Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Our times

Today the Congress voted to allow the federal government to continue to function for about three more months. Congress also decided to allow the government the authority to raise enough money to continue to pay its bills for about four more months. Why was this even news? Apparently because even allowing a vote on whether the government should continue to function and pay its bills required some Herculean efforts and extraordinary events. It took around the clock meetings and around the clock news coverage. It required laying off 800,000 federal employees for a couple of weeks. It took all the leadership skills both sides could muster. It took protests on the National Mall led by some of the people who caused the shutdown, against the effects of their own actions. It took polls showing the American people overwhelmingly disapproved of Congress's failure to accomplish the most basic of its tasks. It took business and political leaders from around the world warning of the dire consequences of inaction. It took until the night before a catastrophic default was about to occur.

These days if we asked Congress to support apple pie on a bipartisan basis, that would probably be difficult. If we called for a vote on whether Monday should continue to fall the day after Sunday, we would probably get a determined faction who would try to prevent that from being decided. So I for one am just going to applaud Congress for getting this job done by substantial bipartisan majorities. Once you can get Congress to agree that the federal government should continue to do its job and pay its bills, who knows what might be possible next? 

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