- The Washington Times - Friday, May 15, 2020

If American workers have to be out of work, furloughed, stuck at home, ordered to shutter businesses and put on the stimulus dollar and dime, all due to the coronavirus crisis — then so, too, should members of Congress: That’s the line of logic being pushed by the Tea Party Patriots.

And it’s good logic, too. Public servants shouldn’t be allowed special rights, above and beyond those of their employers — the taxpayers, the citizens, the private citizens of the United States.

Tea Party Patriots Action has launched a petition calling for a 20% pay cut — temporarily — for all federal workers, including members of Congress.

“It’s time for the DC politicians and bureaucrats to put their own skin in the game,” said TPP Action honorary chairman Jenny Beth Martin, in a statement. “If they insist on keeping most of America closed and crippling our economy, they should be willing to make sacrifices, too. There should be no special privileges for Washington in a national emergency.”

Quite right.

If America’s farmers, say, have to dump and destroy their own produce and products because the restaurants and shops they sell to are closed due to the government’s orders — then why should members of the federal government get to tisk-tisk from afar, while collecting full tax-paid salary? After all, these farmers, these shop owners, these restaurant workers are the ones padding the government’s pockets. If farmers’ sources of revenues have dried, and so on down the private sector service line of those doing business with farmers, then it’s only fair the government — which takes its share of money from these entities — should face a cut-back in collections.

It’s one thing for government to close up private sector shops due to a national emergency.

It’s another thing entirely for government to close up the private sector, dry up the private sector’s means of making money — and then turn around and demand, a la “let them eat cake”-like, full coughing up of tax dollars for public servant salaries.

These are hard times for Americans.

Tax-paid servants of the citizens need to share in these hard times personally. Not only is that fair, it’s clear messaging on who’s in charge — on who’s the boss of whom.

Plus, if tax-paid government officials suddenly see their salary levels drop by 20%, it might ignite some much-needed fires to reopen America for business.

“Changing federal salaries requires legislation,” the TPP Action petition states. “Therefore, TPP Action is sending a petition to President Trump urging him to announce his support for such legislation, and asking him to work with Congress to pass it. … If the DC politicians and bureaucrats were forced to live life the same way they now demand that American citizens live theirs, they wouldn’t demand those changes in the first place.”

That’s it, in a nutshell.

If public servants were now suffering the same as the private sector, there’s a very good chance the national economy would already be booming again — or at the least, on a path to rapid reopening.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter by clicking HERE.

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