I blame every single politician in Washington, DC, for this debacle. But I am really frustrated with the Republicans for allowing a small radical minority to hold them (and by extension all of us) hostage, and by that I mean the Tea Party. Apparently they are chanting, "Shut it down!" as if the federal budget is an enormous game of chicken.
Here's an oxymoron: federal worker.
The overwhelming majority of federal employees are not fat leaches who chuckle amongst themselves about how they are really screwing the American taxpayer. My great-grandfather worked for the Department of Agriculture. My grandfather worked for the Department of Labor. My father worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs. My husband works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which is part of the Department of Commerce. I have family and friends at the National Institute of Health, Department of Justice, Social Security, Census, Department of Defense, Army, Navy, defense contractors... Overpaid? Hardly. The lawyers and doctors and scientists and executives could all do much better if they went over to the private sector. Instead they choose to spend their careers dedicated to serving their country.
And when the government shuts down, they will all be furloughed. No work and no pay in the middle of an economic crisis. In Maryland alone that's 250,000 people. As the President stated last night:
"800,000 federal workers and their families impacted; millions of people who are reliant on government services not getting those services -- businesses, farmers, veterans; and finally, overall impact on the economy that could end up severely hampering our recovery and our ability to put people back to work."
Also government agency websites will be unavailable. The national parks, Smithsonian museums, and the National Zoo will shut their doors. Tax returns will not be processed. Pay to our servicemen and women will be delayed. The list goes on and on.
Robb and I are nervous about what's going to happen. We were told that his department will be made "essential personnel" for two weeks, but it hasn't gone through yet. If they remain non-essential, then they begin the cumbersome and expensive process of pulling all of their survey teams and equipment out of the field. Let's hope there's no shutdown.