Friday, January 25, 2019

The Shutdown

UPDATE: Of course, as this goes out, Congress and the President have reached a deal to temporarily end the shut down, a delay of three weeks to continue to negotiate for border wall funding.  I have my doubts that any such deal will be reached by February 15, but am glad for the federal workers to at least start receiving pay and hopefully back pay in the interim.  The sentiment regarding the movement discussed below remains.


We are now in day 35 of the longest United States government shutdown in history, with no clear end in sight.  I fear we've reached a point of no return.  A point where everyone loses regardless of whatever deal may eventually be made to reopen the government.  If Trump gets his way on the wall, what we have shown is that one party can take the nation hostage and refuse concessions until they get their way.  Literally a toddler throwing a temper tantrum until they get their way.  And yet, if the Democrats cannot come up with a deal that will be acceptable, they will still shoulder part of the blame.

We've seen this happen before, though.  I wrote the following at the close of the previous shut down in 2013, where the Republicans tried to push for the rollback of the Affordable Care Act.  At that time, the ACA had been in place for three years and the first exchanges were opening; the other provisions of the bill were finally nearing their implementation.  I think it still rings true.

"So the government has reopened and we've all lost. There are no winners in this and the victories are only pyrrhic. We've learned that a handful of Republicans can mistake sour grapes for principles and hold the nation hostage until they get their way. That the remainder of the Republican Party is too concerned about making sure they do not jeopardize their chances of being reelected that they literally do nothing. And that a finally united Democratic Party will resort to inflicting as much pain as possible on the American people (instead of the Republicans) in order to force the opposition to do their job. Dirty politics at its finest. The problem with political brinkmanship is that the stakes always get higher the next time. I'm done with all of them and am ready to begin actively campaigning to make sure that NONE of them will be reelected."
from Facebook, October 17, 2013

So far, the stalemate is hurting Trump's approval ratings the worst.  The majority of Americans are blaming Trump for the shutdown, though his base is sticking with him. Regardless though of political impact, the economic impact will have a lasting impact.  It is already having more than twice the negative impact than previously estimated, with economic growth reducing 0.13 points every week versus the previously estimated 0.1 points every two weeks.  There remain 800,000 federal employees going without pay for now close to a month.  Ten percent of TSA agents called out Sunday, not working without pay, increasing wait times and leading some airports to shutter terminals in response.  This doesn't even begin to account for the potential impact that we cannot even begin to fathom. What is slipping through the TSA, the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Agriculture Departments e-Verify system, the FBI or the Federal Aviation Administration with its 2,220 aviation safety inspectors furloughed? Like the govteach,  I fear there is going to be a disaster on some significant level tied to this shutdown.

As I was in 2013, I'm fed up with all of them.  To that end, I want to start a movement. A re-movement.  Regarding a movement or remove-ment of the people in charge. A pledge to vote out of office every person holding it.  To vote out every incumbent, regardless of party affiliation.  To remind them where the power lies.  Within six years, we could completely change the face of the government, at every level.   Maybe then Congress, in particular, would get serious about term limits.

I've got the domain, so watch for more details on the cause and the pledge.

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