Government shutdown merely a symptom

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 5, 2013

Once again, the powers that be in Washington are using the American people as pawns in their senseless political games.
Because of a dispute regarding the Affordable Care Act — legislation which has already been passed by Congress — the politicians have chosen to let the federal government shut down rather than try to hammer out some kind of agreement or find another way around the problem. The task seems like a simple one. Pass a spending bill that will allow the federal government to keep operating. It’s not as though anyone is asking them to actually pass a balanced budget. The American people long ago learned the futility of that prospect.
But instead of passing the bill, perhaps with a vow to work out their differences in the near future, America’s illustrious
legislators instead decided to
place literally thousands of “non-essential” federal employees in a kind of limbo — they are still employed and, therefore, cannot seek other work, but they are not going to get paid as long as Congress continues its childish games. Additionally, Americans who rely on governmental support such as disability may see
delays in their checks, and federal monuments and parks across
the nation are now closed to visitors.
Traditionally, such shutdowns have not lasted very long, but the last one — prompted by Republican Newt Gingrich over similar squabbling with a Democrat president — lasted 21 days. Unfortunately, that was the beginning of a trend among Congressmen to never concede and never compromise, no matter the consequences for the nation. So another lengthy shutdown may lie ahead.
In the meantime, American people, already suffering from a down economy, are left wondering how they will survive weeks or months without income.
Each side claims the other is completely in the wrong. And each has a valid argument.
But having federal employees and other American citizens suffers for the sake of semantics is both heartless and baffling.