Open the government now


Is there anything positive that has come about or is even projected to occur as a result of the current government shutdown?

Other than helping to frame more clearly how operationally dysfunctional our national leadership has become, is there any benefit to anyone from the increasingly dangerous weakening of the operations of our federal government?

Some press reports have focused on the serious economic impact of no paychecks for some 800,000 government employees. That’s certainly important. And others have focused on the ripple effects of the shutdown, such as an increasing number of TSA employees calling in “sick,” rather than being forced to work for no pay in their $17-per-hour jobs. That’s worrisome, too.
But now, we are starting to get reports of an even wider range of consequences that threaten the heartland. For example, American farmers, faced with lack of support and coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, lack crucial information for their spring planting, which could adversely affect their businesses and the nation’s food supply. We also hear about states that are rushing to pay February federal supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) benefits before money for that program runs out. And then there is the mounting strain on private food banks, local free loan societies, social service agencies and other communal services that many unpaid government workers are relying upon to help address their basic needs.

Last week, the White House doubled its estimate of damage to the economy from the shutdown, saying that it will subtract 0.1 percent from the GDP. But that number may be wrong, since those charged with developing it are another casualty of the shutdown.

Americans are starting to lose patience, as the rest of the world laughs at us. And for this we have no one to blame but our leaders. Our president’s temper tantrum over his precious wall is embarrassing, but the Democratic leadership’s own intransigence is no less cringeworthy. We could do without the entertainment of the threatened cancellation of the president’s State of the Union address, and the amusing but wholly juvenile nixing of a congressional junket. Instead, both sides should spend their time figuring out how to get our federal government back to work, even if it means massaging
some egos.

The shutdown is a gratuitous act of cruelty against Americans by their own elected officials. As both sides jockey for position and insult each other, the country suffers. We deserve better from our elected officials, and it is simply immoral for them to force the consequences of their own incompetence on federal employees who need their jobs, and on the rest of the country that is forced to grapple with unintended consequences.

The president and Congress should open the government immediately, and let America go back to work. Our esteemed leaders can then go off and insult each other on their own time.

Never miss a story.
Sign up for our newsletter.
Email Address


  1. Hey, Editorial Board,
    As we all know Federal workers will get paid for the time they didn’t work. This is purely a cash flow problem for them and an unscheduled vacation. They are the most secure class of workers in this country. If they didn’t manage to save or can’t figure out where to borrow money temporarily – this is their problem. Every day we have people who are let go from their non-government jobs and nobody feels like giving them free food or allowing them to go late on house mortgages or utility payments. So, Editorial Board, spare us this pity.
    TSA and IRS workers who refused to go to work when called should be fired and replaced with the people who would work when guaranteed to be paid later. Federal workers don’t have a right to strike.
    Besides, anybody who was subjected to taking a “random” body search knows that “random” search doesn’t help (we, Jews, saw how it is really done by a staff from ElAl – you profile people, and frisk only those who really behave suspiciously, not at random), so, we don’t need all this TSA staff we have now.
    American Farmers have been producing food before FDA existed and can predict the weather without the Federal Government. Just read Farmer’s Almanac.
    Maybe instead of mentioning “temper tantrums” and “intransigence” of democratic leaders you guys could mention what each side is trying to achieve? Again, as Jews, we are a bit more aware than the rest of the public of what walls can do. Publish some statistics – how much do we pay for the additional crime we have because of no wall, how much we pay extra for the education, medical assistance, food stamps for illegal immigrants? Let your readers decide for themselves. Do we not care about the cost? We want to be generous? OK. Somebody has to pay for all this. It seems President doesn’t want to pay and Democratic leadership does want to pay for it with our money and safety.
    Maybe it is worth fighting?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here