Self-inflicted wounds make no sense.
That, however, is how the federal government in Washington, D.C., is operating.
The government has been partially shut down since Oct. 1. Oct. 17, a day of threatened unprecedented default by the U.S. Treasury if there is no approval in an increase to the nation’s debt limit, is approaching.
Nevertheless, political gamesmanship continues to prevail.
It comes at a high cost.
U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, noted Friday that the shutdown is “doing great harm to our country.”
“In 2008 and 2009, this country went through the worst recession since World War II,” the senator said in a prepared statement. “We will probably never all agree about who or what caused it, but we know that our recovery from ‘the Great Recession’ has been slow and painful. Five years after the crash, unemployment remains at stubbornly high levels. And while our country is finally growing again, it is growing much more slowly than we would like. Our financial experts and our business leaders are telling us this is still a ‘fragile recovery’ – that the economy is still not fully healthy. They are saying that if we are not careful with our actions, a misstep could easily slip the economy back into a recession.
“A small group of people in Congress have been ignoring these warnings. They have been recklessly putting our economy at risk of a relapse. Last week they wanted a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. This week they don’t know what they want. But instead of coming to their senses, they are digging in. This only inflicts further pain on our businesses and families. Some people seem to think that manufacturing budget crises is good politics. I think they have been learning over the past two weeks that it’s not good politics. And I hope they also are realizing that it’s even worse public policy.”
Rockefeller also quoted a letter that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and 250 other business groups sent to Congress on Sept. 30:
“It is not in the best interest of the employers, employees or the American people to risk a government shutdown that will be economically disruptive and create even more uncertainties for the U.S. economy.”
How costly is the shutdown?
One that lasts between three and four week — it’s now approaching two weeks — could cost the economy about $55 billion, by the estimate of Moody’s Analytics economist Brian Kessler.
The shutdown would “reduce federal spending” by about $8 billion, which could reduce GDP growth by .8 percent annualized, according to a report released in September by Goldman Sachs.
Moody’s Analytics’ Mark Zandi pegs the amount lost in economic growth in the fourth quarter at as much as 1.4 percent.
One billion dollars a week from the pay of the roughly 800,000 federal employees is being lost from the U.S. economy.
On a personal level, these hundreds of thousands of individuals now off the job and their families are being directly affected, and needed — possibly lifesaving — work is going undone.
If there is not approval of an increase to the debt limit and the country defaults, the impact will be far greater. Another severe recession is a likely best-case scenario.
In his weekly address Saturday, President Barack Obama said, “Manufacturing crises to extract massive concessions isn’t how our democracy works, and we have to stop it. Politics is a battle of ideas, but you advance those ideas through elections and legislation – not extortion.”
We, of course, are all for political debate. It’s what makes our country special.
The chance to get rid of the Affordable Care Act ended when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it, Democrats retained control of the Senate and Obama won re-election in 2012, but even most of its supporters agree that the measure could be improved. We strongly disagree with numerous parts of Obama’s energy policy. The annual deficits are coming down, but there’s much to be done to get the country on a better financial footing.
The country can neither cut nor tax its way to prosperity. The only path — shown as recently as the 1990s — is a strong economy.
Political maneuvering that cripples economic progress is a self-inflicted wound that makes building a better United States for all impossible.
It’s time for the current folly in Washington to end — now.
Self-inflicted wounds make no sense.
Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition
Coal already has a bad name in Washington, D.C.
The whole industry got another black eye this week when Alpha Natural Resources Inc., one of the country’s largest coal producers, agreed to pay a $27.5 million fine and invest $200 million to reduce illegal water pollution in five states, including West Virginia.
Being observant, reporting suspicions can make difference for hurting children
If a child is hurting, we wouldn’t hesitate to help.
Or would we?
In a five-year span, 22,830 children were victims of some type of neglect or abuse in West Virginia. That’s an overwhelming number to think about.
Gee makes major impact and earns another term as WVU president
Let’s imagine that a graduate from West Virginia University in the early 1980s, when E. Gordon Gee was president, came back to get an extra degree now and couldn’t believe that E. Gordon Gee is “still” the president of WVU.
Effort to encourage purchase of goods produced in U.S. deserves support
The concept of encouraging the purchase of American-made products is certainly not new.
On the federal level, the Buy American Act was passed in 1933 by Congress and signed by President Herbert Hoover. It required the United States government to prefer U.S.-made products in its purchases.
‘Stop Meth, Not Meds’ backed by readers
In West Virginia, there is something referred to as “stop-sale technology” that prevents a person from going to more than one pharmacy to purchase over-the-counter medication that contains the active ingredient pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant.
It’s not an issue of stuffy noses that lawmakers were worried about when they created the system.
Even small steps play part in critical mission to reduce childhood obesity
Just two years ago, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese, meaning they had excess body weight based on their height.
It’s a troubling statistic, and one that health officials have worked diligently to reverse.
Cutting-edge heart procedure at Mon General is saving lives
“I used to think I wouldn’t live to be 50. Well, I made it to 50 and then some,” Pearl Walls said.
Walls is likely alive today and able to tell her story to the Times West Virginian because of a cutting-edge procedure performed at Monongalia General Hospital — a Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR), which was only approved for use by the FDA in 2011.
Celebrate Dr. Seuss’ many works, magic words
You know his words.
You know them well.
Funds donated to United Way make community healthier, happier, safer place
A dollar you give to the United Way of Marion County could feed a hungry family.
That dollar could protect a woman and her children from an abuser.
Or the dollar could mean that a family receives credit counseling to lift them out of overwhelming debt.
It could fund Scouting programs, where boys and girls learn lifelong lessons.
Project Launchpad puts critical concept of diversifying state economy into play
The case for diversifying the state of West Virginia’s economy is past the point of debate.
While it is our hope that coal can continue to have a role in our nation’s power-generating matrix, we’ve learned our lesson about over-dependence on a single industry. Particularly being overly dependent on an industry that, in the eyes of federal regulators, is out of fashion.
- More Opinion Headlines
- Coal industry can’t afford to give this administration and EPA more ammunition