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Ransom is not the answer to solving government woes

I read with interest a recent Letter to the Editor, “Inept Congress owes taxpayers a refund.” While I share much of the author’s outrage about the government shutdown, there was one comment I’m not able to endorse.

The author’s comment that “no one in Congress should receive pay or health benefits until a reasonable budget is passed” would only encourage the notion that it is OK to abruptly take away these very basic American privileges on a whim. And I know there is a chance that the letter may have been exaggerating to make a point, but making Congress suffer the same fate that the author is so staunchly decrying doesn’t seem right to me.

“Extracting a ransom because there is a law you don’t like,” as President Obama put it, should not be the way issues are brought to the attention of the public. Yet as I talk to friends and family about the issue, no one seems to be too shocked by this completely unreasonable outcome.

Although I think the shutdown should have ended much sooner than it did, any further denial of pay or benefits to anyone (even Congress) in the near or distant future should be looked at as a fairly significant departure from the type of government we want America to have.

If we, the citizens of this country, the ones who – collectively – still hold the power, sit idly by as our friends, family members, co-workers or mortal enemies are tossed aside so easily, this bizarre shutdown will have come and gone proving only that we are willing to let Congress do it to us again.

Mat Fanciullo

Buffalo