Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Commentary on the U.S. Budget Crisis

(NVT) - I haven't spent a great deal of time commenting on political issues in the United States, but now I feel is the appropriate time.

At the end of the day on Friday, the United States government will, for intents and purposes shut its doors because it has run out of money.

If this is allowed to happen it would be tragic for over 1,000,000 Americans.

It is estimated that approximately 800,000 government employees will be furloughed and unless Congress authorizes retroactive payments, this forced time off will go unpaid.

Our brave military personnel will only be paid through April 8th.  After this date, our military will go without pay, this includes those currently deployed in war zones.

The National Park Service sites and Smithsonian Institution will be closed.

The National Institutes of Health will stop accepting new patients and clinical trials will be suspended.

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) will suspend the review of environmental impact studies, putting crucial energy projects on hold.

The Internal Revenue Service will stop processing our paper filed federal tax returns at a time when those receiving a refund can most use it.

What is likely to happen to the furloughed employees is that they will be asked to come to work without pay.

I find this situation to be completely distasteful.  American workers, regardless of whether they are civil servants or not, being asked to come to work without pay is unacceptable.

Our President and Congress seem to still be quite far from reaching a budget deal to keep our government operating and working for the people with the deadline fast approaching.  This is yet again another example of petty infighting between our two parties preventing our government from getting anything constructive done.

Again, we are allowing philosophical differences to prevent us from reaching a compromise on an important issue.  The left wing doesn't want to compromise on its social programs, while the Tea Party conservatives, say, let the government shut down.  In my opinion, neither response is acceptable that this crucial moment.

There is a time and a place for tackling the bigger issues of cutting our federal deficit, reducing unemployment, creating jobs, trimming the fat from our social programs, and redefining our government, however this is not that time.

Our politicians need to return to the art of honest debate.  This is something that seems to have been lost over the past decade and a half or more.  They have allowed extreme political views pushed by various lobbying groups, instead of the desires of their constituents, to dominate the political landscape, and the result is our inability to fund our own government at a time when the American people need it most.

When will we demand that our elected officials act in our best interest instead of their own interests or the interest of their political party?

Only time will tell...