The US government shutdown finally came to a merciful end and the threat of a financial default by the government (of the most powerful nation in the world) is over.
[Link to the video also provided here].
It was the end to an embarrassing, unproductive, highly damaging episode where the President was effectively held hostage by a small, fringe group of loony birds who just happen to be Congressmen.
800,000 jobs impacted, $24 billion in economic losses, untold damage to US reputation at home and around the world….what exactly did the Tea Party and right wing Republicans end up accomplishing? [Actually there was something but you’d have to read to the end to find out what].
The jobs that were “shutdown” were those that were considered “non-essential” but that doesn’t mean that they were not necessary for either broad or smaller groups of citizens.
The shutdown of national parks (thereby also impacting all the businesses that relied on visitors for their livelihood) received a lot of publicity, but they were by no means the only ones affected. Here’s just a taste of the agencies where large portions of the workforce were furloughed –
- CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) – what if there had been a deadly outbreak of something?
- Department of Health and Human Services
- Department of Commerce (US Census, NOAA, NIST, ….)
- Department of Interior (all national parks)
- Department of Labor
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – we know those nutty folks don’t care about the environment!
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
- Federal Communication Commission (FCC)
- and the list just goes on and on. And on. It’s simply too depressing to think about.
There were a number of such agencies that had to furlough their workers – directly and indirectly impacting life, work, business and people.
And for what purpose?
The only, only light that I can see in all of this (and of course, there is one!), is that the overwhelming response in the country has been disgust for those who caused the shutdown. Resulting in the following. According to CBS news and I quote –
“After 16 days of a government shutdown, the Republican Party has achieved its lowest approval ratings in recorded history, the president’s health care plan is unscathed, and the GOP’s civil war still roars”.
Will this translate into votes?
Maybe. Maybe not. Otherwise, in 2016, we may just see Hillary Clinton running for President against the “new Republican Party” (aka hijacked by Tea Party) candidate, Mr. Ted Cruz. That will be more fun to watch than Obama versus Romney. For sure.
I recently read a short and witty piece called “America the Half Beautiful“. Witty because it was written by a comedian (and even more so because he happened to be British). I thought he just hit it on the nose when he said the following –
“Half of America seems to be entirely enviable: movies, books, TV, arts, liberal democratic institutions, great centers of learning and research, gay marriage, social freedoms, etc., etc.
The other half does seem to be, well, nuts”.
The only correction I would make is that much more than half is enviable; but the minority is definitely as he calls it. NUTS.
But, hey, welcome to America. We’re open for business again.