Now Open for Business: The United States of America

I woke up at 5:15 this morning and frantically checked my phone. Would the government be open? Will soldiers and CIA agents fighting three wars (one illegal) get paid? Will the EPA be able to regulate carbon? I didn’t get up at 5:15 to see if any of this was the case, btw, but that’s how it happened.

It turns out that the “Adult Conversation” that everyone wants to have finally got started. No shutdown, no catastrophe, no big deal. I’m more than thrilled that all parties chose the interests of our country over the interests of their party and their image.  The Democrats had a lot to gain from a shutdown, and i’m a little bit sad for them that they didn’t get to score some huge points for finally sticking to their guns.  Since there was no shutdown, and the Republicans were going to lose if there was one, it’s fair to say that they “won,” but the real winners are all of the government employees who will get paid and will go to work on Monday. A policy win for the country is much more important now than a political victory for the Democrats; granted, the dems haven’t had a win in a while, but the country has been losing for about a year.

The idea of a shutdown over $38 billion (roughly 2% of the federal budget) is absolutely ridiculous.  I mean, come on! NPR’s take from the feds is 20 times that!!!! (or so we think) The shutdown in 1995 was over a spending cut of much larger proportions, and took place during peacetime and a relatively healthy economy.  If a near-shutdown is what it takes to get through $38 billion of cuts for the rest of 2011, i’m terrified of what’s going to happen when we start talking about 2012 and Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity.”

For now, we have averted disaster and, very slightly, have shown that both sides can give a little for the betterment of the nation.