To the chagrin of many but the surprise of few, little progress has been made towards an agreement between Republicans and Democrats that would avert a government shutdown next week. While many factors play into the debate, the sticking point continues to be the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Each group blames the other for the impending shutdown: Democrats accuse the Republicans of holding the budget hostage as leverage to sabotage the health care act, while Republicans claim to be representing widespread public disapproval of Obamacare and accuse Democrats of stubbornly refusing an acceptable compromise.
Unless an eleventh hour deal is reached, the government will shut down at 12:01 Tuesday morning. The NYT notes that “more than 800,000 federal workers deemed nonessential face furloughs; millions more could be working without paychecks.” This will be the first time in seventeen years that such a shutdown has occurred.
Maybe it’s just because this might be a large impediment to a planned Yellowstone excursion next month, but I feel like allowing the government to shut down is a terrifically bad idea–one that will not further the purposes of either party. Is it unreasonable for us to expect our elected officials to be able to pass a budget, regardless of partisan bickering over legislature? The furlough of nearly a million Americans, combined with the shutdown of many government services, is going to have an immediate impact on people’s lives. I suspect that many citizens aren’t going to be full of gratitude to the Republicans/Democrats for taking a hard-line stance; rather, they’re going to be questioning our collective wisdom in electing representatives that apparently can’t manage to run our government.