Furlough Follies: A Sequel

For the second time in 17 years, the United States has become the laughingstock of the world. Some 800,000 workers have been furloughed without pay, forcing many to scramble to find ways to pay their bills and purchase food. Landmarks including the Statue of Liberty, the Liberty Bell and the Washington Monument have been closed to the public. So have national parks such as Yosemite and parts of the Grand Canyon, as well as agencies including NASA and the EPA.

All because our elected officials can’t come to an agreement on the future of Obamacare.

After the last similar fiasco — in 1995 — it was assumed that politicians were convinced of the folly of ever again powering down the world’s most powerful government. Apparently, with the passage of time, the power brokers on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue have forgotten the disastrous results caused by their actions — or, rather, inaction.

Shutdowns don’t save money — they cost millions. The effects ripple through the economy as furloughed workers who don’t get paid will buy less, creating a widespread domino effect. Federal contractors, businesses that serve visitors to national parks and industries that must work with federal inspectors will also be harmed. And America will lose credibility abroad.

There is enough blame to be shared on both sides of the aisle. By re-electing both Obama and the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, the American electorate sent a mixed message regarding the direction they wish the country to be steered. But that is no excuse for the reckless, childish behavior being exhibited by our elected officials.

The complex relationship between the executive and legislative branches of government is based on the premise of genuine negotiations and fair compromises.

The American people deserve better than politicians putting their egos and stubborn insistence to score a victory before the real needs of their constituents.

The Democrats and Republicans responsible for this disaster should immediately find a way to crawl out of the hole they created, and stop drawing their own paychecks until the 800,000 furloughed workers get paid as well.