Last week, in the final minutes just before those clowns in Congress shut down the government, somebody decided to cobble together a bill that would at least pay the members of the military.
That was a good idea, since it's usually not a wise move to anger people who have tanks and thermonuclear weapons readily available.
Over the weekend, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel took a very creative approach and decided that pretty much all of the DoD civilian employees could be considered part of the "critical support" of the military, including and especially those that work with military family and morale/welfare programs. Some people objected to his interpretation of the vaguely written last-minute law, but I think Hagel should be applauded.
Congress also is apparently looking ahead and assuming that some day, some how, they'll get the government moving again. They've already approved a bill so that when the government resumes operations the 800,000 federal workers they turned out on the streets last week will be given back pay to cover the time they missed. That's nice and it's a good thing. It means those people will know that some day they'll be able to get caught up on the mortgage payments they couldn't make this month.
But only Congress could think this was an efficient way to smooth over shutting the government down. In fact, it was a perfect "government" answer to the crisis. Think about it. Congress just agreed to pay people for work they aren't doing. And if they're going to be paying them for it, why not let them DO the work?
No, it's more important to shut everything down on principle.
So despite (eventually) paying people for work they're not doing, we also get a lot of services we pay taxes for cut off. Only Congress could come up with this political equivalent of a Rube Goldberg invention to solve our problems.
One pundit suggested, and I think this has a lot of merit, that the government should give us a tax rebate for services we've paid for but aren't getting.
Meanwhile, around the globe, we're being laughed at. That's one way to get respect and improve our standing with other nations. Have them laugh at us. Good job, Congress.
Furthermore, if they actually take this John-Paul Sartre farce to the limit and default on paying our bills, Congress could potentially trigger a worldwide depression. World leaders around the planet are genuinely worried about that and already turning to nations like Germany, China and Russia to hopefully fix the problem and fill the void the U.S. would leave. Maybe, rather than pegging all the world's currency to the U.S. dollar, as is done today, we'll be pegging ours to the deutschmark, yen or ruble.
Our standing all around the world is plummeting. Add that to the mishmashed mush that is the president's foreign policy and increasingly nobody is feeling comfortable trusting us or dealing with us.
Our dysfunctional government isn't just a short-term circus freak show, it's a long-term disaster.
-- Kelly Everitt