Government Shutdown is Making U.S. an Object of Ridicule


 

 

English: US Capitol, Washington DC, the seat o...
English: US Capitol, Washington DC, the seat of government for the United States Congress. Nederlands: Het Capitool, de zetel van de volksvertegenwoordiging van de Verenigde Staten. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I am appalled by what’s happening. I freely confess I don’t know what will happen if this last beyond the 17th and we go into default. It could be anything from very little happening to a worldwide economic catastrophe culminating in a decade long Depression. If I were a legislator, I like to think I would want to avoid going into default where the unknowns are so perilous. But I do not believe I can count on the intelligence or judgment of those willing to shut down the government as a form of blackmail. It was irresponsible to begin with, and it has only become less moral, less ethical and less intelligent as the days have gone by.

 

 

 

James Pilant

 

 

 

Trudy Rubin: Shutdown repercussions | Opinion | McClatchy DC

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/10/11/205106/trudy-rubin-shutdown-repercussions.html

 

 

 

 

 

How far we have come since the heady days of the 1990s, when eager civic activists from ex-communist and third-world countries looked to U.S. experts to show them how a multiparty system worked.Indeed, America\’s longtime allies are bewildered by a system where a small minority of legislators can hijack Congress. They also can\’t understand why Congress has to vote separately to authorize the borrowing of funds to pay for expenses it has already approved. Perhaps because no other modern democracy except Denmark has such a system.The commentary in friendly countries has been scathing.\”For a country that fancies itself the greatest democracy on Earth, the fact that a small band of outliers in one party can essentially shut down the federal government over a petty political brawl seems woefully undemocratic,\” Lee-Anne Goodman of Canadian Press told the Talking Points Memo blog. Le Monde columnist Alain Frachon told the New York Times that \”Washington is looking more like the Italian political system, with its permanent crises.\”David Usborne wrote in the British newspaper The Independent: \”America is indeed exceptional, at least in terms of its place in the global financial system,\” but \”in almost every other respect right now it is starting to look exceptionally silly.\” Even if a budget and debt-ceiling deal is completed in the next two weeks, he add …

 

 

 

 

 

via Trudy Rubin: Shutdown repercussions | Opinion | McClatchy DC.

 

 

 

 

 

From around the web.

 

 

 

 

 

From the web site, Newsworks.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/national-interest/item/60524

 

 

 

 

 

For instance, the BBC intoned,

“That leaders of one of the most powerful nations on earth willingly

provoked a crisis that suspends public services and decreases economic

growth is astonishing….Even in the middle of its ongoing civil war,

the Syrian government has continued to pay its bills and workers’

wages.” In western Europe, a think-tank scholar tweeted, “Next time you

blame the woes of developing nations on ‘poor governance,’ think about

how the U.S. government arrived at today.”

 

 

 

 

 

In France, the newspaper Le Monde assailed the “grotesque” shutdown, and aimed its editorial message at one of America’s founding fathers: “Jefferson, wake up! They’ve gone crazy!” In Germany, Der Spiegel Online declared, “A superpower has paralyzed itself,” and the business daily Handelsbatt depicted the Statue of Liberty in chains, capped by the headline, “The Blocked World Power.” In Spain, the El Pais newspaper marveled at America’s “suicidal madness.”

 

 

 

 

 

Granted, some of these reactions have a touch of schadenfreude,

taking pleasure in our misfortune. That’s especially true with the

French, who always love to tweak us, even while forgetting that if not

for America 69 years ago, they would’ve stayed under the Nazi heel. But

why give them an excuse to treat us as a laughingstock?

 

 

 

 

 

And the current scoffing spans the continents. In China, an

entertainer tweeted, “Chinese must be wondering – When will America

embrace real reform? How long can this system survive? Where is

America’s Gorbachev?” In China, a government-run news website said

the nation should be “on guard against spillover of irresponsible U.S.

politics.” In India, business executives told the Voice of America that

they couldn’t fathom how an advanced nation like America could allow its

government to close, and a college student in New Dehli said it was

“sad and shocking.” In the Philippines, an editorial writer asked, “How

did the world’s lone superpower come to such a sorry pass?” In Malaysia,

a news website ran the headline, “U.S. shutdown leaves the world

scratching its head,” and the story said that some Malaysians “had

trouble suppressing smirks.” And The Australian newspaper said that the shutdown “doesn’t say much for the budgetary process in the world’s largest economy.” And so on.

 

 

 

 

 

From the web site, Esquire.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/Shutdown_Blues

 

 

 

 

 

In the year of our Lord 2010, the voters of the United States elected

the worst Congress in the history of the Republic. There have been

Congresses more dilatory. There have been Congresses more irresponsible,

though not many of them. There have been lazier Congresses, more

vicious Congresses, and Congresses less capable of seeing forests for

trees. But there has never been in a single Congress — or, more

precisely, in a single House of the Congress — a more lethal combination

of political ambition, political stupidity, and political vainglory

than exists in this one, which has arranged to shut down the federal

government because it disapproves of a law passed by a previous

Congress, signed by the president, and upheld by the Supreme Court, a

law that does nothing more than extend the possibility of health

insurance to the millions of Americans who do not presently have it, a

law based on a proposal from a conservative think-tank and taken out on

the test track in Massachusetts by a Republican governor who also

happens to have been the party’s 2012 nominee for president of the

United States. That is why the government of the United States is, in

large measure, closed this morning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Increasingly, conservatives who have historically followed a “tough on crime” mantra are embracing a “smart on crime” approach that reallocates resources to move away from over-criminalization and towards more efficient, effective criminal laws. Earlier this month, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed two laws that embrace alternatives to incarceration to nonviolent drug and property offenders, and eliminate jail time for juveniles who merely misbehave. And ten bipartisan members of Congress have formed a committee devoted to over-criminalization.

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A few years ago, it was not clear whether or not America’s preoccupation with long prison sentences for even minor crimes would even be possible of change. But now, there is a definite away from such policies as “three strikes,” etc. It is one of the most historically important changes in the history of criminal justice in the United States.

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I am delighted that these policies are changing. The freed up human potential and the enormous sums of money available because of these changes will make American a better place to live.

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My poor students are getting battered by an economy where there are few jobs in a nation where last year’s college graduates owed an average of $24,000 in student loans.

Other nations do not place the burden of higher education on the students. It is a matter of public expenditure. The United States has long been the leader in college graduates worldwide and no we are fourth. I see no prospect of that getting better but only worse. Education is not a commodity. It is a public good necessary for a successful society.

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Will Rogers (19th century photo)

Image via Wikipedia

I am a big fan of the American humorist, Will Rogers. I have a first edition of one of his biographies, (Will Rogers, Ambassador of Good Will, Prince of Wit and Wisdom – P.J. O’Brien) and hope to collect a complete set of his newspaper columns.

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… Why my lord, there is dozens of different things that will help the farmer on his land, besides water, or fertilizer, either. There is the interest on the first, and second mortgages. Why don’t they introduce a bill in Congress to help the farmer by paying off his mortgages? That’s what eating him upon the farm, it’s not lack of irrigation, or lack of fertilizer – it’s abundance of interest payments; that’ s the baby that is there every minute of every day. Talk and sing about “Old Man River,” but it’s old man “interest” that keeps the farmer running to town every few days. He has to have a bookkeeper to keep a set of book to keep track of when his various Notes and Mortgage interest comes due. It’s the thought of the old mortgages that keep him awake at night.

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(The column was written in 1928 and is found on pages 134-135 of A Will Rogers Treasury, compiled by Bryan B. Sterling and Frances N. Sterling, Crown Publishing 1982)

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