It appears that the government shutdown will go on for a while longer. I recall standing watches in the navy, and four letters you never wanted to hear repeated were CBDR. This stands for constant bearing, decreasing range, which translated means that you are on a collision course and someone has to take action before it’s too late. And that’s what is happening now with the budget stalemate getting ready to collide with the debt ceiling.
The MDJ poll shows most in Cobb County blaming the Democrats for refusing to negotiate. Around the country it’s probably a little more even. Both sides fear that if they cave in, the other will have the stronger hand for the next three years. Not a good recipe for anyone being the first to blink. My view is that the president and the senate are on the high road in this instance.
The senate has passed a clean bill that provides for a continuing resolution to fund the government for the next 45 days or so to give both sides a chance to work out differences in the reconciliation committee. The minority faction of Republicans, but who under the Hastert rule can prevent a majority of Republicans from voting for the senate bill, which doesn’t defund ObamaCare, won’t budge. I always thought that elections matter, that in congress the majority rules, and if there is a constitutional issue, the Supreme Court decides it. Not so this time. The Republicans want to hold up funding the government through extortionate tactics instead of the process set forth in the Constitution.
I have to wonder what would happen if there was a Republican president and Democratic House, and the Democrats refused to pass a budget or continuing resolution unless the Republicans agreed to vote for a partial birth law or other law that Republicans find anathema. Actually, the answer is obvious. What’s happening today could set a very bad precedent for both sides.
I hear reactionary radio pundits bashing federal employees with the usual tripe of them being underworked and overpaid. Many of their listeners who own small and large businesses agree with these know-it-alls who never did anything for America. We only have their self-serving statements about them being great Americans and representative of American thinking. But with the shutdown a lot of small businesses are realizing that a goodly amount of their money comes directly or indirectly from people who get checks from the government. Each dollar spent has a multiplier effect of approximately four, and I doubt that any business owner checks to see where a consumer got his money. Businesses are also discovering just how much they depend on government services for their own operations. And big businesses, like defense contractors, pour a ton of money into the economy that trickles down to a lot of other folks. But not now. And it will get worse with the passage of time and countless layoffs in businesses big and small.
I do have an idea to end the crisis, though. I didn’t want to just sit back and criticize without being part of the solution. If some invisible government force could shutdown all professional and college sports, at both the stadium and media levels---a complete blackout---I would predict that both houses and the president would find a solution in under a day. Americans don’t like their sports entertainment screwed with, and no elected official who wanted to continue in office, if not live for a few more years, would fail to do what was necessary to appease the sports fans. America would be back to work and all would live happily ever after. If only it was so.