One and one-half billion dollars a day ain’t chump change.
According to the S&P index, the government shutdown delivered a powerful blow to the U.S. economy. By their estimates, in 16 days, $24 billion has been flushed down the drain for a completely unnecessary political stunt.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s good that the government shutdown has ended, and I’m relieved that we didn’t default on our debt. But, it isn’t something to celebrate.
Yes, we prevented an economic catastrophe that would have put a huge hole in our fragile economic recovery. But the reason we were in this mess in the first place is that the Tea Party Republicans in the House of Representatives took the government and the economy hostage for no good purpose and to no productive end.
$24 billion dollars. How many children could have been back in Head Start classes? How many seniors could have had a hot lunch through Meals on Wheels? How many scientists could have gotten their research funded? How many bridges could have been repaired and trains upgraded?
These Republicans are supposed to be the fiscal conservatives. They keep saying, “Leave the sequester in place and cut all those budgets.” They keep trying to cut funding for the things that would help all Americans build a secure future. But they are ready to flush away $24 billion on a political stunt.
So I’m relieved, but I’m also pretty angry.
We have serious problems that need to be fixed, and we have hard choices to make about taxes and spending. But I hope we never see our country flush money away like this again. Not ever.
However, don’t hold your breath. We’re likely to go through this same drill three months from now when this temporary fix is likely to be relived and the crazies will be at it again.
It’s time for the hostage taking to end. It’s time for every one of us to say, “No more.”