Most of you have probably heard by now that the 35-day government shutdown is over, at least for now. Congress and the President agreed to open the government for three weeks so that government employees can get paid while our elected officials can continue to negotiate a federal budget. What you probably don’t know is that government shutdowns have not always been a thing. They didn’t exist before 1980, when Jimmy Carter’s attorney general Benjamin Civiletti wrote a legal opinion that essentially said the government did not have the authority to operate without an approved budget. Of course, the unintended consequence of this concept is that it has become a political weapon where both parties spar over some issue and threaten to withhold funding for agencies, hoping the other side will cave. Without getting into who is responsible for the longest shutdown in U.S. history (DJT), I think we can all agree that a shutdown down on even a portion of the government is a bad idea. This week, LaGuardia Airport in New York City was forced to shut down for several hours because air traffic controllers were overworked and understaffed. The head of the union for air traffic controllers Paul Rinaldi said air traffic workers were making “routine mistakes” due to high levels of stress caused by the shutdown. “The biggest toll I have right now is the human toll, the fatigue in my work environment right now where I’m seeing routine mistakes because they’re thinking about which credit cards can I consolidate up for zero interest?”. I don’t think we want to see planes falling out of the sky because of politics. This week, several Republican senators introduced a bill that would essentially end the possibility of a government shutdown. The bill is earning bipartisan support and I think it is a good idea. The United States is the only major country where partisan bickering can lead to the closure of the government. In this hyper-partisan era in America, we can expect an increasing number of government shutdowns unless we eliminate them altogether. It’s a dumb idea that needs to end.
Inflation has impacted all of us. The price of almost everything has spiked faster and harder than at any time since the 80s. Few things can obliterate a modern economy more than out-of-control inflation.
For most people, there is little upside to writing about the January 6th hearings, but as you probably know by now, I don’t worry about those things. We all must stand for something. The hearings have almost everyone taking sides before a single witness is called. Democrats believe that the events of January 6th were a calculated effort to undermine our democracy by demolishing two of the most sacred tenants of our nation, free elections, and the peaceful transition of power.
Most people consider themselves either a conservative or a liberal. I think if we forget political parties, which flip their positions on things all of the time, and instead focus on the actual definition of what it means to be a conservative and what it means to be a liberal, we might be able to temper the emotional reactions some of us have with political discourse.