Saturday, April 9, 2011

Job Security

So, crisis has been averted. Congress rescued us all from a government shutdown at (literally) the eleventh hour. The day has been saved, and now both parties are parading around patting themselves on the back. I am furious.

Don't get me wrong - I'm also relieved. A government shutdown might have meant a few days (weeks?) of unexpected vacation, but it also would've meant leaner or missing paychecks and would have wreaked havoc on my training and packout schedule. I am happy to avoid those unpleasant outcomes.

However, in my book those self-congratulatory members of Congress get exactly zero credit for rescuing us from a disaster of their own making. And waiting until the very last possible second meant that government agencies had to drop everything and spend the last week making contingency plans for a shutdown that never came. That's a lot of energy and man-hours wasted, resources that should have been used for their intended purpose, serving the American people. That's a lot of freaked-out government employees wondering if they'd still have a job on Monday.

Why couldn't this "historic" compromise have been made last week? Or last month? Or six months ago when the FY 2011 budget was actually due? Why does it take going to the edge of the abyss - and dragging the whole country along for the ride - to get Congress to quit grandstanding and actually govern?

And after all the sturm und drang, what do we have to show for it? A continuing resolution that will fund the government until Thursday. We STILL don't have an actual budget. The wonks are saying that the big compromises have been made and it's likely that a budget will pass next week without incident, but I won't believe it until it's done - signed, sealed, and delivered. Four more days is plenty of time to find another way to hold the country hostage to a narrow political agenda.

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