A government shutdown, in no short words, should not fucking happen, at least not for a prolonged period of time; certainly not during an economic crisis where jobs are hard to find and the government isn’t making it much easier to find them. And you know who wants to do that anyway? Well, who else but the party that has eyes only for power and money at the expense of everyone else; Ayn Rand’s dream come true: the Republican Party.
Fuck me. Seriously. The exact same thing happened in Canadian Parliament earlier this month: the Conservative minority government brought their budget for a vote, and the Opposition blocked it. But do you want to know what the smart thing was? Instead of causing a government shutdown where ‘non-essential services’ — the FDA is included, as is the National Park Service, as are the civic services (garbage collection, parking enforcement, etc.) of the city of Washington, D.C. — are halted, with workers put on furlough (and in the case of the current threatened shutdown, it is unknown whether workers on furlough will be paid…though the Congresspeople who caused this will, surprise surprise) for an indefinite amount of time, what happened was that the government was forced to dissolve and an election is being held.
Now why couldn’t the United States have adopted this course of action? It’s a fundamental part of Canadian and British parliamentary politics — the vote of confidence in the government. If the budget bill (or any other motion of confidence) does not pass, the government is considered to have lost the confidence of the legislative house and thus an election is called to see if the people have likewise lost confidence.
At least, in countries that observe this it is. In the United States, a failed budget simply means time to stall and manufacture propaganda, and now another means for the Republicans to take up their steady, childish whine of “I WANT THAT! IT’S MINE! I HAVE LOTS ALREADY, SO I DESERVE IT MORE THAN YOU!” and twist this to blame the Democrats for their own bullshit.
How can a nation be such a great power and yet so collectively stupid…