James Madison on "Holding the Government Hostage"

Federalist 58:

The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose, the supplies requisite for the support of government. They, in a word, hold the purse that powerful instrument by which we behold, in the history of the British Constitution, an infant and humble representation of the people gradually enlarging the sphere of its activity and importance, and finally reducing, as far as it seems to have wished, all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of the government. This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.
Thanks to Tom Elia who saw it on a Facebook thread.

I think the thing that pisses me off the most about the federal government's partial shutdown is something a reader pointed out to me the other day: We're not actually going to save any money with this because when the federal employees get back to work they'll be paid for the time they spent sitting on their asses and getting free popcorn at theaters.

This isn't a government shutdown. It's a paid vacation.

Posted by: Rusty at 11:12 AM


It is always nice to see people support those on furlough. So some facts with this one... federal employees are not getting paid. To receive back pay requires congressional approval. Additionally, like any other worker who has been laid off there are always concerns such as paying rent in expensive areas of the country such as the DC area, not to mention other bills.
Being upset with federal employees is focusing displeasure at the wrong group of people. Just think all those elected officials are still getting paid and they are the ones who can't pass a budget. In my opinion the fault falls squarely on Harry Reid and President Obama's shoulders. Even then it does not solve the issue of the federal workers on furlough.
There are many reasons that "we" won't save money during shutdown. One of the biggest costs is the shutdown and subsequent restart of the government beyond federal employee pay. While I won't argue the fact that not all federal employees or federal agencies are necessary, I will remind people that if they were in a similar position they would think of themselves as necessary. If you don't like the what is going on vote. If you protest by not voting then shut up, you are a big part of the problem.
I have served the country in many capacities and often freely give of my time (I don't collect pay for some of what I do). I would rather work than be furloughed, this is not my choice. BTW I do vote.

Posted by: PSDiver at October 03, 2013 03:33 PM

2 Some of us federal workers are required to be on the job for no pay until this is all resolved. Those of us with "national security" tags on our job descriptions are on the job with nothing but yellow-sticky IOUs at the end of the day. It IS kind of irksome that those on furlough will probably be paid for the down time. . .

Posted by: Brian O'Kelley at October 03, 2013 10:17 PM

3 Thanks to Tom Elia for the Federalist find. I'm going to post it and hope it spreads some more.

Posted by: Brian O'Kelley at October 03, 2013 10:19 PM

4 I'm a federal contractor. I am not getting paid now and won't get paid for the days off in the future. I bill by the hour and the hours missed will never be seen again.

Posted by: VolDog at October 04, 2013 08:17 AM

5 Of course as a private worker in a private company, when I get laid off for a few days, I DON'T get paid EITHER!

Posted by: Kafiroon at October 04, 2013 09:52 AM

Again those furloughed are not guaranteed pay. The real problem is not who does or doesn't get paid while put on furlough, but rather those who can't sit down at a table and negotiate to get things moving (i.e. Democrats).
Insofar as the getting paid part... if the risk is worth it make the jump to the federal side so you can (maybe) get paid if the government shuts down. No one is stopping you. If you don't like federal employees (maybe) getting paid for furlough time contact your representative who isn't negotiating ad is getting paid.

Posted by: PSDiver at October 04, 2013 06:53 PM

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