 in 2008.

The majority of those that killed themselves, 63 percent, were under the age of 25.  Additionally, most of those who killed themselves had not seen combat or been deployed overseas. So that rules out the reason for the increase being related to an increase in combat operations and PTSD, not surprisingly so since our troops are seeing less deployments then they were 10 years ago.

Additionally, suicide has become a high focus item in the military, leading to more training and resources then ever to address the issue.

But that begs the question why are troops killing themselves at a growing rate if the job is getting less dangerous and troops are being presented with more options for help?

With such a complex issue there certainly are multiple underlying reasons, but here’s my take on one of the potential causes, backed up only by my own experiences while in the military:

I went to Lackland Air Force Base in 2013 for Basic Military Training (BMT). When I went it was shortly after a massive sexual assault scandal where trainees were being raped by their MTI’s. Following this scandal every policy surrounding trainees and their treatment by MTI’s was looked at, and rightfully so, no one should sign up to serve their country and get raped while in training.

However, a big result of that was on how MTI’s could treat trainees while in training. For instance, they put restrictions on how much physical training (i.e. pushups, sit-ups, flutter-kicks, etc…) they could issue out as a punishment for things, they made it so MTI’s couldn’t cuss at trainees, MTI’s couldn’t throw mail at trainees, and they even gave trainees a “safe space”, although not one a student on a college campus would recognize!

The “safe space” was our day room, you could still get yelled at by a MTI in there, but they couldn’t make you do physical training in there, and they were supposed to take it a little easier on you in there. In fact, I had a MTI put a fellow trainee “on his face” (made him do pushups) in the day room once, realized his mistake, had him move to the hallway to finish his pushups, then APOLOGIZED TO HIM for making him do pushups in the day room. And I’m not talking about a snarky “I’m sorry”, I mean a full “please don’t tell on me” apology.

Now don’t get me wrong, BMT still isn’t a COMPLETE joke, we did have several people washout and go back home because they couldn’t handle it. But we also had people that shouldn’t have made it get pushed through the system.

In my flight we had a trainee try and kill himself. He failed, mainly because he was in a flight of 49 other trainees that ensured he would fail. He left, got the help he needed and moved on with his life. It’s good he didn’t make it through BMT, for his sake.

You see the military isn’t for everyone, and that’s alright. Service members give up a bunch of their rights and freedoms when they join, they go where the military tells them to, do what the military tells them to do, and that’s that. You work whatever hours they tell you to work, without overtime pay or compensation, for relatively little money. It’s a complete change in lifestyle that civilians can’t understand (The changes in lifestyle are far reaching, not just what is mentioned here, it would take an entire post of its own to even begin to address them all).

BMT is supposed to ween people out that aren’t suitable for a military lifestyle. That doesn’t make these people bad or anything, it just means they aren’t cut out for the military, and like I said before, that’s alright.

But by watering down BMT, MTI’s are less able to weed out those individuals that never belonged in the military to begin with. That’s not a good thing. BMT is supposed to stress you the hell out, that’s kind of the point. If you go to war and get put in a combat situation that’s going to be a hell of a lot more stressful then whatever they put you through in BMT.

But it goes beyond that, BMT is temporary, the stress of a military lifestyle is permanent, well at least until your contract is up, so four to six years. If you can’t handle the stress dished out at BMT you’re not going to be able to handle the stress from a military lifestyle.

And the easier they make BMT the more people are going to get pushed through the system that can’t handle the stress of a military lifestyle. There’s nothing wrong with those people, everyone has their breaking point, but by making BMT easier we aren’t doing anyone any favors, in fact I think they are putting more lives at risk.

Book Review: Founding Faith: Providence, Politics, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America

founding-faith.jpgOriginally published in 2008, Founding Faith by Steven Waldman has aged like a fine bottle of wine, amazing when it was first published and even better now. The arguments Waldman uses when applying the viewpoints of the founding fathers to the issues of today are well-researched, unbiased, and still ring true.

The book starts out by studying the religious roots of the original 13 colonies, and how they tied into the American Revolution. He presents the facts about how early Christianity was practiced in the 13 colonies, and it is impossible to miss the similarities between the brutality of Christianity at the time and that of the radical Muslims of today, even though Waldman himself never explicitly points this out.

Furthermore, Waldman declares the American Revolution nothing short of a “holy war” and is able to back up his assertation with well researched facts and arguments. His research makes the fact that the colonists’ religious beliefs were instrumental to the Revolution.

Throughout the book, Waldman goes on to present the religious views of Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison in a way that is easy to read and accessible to all, while showcasing the early lives of these founding fathers that brought them to their views on faith.

Finally, he digs into the religious arguments being made at the time of the American Revolution, all the way to and through the passage of the Bill of Rights.

Waldman’s ability to present the debates and political tactics of the 18th century in a way that reminds the reader of the political battles of today gives you faith that what we are facing today is not so different from what our country was going through over 200 years ago, and we made it through just fine.

Jam-packed with information about the formation of our country, and how it applies to the issues our country is facing today, this book should be required reading for every high-school student. Below is a link to Amazon if you’d like to get a copy of the book yourself.

Feel free to share this post, re-blog it, or just let me know what you think the comments! If you’ve already read this book, I’d love to hear from you!

 

The Shutdown is Over: Now we need to make sure it NEVER happens again

government_shutdown_sign_(10174816623)What this government shutdown has shown just about every American and politician, is that shutdowns like this cannot happen. Government workers cannot go without paychecks for weeks on end because of political games. And in a sense, we were lucky, this was a PARTIAL government shutdown, and the effects were still profound.

Do you really think that the politicians would have handled the situation any differently if it was a full shutdown? Don’t count me as someone with any confidence that they would have.

With that being said, there is a lesson to be learned here, and a solution to be implemented. The lesson learned? We can’t let this happen again.

What’s the solution? If the federal government cannot get a budget passed on time, then the country should automatically be funded by a continuing resolution until a budget gets passed. To ensure that the CR is not the new permanent budget, it should be reduced by 5 percent every month, with government employees’ salaries the LAST thing to be affected.

This is a bipartisan solution to a problem that has become increasingly worse in recent years. Obama did it in 2013 to get the Affordable Care Act pushed through and now Trump is trying to do it to get his wall built. Holding government employees’ hostage to get what you want is not how you govern.  

A new budget needs to get passed in the next three weeks, and a provision to ensure that a shutdown like just happened never happens again NEEDS to be in it. It’s what the American people deserve.