For the past month, the United States Congress has wasted their time arguing about how they will allow the government to continue to borrow more money. There has been little else in the news about Congress, so it seems that the government has basically been in neutral during this period.
As if the arguments over the debt ceiling haven’t been juvenile enough, a news report today describes that the FAA will have to close down part of its operations because the Republicans and the Democrats cannot agree on whether or not to cut the operating budget of the FAA. As a result, some 4,000 FAA employees will be furloughed on Monday. But the really stupid part of this situation is that the funding for those 4,000 positions was paid for by taxes collected by the airlines while selling airline tickets. Since there is no agreement about the FAA, the airlines will no longer be required to collect about $200 million a week in taxes, which means the 4,000 employees cannot be paid.
What on earth is going on in this country? The Republicans are willing to shut down part of the FAA, the agency responsible for making it safe for everyone in this country traveling by air, because they didn’t get the exact budget cuts that they demanded? It appears the Republicans are planning the same thing for Social Security and Medicare, which is to cut these programs when they are so vital to so many people and they are not the cause of our national budget deficit.
Really, resolving the national budget crisis is not that difficult of a proposition. We can save trillions of dollars a year by not participating in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. We can stop giving billions of dollars in aid to countries like Pakistan, countries who have no use for us other than to grab the money we give them. I have no problem with giving aid to countries that are suffering from humanitarian crises, such as for the current drought conditions in Africa. But there are a lot of really needy areas within the United States that are in desperate need of financial aid. If tax dollars are going to be spent on financial aid, what’s wrong with taking some of our tax dollars and spending them on this country instead of spreading the money around the world?
A resolution as reasonable as the one I’ve described will never happen in the United States. That is because the Republicans and the Democrats are too busy playing their political games. It doesn’t leave any time for getting anything meaningful accomplished.