On Friday, day four of the shutdown, it was still the same old story. The only difference may be that concern has shifted to the possibility of the United States going into default on October 17, just 13 days from now.
The Democrats, led by the no-budge team of Reid and President Obama, remained steadfast in saying there would be no concessions, period. House Republicans, on the other hand, are still demanding changes in the Affordable Care Act as a condition for funding our government's operation.
House Speaker John Boehner is secretly assuring colleagues that he will not allow the stalemate to trigger a government default. Yet he was quite vocal when he appeared before reporters on Friday and angrily responded to a comment made by an anonymous White House staffer who said the Democrats were “winning” in the funding game. Boehner, shooting from the hip, responded saying, “This isn't some damn game."
It was a crude remark, spoken in anger, yet Boehner is absolutely correct. This shutdown is not a game, no matter how one looks at it. We have about 800,000 federal employees on furlough, government agencies manned with skeleton crews, some services and sites completely closed, and if that's not bad enough, a hurricane getting ready to hit us on Sunday.
The most hurtful result of the shutdown is the impact it is having on the our citizens. The individual states are now feeling the affects of what is happening at the federal level, and the trickle-down affects of the closures have already raised their ugly heads. The closing of Head Start programs and WIC clinics comes to mind, but there's more to come. Many state programs that rely on even partial federal funding are beginning to feel the pinch.
Many people are of the opinion that this has got to stop, now. Our economy, stock market and banking system is not prepared for the consequences of a long-term shutdown, and we sure aren't ready or prepared for a government default. The Treasury Department has already warned that it would be catastrophic: "credit markets could freeze, the value of the dollar could plummet, interest rates could skyrocket, the negative spillovers could reverberate around the world."