Reassessing the Essentials

Contact: Lance Cayko
Cell: 303.775.7406


Reassessing the Essentials

by Bonnie Pyle

On December 22, 2018 the federal government shutdown. Did you notice? Apart from the people, most of whom are considered non-essential, who were told not to come to work, it’s unlikely that you have been affected by this government shutdown.

The biggest news headlines we’ve seen concerning the situation with the government involve garbage and feces in the National Parks. As someone who has spent a lifetime exploring the backcountry of Colorado, I promise you this is nothing new, and it didn’t occur because the government shutdown and park employees are not at work. There are areas in Colorado far removed from National Parks where you can literally follow a trail of human feces and scraps of toilet paper. It’s not a government problem, it’s a people problem.

As far as the government shutdown goes, how has it impacted you? It’s likely that the majority of Americans would feel a much greater impact if their local Walmart shut down, or the Starbucks that they stop at every day before work. What if all the fast food drive-through restaurants were suddenly closed? I guarantee Americans would be screaming. We would see more than a few headlines addressing garbage in the National Parks. If the private industry that Americans depend on for their daily lives suddenly went away, what would happen? As this current government shutdown is showing us, we rarely need the federal government in our day to day lives, but we do need free enterprise, entrepreneur, and people and businesses that give us the things we rely on every day and without coercion.

With or without an open federal government, Americans persevere, we take care of ourselves and each other. If you pay attention you will see, next to the larger headlines concerning feces in the National Parks, stories of American citizens taking on the responsibilities of the furloughed federal employees. Groups of unpaid volunteers are organizing to clean up public places.

In Yellowstone, for instance, private businesses are picking up the tab, at a cost of about $7,500 a day, to groom the roads and trails so the public can still access the park. These private businesses are aware that they won’t be reimbursed by the government for their efforts, but they do the work anyway. Private guides and tours that operate in Yellowstone are still taking groups through the park. They are asking the people on the tours to clean up and pack out their trash, and people are happy to comply. What a concept!

All across the country the Libertarian party is organizing volunteers to clean up national parks and public areas. Restaurants are offering free meals to the furloughed government employees, and food pantries are opening their doors to those out of work during the shutdown.  Creditors are excusing late payments and interest free loans are available.

Meanwhile, as the private businesses and citizens look out for those affected by this record setting shutdown, the IRS is recalling a number of furloughed employees. Of course the government can stay open enough to take our money, but it can’t pay all its employees, let that sink in for a moment. The federal government can continue to collect our taxes and pay the agencies responsible for the collection, but it can’t pay the salaries of those it considers nonessential.

Perhaps it’s time to re-examine what exactly a nonessential government employee is. Perhaps it’s time to re-examine the entire concept of essential vs nonessential in government as a whole. To most everyone who works for a living, their paycheck is definitely essential. If your employer could shut down and reopen at will, withholding your pay with each closure, what would you do? Most likely start looking for another job, right? What if all the employees of this business did the same? It’s unlikely that the business would survive.

Our government, however, remains in existence, growing larger and increasing debt every day. All of our representatives continue to collect paychecks, but what exactly are they doing? It seems that the employees responsible for picking up trash in the National Parks work harder and have a more essential function.

While the federal government remains closed your taxes are still being collected, even if you aren’t receiving your regular paycheck you will still pay taxes. Walmart is open, Starbucks is open, private businesses and individuals are helping out all around the country. It’s time to reassess what is essential.

“Necessity is not an established fact, but an interpretation.”-Friedrich Nietzsche

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Bonnie is a libertarian living in Teller County, Colorado. She’s a passionate about fitness, animal rescue, and an avid outdoor adventurer.


If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Lance Cayko at 303.775.7406 or email at

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