Shutdown shenanigans and uncertainty effect

The budget battle in Washington may be little more than a game of high-publicity political chicken for the president and those members of Congress at the center of the fight. But it is having real-world consequences for people across the country.

As this was being written Monday afternoon, it was still unclear whether Congress would allow the government to shut down today, or whether the House and Senate would reach some agreement minutes before midnight.

And that uncertainty was clearly having an effect.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by more than 150 points when stock trading opened Monday morning, and, though it regained some of its losses through the day, it still was down substantially. This after a week of steady sliding attributed primarily to uncertainty over a possible shutdown. Other stock indices have seen similar price drops.

The uncertainty isn’t limited to stock-market investors. For example, there are the government employees who may not have known until today whether they would be working or not.

Even though it’s called a shutdown, nearly three-quarters of the federal government’s 3.3 million workers are deemed “essential” employees and will keep working, at least initially, even if there is no budget agreement, according to CNN. However, because not all federal agencies have filed contingency plans, CNN could only guess at how many workers would actually be furloughed if there is a shutdown.

Furthermore, even if federal employees are deemed essential, they could work for many weeks without a paycheck, as millions did the last time the government shut down in 1995. That one lasted 21 days, so federal workers have good reason to be anxious about how long they may have to rely on their savings if a shutdown occurs.

Businesses that depend on tourism on public lands also are understandably nervous. News from around the country shows communities and businesses near major national parks, monuments, national forests and other federal lands expect large financial losses if a prolonged government shutdown occurs.

Then there are businesses that contract with government entities, from the military to the Department of Transportation. Will their contracts be stalled? Payments delayed?

All of this might be easier to stomach if it were a one-time occurrence. But brinksmanship over continued funding of the government has become a regular event in Washington. Even if a shutdown doesn’t occur this week or it is very short, another deadline — and the opportunity for even greater uncertainty — is coming in just a few weeks when Congress must either raise the debt ceiling or allow the government to begin defaulting on its debt.

Voters tired of these repeated games should look for candidates of both parties who will vow to perform their fiduciary responsibilities in a timely manner and not foment needless uncertainty through politically manufactured budget crises.


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Kudos to the Sentinel for today’s editorial:  “Shutdown shenanigans and uncertainty effect”.

Other than its obligatory reference to President Obama as an (unwilling) participant in
those “shenanigans”, the Sentinel clearly points the finger where it belongs – at Congress.

Even more telling is the Sentinel’s inside headline—“Shutdown:  Estimated 800,000 face furloughs” – which introduces companion quotations from Democratic President Obama and Repugnican Speaker of the House John Boehner, the contents of which belie any substantive equivalency between them.

The President is obliquely referring to the extra-constitutional extortionist tactics being employed by minority “Tea Party” extremists to overturn the will of the majority.

Boehner disingenuously opines that “The American people don’t want a shutdown, and neither do I” – when he could have easily averted a shutdown by allowing a vote on a “clean” Continuing Resolution, but didn’t.

To justify Repugnican intransigence, Boehner glibly claims that the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) “is having a devastating impact” (compared to what – 800,000 furloughs?) but offers no evidence thereof.  Thus, Repugnicans continue to rely on outright lies.

Objectively, the “devastating impacts” of “ObamaCare” have been well-documented:

the ACA is already reducing health care costs and thereby extending the actuarial life of Medicare; it reduces future deficits by controlling rising Medicare costs; it will create some 2 million new jobs (mostly in health care-related fields); it reforms the health insurance industry and prohibits previous egregious abuses; and it makes affordable health insurance – and thus health care—accessible to millions of Americans.

Thus, it’s time for the Sentinel to practice what it preaches:  start exposing local voters to the truth about Repugnican “ObamaCare” lies and stop endorsing candidates—like Scott “Tea Party” Tipton, etc.—who refuse to “perform their fiduciary responsibilities in a timely manner”, and “foment needless uncertainty through politically manufactured budget crises”.

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