So, imagine this: two groups of people are arguing about something. Neither side is willing to concede anything to the other side, let alone try to reach a compromise. They won’t even meet with the other group of people because they are so entrenched in their own opinions. Does this sound like what you might find on an elementary school playground? Yes, it does. It’s also what is currently happening in the government of one of the most powerful nations on the face of this Earth.
For those who don’t know, the government has somewhat “shutdown.” Because a budget was not passed on time, hundreds of thousands of government workers woke up on Oct. 1 only to find out that they could go back to sleep rather than head off to work.
So should you go grab some buddies and go looting? Not necessarily. The government has not shut down completely. Some agencies, like the TSA, are still open and operational, as well as Social Security and the military. And, of course, our representatives up on Capitol Hill will still be getting their six-figure check sent to them.
To make matters worse, the United States may have to default on its debts if the debt ceiling is not approved by the Oct. 17 deadline. The debt ceiling, for those wondering, is essentially the government allowing so much money to be taken on as debt, something that was done in 1917 so that Congress would not have to vote every time we needed to borrow money. The debt ceiling was last raised in 2011, and has been raised many times in the past. However, failure to raise the debt ceiling could erase any gains made from the recent recession and force interest rates to increase while laying more people off, all while crippling other countries’ trust in our ability to pay them back the money we borrowed. Regardless, any sane person may ask how we ever wound up in this situation in the first place. My response would be two words: “Playground Politics.”
You see, a budget was not passed because the House of Representatives, led by Republican senator Ted Cruz, passed two bills to the Senate with modifications to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as “Obamacare”. The first wanted to postpone the Act’s effects (set to take place on Jan. 1, 2014), while the second wanted to repeal the Medical Device Tax under Obamacare.
Now, I understand that some people do not support Obamacare, and the people who don’t support it have their reasons. Being an American, I respect their right to disagree with Obamacare and other proposals put forth by our elected officials. But, being a rational human being, I will not defend the actions of our elected officials as they try and hold the economy hostage by trying to completely derail a package that they may not fully understand (older relatives on Facebook, I’m looking at you).
Some people may accuse me of only attacking the GOP. However, they are not the only people responsible for this mess. On the other side of the spectrum, the Democrats, who control the Senate (and who must approve the budget bill from the House) are not giving any ground to the Republicans. They refuse to accept any modifications to Obamacare which, while may seem ideologically sound, is proving to be incredibly frustrating. While I understand many Democrats feel Obamacare is right, perhaps meeting with Republicans and finding some middle ground would be a more advisable course of action over unflinching adherence to the Act.
Regardless of your political affiliation, we can all agree on one thing: the political squabbling currently occurring on Capitol Hill is unacceptable. That our elected officials would rather see the people who voted them into office become unemployed rather than compromising with the other side is sickening. And with the debt ceiling vote looming, I can only hope that some sort of compromise is reached before we as a nation realize just how screwed we really are.