In regard to the government shutdown: The Democrats bombed it big time. If they had immediately bounced the budget bill back to the House of Representatives with the following amendments, they would have had something with which to negotiate rather than being the subject of a blatant blackmail attempt.
1. In the event of a future government shutdown caused by congressional inaction, members of Congress, for the first seven days will permanently forfeit two days pay for every day of the shutdown and thereafter, one week’s pay for every day for as long as the impasse continues.
2. Henceforth members of congress will be responsible for their own health insurance.
3. Congressional retirement will be limited to whatever Social Security benefits they have accrued, based upon their years of service.
4. Congressional paid vacation time will be limited to that of the average American worker.