03 October 2013

American Government Shutdown and Responsibility

Sub Tuum.

UPDATE: Since this article, I have learned that some members of Congress are either refusing pay or donating it to charity during the shutdown period. Here is an article with a list

Everyone surely is aware that the U.S. government has partly shut down because Congress failed to pass a spending bill. Around 800,000 federal employees who were deemed "non-essential" are on unpaid furlough until the matter is resolved. This is a significant financial hit to these federal civil servants. Some are left wondering whether or not they will be able to pay their bills and take care of their families. Members of Congress, not surprisingly, do not share in this financial sacrifice and continue to be paid. It would have made far more of a statement if Congress had stopped their own pay in solidarity with the furloughed federal employees while continuing to do their public duty. 

This whole sad episode leaves me continuing to question whether the majority of public officials in Washington have the common good at heart. This is an essential trait for those who hold the public trust. It seems to be sorely lacking. Lines have been drawn, and there does not appear to be much interest in reasonable compromise. "Do it my way, or else" is not compromise. Compromise consists of both sides giving and taking, not one side giving and the other taking. Stubbornness and pride led to the clock running out and many people temporarily out of work. Then, through the assistance of the media, it has all been politicized in the extreme. Hopefully when this is all over and the dust settles, certain government officials will have learned a valuable lesson. If not, then perhaps it is time for them to resign.