Government shuts down; in other news . . .
Tuesday, October 01, 2013 10:00 PM
The looming shutdown of the federal government was all the talk on TV over the weekend. Guess it was a slow news time. After watching some of the news shows, I wondered if the federal government shutdown would really mean anything to anyone around here.
Frank has reported on the news, events and people of west-central Indiana for years. He began his career in journalism in 1972 in Central Illinois. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, this is Oct. 2 and we know there wasn't last minute action to pass an emergency spending bill. But on Sunday morning, I casually asked the question to 433 of my Facebook friends, "Does anybody ready care if government shuts down? Don't we want smaller government?"
I received four responses, an admittedly infinitesimal sampling. Certainly not scientific. But I thought you would like to know what people wrote on my Facebook page for all the world to read.
"Of course, we care!" wrote Susan Albrecht, member of the Crawfordsville school board and the Board of Public Works & Safety. "Whether you want a smaller government or not, we rely upon the government to provide essential services! The government is also an employer of so many."
"We need a government that remembers, we the people are the boss. Not them," wrote Chuck Billings, who lives outside Waynetown.
"Believe me, all those people waiting for the funding for their government home loans,and those waiting for the same buyers to buy their homes, the lenders wanting to stay in business, the realtors wanting to be paid, the insurance companies wanting to issue the insurance, the home centers wanting to sell new things for those homes, the people wanting a job in the home center . . . shall I go on," Patricia A. Smith of Crawfordsville, wrote. "The country serves many people in many ways. Congress is so narrow and self serving."
"I don't want to get political about this, but the ACA is already law," wrote Michael Gorham, Crawfordsville. "The House has passed it, Congress has passed it, the President has signed off on it and the high court has agreed with it. Anyone who uses bullying or blackmail tactics to argue against it after the fact is treading on precarious ground."
I also heard from Jim Eichenberger of Cincinnati, an old college friend. We were groomsmen in each other's weddings and I haven't seen him in about 30 years or heard from him in at least 15 years. The only connection he has with Montgomery County is that he knows me and he attended our wedding at Young's Chapel Christian Church 35 years ago. But he always was a good writer and able to turn a phrase.
If it's not obvious, I believe the federal government shutting down would be akin to little more than a college fraternity prank. Why? The Post Office will deliver mail, all of the city and county offices will remain open. The only "hardship" to the general public I see is that if you plan to take a fall vacation to a national park, you better wait until the spending bill is passed and that won't take too many days. It might have happened before you read this!
I did learn something from Patricia A. Smith. It will be a hardship for people trying to get federal government-backed mortgages and with the real estate situation in the shape it has been the past several years, we don't need to make things harder for home buyers.
What really bothers me is the next deadline on the horizon: Oct. 17. when the federal government will probably "bump" against the debt ceiling. If Congress and the President don't agree to raise the amount of debt the federal government can borrow by Oct. 17, the U.S. will have a difficult time paying creditors (bond holders) and operating the government, said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
The U.S. no longer has the highest credit rating and to default on payments to those holding U.S. bonds could be catastrophic.
"We don't fully understand what might happen, the dangers involved, because no Congress has ever actually threatened default," President Obama said in a Chicago Tribune report dated Friday. "But we know it would have a profound destabilizing effect on the entire economy, on the world economy, because America is the bedrock of world investment."
Isn't it about time former frat boys put on their big boy pants and start leading our country? Apparently your neighbors think so.