The United State’s government is on the verge of a shutdown. That sounds ominous.
After all, everything would grind to a halt or be severely slowed down if Congress doesn’t agree to increase the United States’ capacity to borrow money to pay its bills.
Individuals would have their lives turned upside down — including about 800,000 workers cut from the federal payroll.
Taken to its logical conclusion, the de facto pay cuts to federal workers would reduce spending across the nation hurting private businesses. State and local tax collections would decline.
Yet, few are panicked. Most are hardly concerned.
Why? We’ve all seen this partisan nonsense before and few believe there will be any lasting — or even short-term — consequences.
For example, the threat of not paying federal workers when they aren’t working is viewed by most as empty.
While there is no law requiring that employees be compensated if they are ordered off the job, Congress has in the past voted to reimburse their losses once shutdowns ended.
The lack of serious consequences for individuals and the nation as a whole is why we are once again seeing having this showdown between the paper tigers in Congress.
Maybe some suffering years ago would have served as a catalyst for action — like the punch in the nose that stirs a prize fighter.
Pain the past would likely cause federal workers and many, many others to now protest the selfish and shortsighted way the Republicans and Democrats are acting.
Those on the hard right or hard left are at the center of the problem. Republicans elected from ultraconservative districts are praised for taking a hard stand on cuts to social programs — the deeper the better. On the other side of the political aisle, Democrats elected from super liberal districts are being rewarded for wanting to cut defense while boosting social spending.
Since nothing really happens, the vast political center is frustrated but not moved to action.
This can’t continue. Sooner or later this will lead to real hardships for families. Yes, it would be very unfair to hard working federal employees and others — But using people as political pawn usually results in injustice.
Lawmakers need to get serious about reaching a workable plan that will reduce deficit spending and put the nation on a path to financial stability.