While it is probably a just a little too early to worry about another October government shutdown, it’s probably not to early to worry, just a little, about what could happen.
Most experts say that politicians wouldn’t be stupid enough to shut down the government in which their jobs or legacies are on the line. If that is indeed what most experts think it just goes to show they don’t understand how many career politicians — despite their previous achievements, experience, education and legal backgrounds — think. Or don’t think, especially before a presidential election and especially before one where two highly unpopular (with many voters) people are the only choices.
Financial planners tell people that they should have anywhere from six months to a year’s worth of cash on hand to deal with major emergencies. What they usually leave out is how people find the six, nine or 12 months worth of money to set aside.
People who in the past argued that Congress and the White House wouldn’t be stupid enough to permit/trigger a government shutdown before an election have either stopped saying that or forgotten the last time the unthinkable happened. After a series of furloughs (in which employees were not paid because of White House-written sequestration rules), Congress, which had not done much all year, allowed another shutdown (as opposed to furlough) to take place.
While many key government operations were suspended, and non-emergency feds were forced to twiddle their thumbs doing nothing, employees eventually got paid a ton of money for doing nothing. It was a repeat of the major Clinton era (GOP-led Congress) shutdown when tens of thousands of civil servants were locked out for a couple of weeks — but with pay. Had feds, family members and local merchants known at the time that workers were going to be locked out for an extended period of time, and yet get paid, it could have caused a boom in cities — from D.C., to Houston, to Ogden, to Raleigh-Durham, to Oklahoma City that are chock full of feds. Of course we didn’t know that pattern at the time, or even during the shutdown several years ago would be repeated, so many who were shutdown spent lots of time worrying, rather than partying.
Will it happen again? Who knows. When will we know if it isn’t going to happen? Again, who knows.
But as too the question are they stupid/pig-headed enough to allow history to repeat itself?
Well, you probably do know the answer to that one.
Nearly Useless Factoid
By Michael O’Connell
Patrick Bertoletti set the world record for eating the most peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a minute on Jan. 14 2012, in East Dundee, Illinois. He consumed six sandwiches in 60 seconds.