Congress Is Playing Crisis Games Again
It’s that time of year again when the weather is cooler, summer passes the torch to autumn, football fans become … fanatics, and the federal government shuts down again. As a relatively new federal employee in the 1980s, I remember shutdowns. What did that mean? Terminology from the government said, “close down non-essential operations, furlough non-essential workers, and only retain essential employees in departments covering the safety of human life or protection of property.”
The hyphenated word “non-essential” did a number on many of us! If any federal operations, workers, or employees really were non-essential, then why were we there? Scary! Until hearing these words I had thought the work my colleagues and I were doing was not only essential, but good, profitable, and necessary for Americans’ welfare.
Government shutdowns are nothing but politics. Nobody has been hurt during the filming of the latest sequel “Government threatens shutdown again.” Nevertheless, politicians rarely waste crises that give them more authority or power.
For example, during a press conference in February 2011, President Obama answered a question about a looming shutdown. In part of his answer he said, “We’ve got to be careful. Again, let’s use a scalpel; let’s not use a machete. And if we do that, there should be no reason at all for a government shutdown. And I think people should be careful about being too loose in terms of talking about a government shutdown, because this has — this is not an abstraction. People don’t get their Social Security checks. They don’t get their veterans payments. Basic functions shut down. And it — that, also, would have an adverse effect on our economic recovery. It would be destabilizing at a time when, I think, everybody is hopeful that we can start growing this economy quicker.”
At the time people were shocked! Was this really true? No Social Security checks or veterans payments? Many folks opined the government should begin a bit higher on the food chain if it was going to stop sending checks. Let’s start with Congress and White House paychecks. Needless to say, every recipient received his/her Social Security check and veteran’s payment. No federal workers lost any income.
Didn’t Rahm Emanuel say, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” We’ve witnessed plenty of crises during COVID-19, and government will continue not to waste COVID-19 crises in the coming months.
Booster vaccines are already being pushed in nearly every media venue, though real scientific research has shown the vaccines did not fulfill the promises, or lies, from the government. Mask mandates are back, though paper masks are useless against preventing the spread of viruses like COVID-19. The problem is not so much that the government and complicit media lie and mislead the public. The problem is that the public believes the government and the media that censors alternative reports.
A pending government shutdown will be a crisis point at least until the end of September. If the two parties fail to agree on the budget, we’ll see continuing resolutions “to keep the government going.” It’s just another game politicians play in Washington. In the meantime prices of goods and services including gasoline continue to rise precipitously.
Daniel L. Gardner is a columnist who lives in Starkville, MS.