The Government Shutdown: Why We Should Be Rooting For It To End

The Government Shutdown: Why We Should Be Rooting For It To End

There are people with families that are now suffering because of what is transpiring on the Hill.

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There has been a lot of debate over what this government shut down means for many as there has been a lot of back and forth on both sides of the aisle. We need to stop and take a look at the bigger picture and ask ourselves, 'Am I really thinking of this as a concerned citizen or am I thinking strictly on my party alliance's agenda?' Now here is something that many of us haven't considered and I'm not one of the many as I've been on the other side employed by the federal government, the government is run by people. Yes, that seems like an elementary concept, but it's not the people like President Trump or Speaker Pelosi you see on the news every day. No, I'm talking about your Tom, Dick, Harry and your Sally and Jane — those who aren't in the public eye all of the time that are working and now some of which aren't getting paid.

There has been a misconception on who is and isn't getting paid, the biggest of which is our armed forces. Here's a shocker for a lot of you. Not all are getting paid. Four of the five branches: the United States Army, the United States Navy, the Air Force, and our beloved Marines are all Department of Defense or DOD for short. These four are in fact drawing a paycheck as of right now. The fifth and most often forgotten about branch the United States Coast Guard is a part of the Department of Homeland Security and our Coastie men and women in blue are not getting paid. How does this happen you ask? The Department of Homeland Security is a lot smaller than the Department of Defense and The DOH was formed after 9/11 as the specific Department for the Coast Guard and your TSA officials- yep, the folks at the airport. That said, this is also one of the first organizations to meet the challenge of not getting paid during the shutdown.

So, on the first and fifteenth government officials normally get paid. The fifteenth of this month just happened and a lot of our Guardians (the last term that I had heard them called before I got out, Semper Paratus readers and my fellow Coasties), woke up to no money from the payment offices. So yeah, they are protecting us as of right now for free. Now they have to take out loans to provide for their families when they have done nothing wrong but defend our freedoms.

I remember not so long ago when I was 21 and in the United States Coast Guard and we were on the verge of a government shutdown. I was in Ketchikan, Alaska, and we were all gathered around the televisions watching the news and eating our dinners at the enlisted club on base holding our breaths because it was last day to go before we weren't getting paid that next paycheck. We were all sitting on pins and needles hoping they would reconvene and that President Obama (at that time) would make sure they would go back to work. We luckily saw that they would. The next day we were paid.

This is something that is bigger than your opinions on the president. It is bigger than your leanings. This is about the livelihoods of those who are doing what they can to serve us and to serve our country. We need to always keep that in mind- that just because there is a shutdown, someone is affected by it in some shape, form, or fashion. This is taking a toll on people's homes, people's livelihoods, their families. I have friends with spouses and children who are now taking out loans and are being punished for something they had nothing to do with. They didn't do anything wrong but their jobs. So, we all need to consider others when we hear the words "shutdown." We need to keep those affected this go around in our thoughts and in our prayers.

This could be any of us and it is a crying shame that people who took the oath of office to protect and defend us and the Constitution of the United States have to suffer because of fighting in the house at the capitol. They deserve better because all they did was care about the country and try to do something better for someone else and now they are being done wrong. Keep them in your thoughts and in your prayers. Hopefully, this will all end soon.

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Customer Service Expert, Gary Brewster of Oneida Provides Tips for Displaying Appreciation to Your Customers

By taking a more direct and proactive approach to managing your customers, you can open up a new avenue of success for your business.

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Customer relationships are a core part of your business success. Many businesses that outperform their competitors are just more responsive in this area. By taking a more direct and proactive approach to managing your customers, you can open up a new avenue of success for your business. How can you display genuine appreciation to them? Here are tips and practices from customer service expert and accomplished entrepreneur, Gary Brewster in Oneida, Tennessee that you can adopt.

Event Sponsorship

There are many small signs of appreciation you can show to customers, but hosting an event provides significant evidence to customers that your business genuinely acknowledges and cares for their support. With these events, you can treat customers as guests - which can be a great way to elevate your relationship with them. After these events, you can follow-up with your customers, build upon that relationship, and gain additional insights into their expectations.

Customized Products and Services

Customers will be pleasantly surprised to see products specifically catered to their preferences. This shows that you do respond to their feedback and are appreciative of the information they provide. Also, you are reinforcing the fact that your business firmly puts a priority on their needs and is committed to elevating their experience. You can personalize your products through a couple of means, including offering them in certain colors, modifications, labels, and more.

Use Handwritten Notes

A handwritten note is one of the best ways to convey authenticity in your messages. When you use this medium for sending messages of appreciation to your customers, it generates a more positive response. In a world saturated with emails, social media messages, and mobile text, a handwritten letter can stand out. You can work with your team in organizing a schedule where customers are sent handwritten notes. These can especially work great for the holiday season as customers are more receptive to goodwill messages during this time.

Develop a Loyalty Program

While your business benefits form loyalty programs, they also make the customer feel more appreciated. For your most consistent customers, you are sending the message to them that their loyalty has not gone unnoticed and that you are truly grateful. When repeat business is rewarded, the long-term benefits will be valuable. Instead of merely creating a loyalty program from scratch, consider doing research and recognize specific purchasing patterns within your customer base. You can then highlight certain products they favor and make that the focal point of your loyalty program.

When it comes to maintaining a high standard of customer service, communication and goodwill are valuable. Showing appreciation to your customers is more than simply communicating with them, but also conveying a general sense of commitment to their needs. Your business stands to gain immensely by developing this unique approach to customer service. Consider adding more of these elements as you build your customer service strategy with your team.


About Gary Brewster:

Gary Brewster in Oneida, Tennessee is an entrepreneur and commercial roofing expert. Driven by building excellent relationships, he takes pride in providing the best customer service possible. As a business owner, his goals include delivering exceptional service, solving complex problems, and giving back to the community. Outside of the office, Gary enjoys spending time on his family farm with his wife, children, and grandchildren.


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The 2020 Race Is Feeling The Bern

Everything you need to know about Bernie Sanders entering the presidential race.

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This morning, February 19, 2019, Brooklyn-born Bernie Sanders announced he is running for president once again.

Unlike his run in 2016, though, Sanders now joins a crowded field of progressive candidates, one of which is Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

In Sanders's own words, this campaign is "about taking on the powerful special interests that dominate our economic and political life". Sanders went on to say that this is a "pivotal and dangerous moment in American history," and "We are running against a President who is a pathological liar, a fraud, a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe and someone who is undermining American democracy as he leads us in an authoritarian direction".

In his interview with CBS, Sanders explained that it is "absolutely imperative that Donald Trump be defeated", and described candidates whom he is running alongside as his "friends".

Regarding policy issues, his focus remains the same as in previous years, planning to focus largely on women's reproductive rights, lower prices for prescription drugs, and criminal justice reform.

Sanders is also widely recognized because of his goal of universal healthcare. His Medicare-for-all bill that was drafted in 2017 outlines the establishment of a "national health insurance program to provide comprehensive protection against the costs of health-care and health-related services". According to estimates, however, such a plan would increase federal spending by $2.5 trillion a year.

When it comes to education, Sanders plans to make preschool for all 4-year-olds free, aiming to fund this plan through tax increases on the wealthy as well as Wall Street transactions.

More widely acknowledged is his "College For All Act", which would provide $47 billion a year to states in order to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees at public colleges and universities. Additionally, the act would cut student loan interest rates nearly in half for undergrads.

In terms of social issues, Sanders is pro-choice when it comes to abortion rights and opposes policies which discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, such as Trump's push to ban transgender people from the military.

The New York Times discusses the idea that the political field of the 2020 run might leave Sanders a "victim of his own success", in that the multitude of Democratic candidates are embracing policies which Sanders championed in the last race.

"Ironically, Bernie's agenda for working families will be the Democratic Party's message in 2020, but he may not be the one leading the parade," said talk show host Bill Press.

Moreover, victories by women, minorities, and first-time candidates in the 2018 midterm elections suggest that "fresh energy" is preferred by Democrats, which potentially poses a challenge for Sanders.

Conversely, though, Sanders is also starting off with certain advantages, such as a "massive lead among low-dollar donors that is roughly equivalent to the donor base of all the other Democratic hopefuls combined".

Donald Trump responded to Sanders's announcement by saying, "First of all I think he missed his time, but... I like Bernie. He sort of would agree on trade... the problem is he doesn't know what to do about it. But I wish Bernie well."

By and large, Sanders is another strong candidate, and it will be interesting to see if he can generate the same energy and support now that he did in 2016.

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