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.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
Strong Fairmont General Hospital badly needed to serve our region
Mere minutes often matter when it comes to emergency health care.
That’s why we need a strong Fairmont General Hospital.
When patients need the services of health-care professionals, having family and friends close at hand is often essential, and their presence may even lead to a better outcome.
COLUMN: Fairmont General Hospital vital part of community
There’s nothing better than holding a newborn baby. It gives you a little feeling that not only is everything right in the world, but this perfect little human represents hope of a future where things will be better than they are today.
I had that blessed opportunity to hold that hopeful future in my arms last week when I visited my dear friend Jen and her newborn son Tristan at Fairmont General Hospital.
Putting a cost on safety issue has been culprit in 13 traffic deaths
Would you believe that an item costing just 57 cents — less than the price of a can of pop — is being cited as the culprit in 13 traffic deaths?
A simple 57-cent item.
That’s how much fixing the fatal ignition switches that General Motors installed in new automobiles would have cost, and 13 lives would probably have been saved.
TextLimit app one more step in cutting down distracted driving
Every day in the United States, nine people are killed and more than 1,000 people are injured in vehicle accidents that involve distracted drivers.
That statistic comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which goes on to say that 69 percent of U.S. drivers between the ages of 18 and 64 reported that they had talked on their cellphone while driving within the 30 days before they were surveyed.
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