Shutdown failure won't soon be forgotten
(The Tribune-Democrat, Johnstown, Pa.)
Those we pay to represent us have done it so poorly that simply expecting them to keep the government functioning – not functioning well, just functioning – seems too much to ask.
What was accomplished by a 16-day, partial government shutdown, which Standard & Poor’s estimated took $24 billion from our economy? Nothing.
The budget battle, waged over the key issues of the Affordable Care Act and raising the debt ceiling, wasn't won or lost, merely delayed. A deal struck late Wednesday solves neither.
Our congressional “leaders” managed to approve government funding only through Jan. 15. So, get ready for a holiday season full of bickering, posturing and threats of another shutdown. Maybe the Christmas spirit will spur a compromise, but it's doubtful.
These are serious issues, to be sure. The implementation of President Obama’s health care plan remains contentious. The national debt has tremendous effects on our country, its economy and financial systems all over the world.
We understand why those on each side of the political aisle were fighting. But we all have deadlines, and we expect politicians to stick to hard-and-fast dates when it's time to get a deal done. Compromise is never easy, but it’s why we elect them to their lofty posts. It’s why they make more money than most of us ever will.
The beauty of our government is that while the elected have temporary power, the people have lasting power. Election time is when we all should remember how veterans were turned away from open-air monuments; government employees were furloughed; and politicians decided after 16 days they could wait a few more months for a solution.
The shutdown wasn’t a failure by Republicans or Democrats, the tea party or the president. It was a failure by all of them.