As of now, it looks like the US federal government will shut down on Saturday night because Congress can’t agree on how to pass a funding bill.
Well, actually it’s the Republicans in the House of Representatives that can’t seem to agree on how to solve this. The Senate is working on a bipartisan bill to keep things running, but the House Republicans can’t seem to agree among themselves on much of anything. Kevin McCarthy, Speaker of the House, has said some of the holdouts seem bent on “burning the place down.”
We often hear that American government is broken, but in reality our government works incredibly efficiently. The mail is delivered in a reasonable time, our food and drug supplies are safe, Social Security and Medicare programs work effectively, our military is well trained and equipped, and planes land safely.
It’s the legislative process that’s broken. Too many people—on the local, state, and federal levels—seem bent on airing a personal grievance or stopping someone else from making something happen because they don’t agree with what the other person says or believes. Adults know life is a series of compromises—throwing a tantrum because you can’t get everything you want is for small children.
Meanwhile, thousands of government employees will be furloughed as of Sunday. Others—including air traffic controllers, the TSA, the border patrol, and the military—are considered essential workers and will be forced to work without pay until this is resolved. Is that fair to them?
Scott McNealy, former CEO of Sun Microsystems, had a great saying: Agree and commit, disagree and commit, or get the hell out of the way.
Burning the place down doesn’t help anyone. If you can work together with others to get a compromise, that’s preferable. If not, get out of the way and let those who are adult enough to work with others do what they were elected to do.
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