Days of the living dead

In the hallowed halls of the Capitol this Halloween, you may see a few of the “walking dead.”

Sure, in reality, they are merely senators, representatives, and government officials. But today, they also appear more dead than alive. (Symbolically, at least.) And have that glassy, undead look in their eyes. After all, someone has to bear the brunt of taxpayer fury in the wake of the government shutdown.

In fact, in a recent public survey, Congress had just an 8 percent approval rating. And those are some ghastly numbers, even for Congress!

In a survey of 502 voters, witches, zombies, and even mothers-in-law had higher approval ratings than Congress. The IRS even had a higher rating than Congress. And that’s really saying something.

Take heart though, Congress still ranked above Charles Manson, Vladimir Putin and Syria. It also ranked higher than Anthony Weiner, cockroaches, heroin, and the Ebola virus.

But don’t be fooled. The real boogeymen aren’t our glassy-eyed elected leaders. You know them. You can call or write them. And you can vote them out.

The real zombies this Halloween are the millions of government workers who just keep coming back. You can’t fire them. You can’t get rid of them. And they are about to take over our healthcare as well. (Assuming they can get their multi-million dollar dysfunctional website working.)

Admittedly, you can’t do much to scare lifetime government employees. Even in these uncertain times, they never have to worry about losing their jobs. Or their benefits. They don’t ever have to worry about retirement, medical coverage or disability. They don’t even have to worry about long-term health care insurance. The American taxpayers foot the bill for all of it. Yet, 99 percent of American taxpayers can’t count on any of these same benefits throughout their own lives.

No, the biggest thing government employees had to worry about was a shutdown. And as I explained earlier this month, the shutdown was little more than a sham. Just another paid vacation for most of them. In fact, furloughed workers will get back pay, as they have after every other government shutdown.

So, tonight, if you really want to scare the neighbor kids when they come to your door, dress up with a pocket protector in your coat. And hold a phonebook-sized tome of arcane rules and regulations under your arm.

When the little ghouls and goblins come to your door, don’t yell, “Trick or Treat.” Just say, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.” Those are the scariest words in the English language today.

This will probably work, except if you live in Maryland, Northern Virginia, or the District of Columbia. In those places, kids are used to seeing government employees at home during their many government holidays.

Halloween may not be an “official” government holiday. But they’ve had plenty of other holidays this fall, including the 16-day “shutdown,” for which government “workers” will be paid for doing nothing. Let me rephrase that, in addition to being paid for doing nothing as usual, they will paid for not showing up for work. Plus, some furloughed employees who immediately filed for unemployment payments during the shutdown will be able to keep those payments…as well as their back pay. Now, that’s scary.