POLITICS AND AMERICAN GOVERNMENT
There’s Madness to Their Method
Last Saturday, the United States dodged a bullet. In a month and a half, we will be facing the same situation, with all that implies, and the House is in shambles. Keven McCarthy, a Trump-supported conservative who had the temerity to talk to Democrats and pass a last-minute continuing resolution (CR), was punished by Matt Gaetz and other ultra-MAGAt (pronounced “maggot”) members of the “Freedom Caucus” by his removal from the position of Speaker of the House. Gaetz is in no position to run for the job himself. McCarthy’s Speakership was so contentious in his caucus that it required separate fifteen votes for him to secure the job. In a month and a half, when the issue of keeping the government working arises again, Republicans may still be fighting about who will replace him. They can’t rule the House. They are in too much disarray to help rule the country.
And for Matt Gaetz and the worst of the worst, a government shutdown is not a bug of American democracy — it’s a feature, and they will continue to take advantage of it. The “ultra-MAGAts”, as opposed to complicit MAGAts, want a government shutdown. They are nihilists and Putinists who want America to burn, so long as they can make a profit off it for themselves.
How did we get into this mess?
The federal fiscal year runs from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. If Congress does not agree on spending and pass a federal budget by Oct. 1, the government is forced to shut down. During a government shutdown, all federal agencies and services that are not deemed “essential” must stop. Essential services include the U.S. Postal Service, Medicare, and Social Security. The Postal Service is self-supporting. Social Security and Medicare have budgets that are beyond the reach of Congress.
“Non-essential” work, however, must pause. What is essential? In a sense the question answers itself: a budget is always a reflection of priorities. When there is no budget, we discover what the real priorities are. Many thousands of federal workers will be furloughed, government food assistance benefits delayed, and national parks closed. Air traffic controllers and TSA screeners are deemed essential workers, but those…