The U.S. 'shutdown' threat

The U.S. 'shutdown' threat

February 19th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

Members of Congress are supposed to be intelligent, mature, reasonable, responsible men and women-although political partisanship often makes us wonder. One example of that partisanship is on display in Congress now.

The federal government spends too much-surprised?-and is expected to run out of authorized money for most federal agencies in the next few weeks.

Republicans have proposed a bill that would keep government running through Sept. 30 while cutting spending by $61 billion. But Democrats oppose the cuts.

Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner said: "Read my lips. We're going to cut spending."

But Democrats are threatening to blame Republicans for a government "shutdown" if higher spending is not authorized.

We already have a national debt of more than $14 trillion.

Republicans believe voters will blame Democrats for irresponsibly spending more, while Democrats believe Republicans would be faulted for any ill effects of a possible government shutdown.

In reality, a shutdown is unlikely because small, temporary spending measures can be passed to keep government running. Still, this is a serious, disgusting game of political "chicken."

What to do? With the budget deficit expected to hit $1.65 trillion this year, and few people wanting to pay higher taxes, shouldn't reasonable voters insist on spending cuts?

Well, congressional Democrats and Republicans are calculating what they believe the people's political reaction will be.

Which side do you think is right?