Neither faith nor credit

Shutdown's collateral damage further disgraces government

There have been 17 partial government shutdowns over the years, but this one feels different.

It feels much worse.

We suspect that’s for several reasons.

First, the economy was already weakened, and consumers and businesses alike were already fearful for the future under a health care law that is causing insurance premiums to skyrocket.

Obamacare also appears to be suppressing full-time jobs. Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants Inc. parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s, noted this week that the country created 833,000 part-time jobs in the first six months of this year, but only 736,000 net jobs – meaning we actually lost 97,000 full-time jobs.

That’s likely due to the fact that, once fully implemented, Obamacare disincentivizes businesses from hiring full-time workers by requiring employers of 50 or more to provide workers health insurance.

Whatever your politics,
financial guru Dave Ramsey said recently, you’re not exempt from math.

“It’s very simple,” Puzder added. “If you increase the cost of something, businesses will use less of it. If you decrease the cost, they will use more of it. So if you increase the cost of full-time employment, there will be (fewer) full-time employees. If you decrease the cost of part-time employment, you’ll have more part-time employment.”

Thus, the government slowdown is just one more drag on a sluggish economy.

And while less government spending would generally be a good thing, a sudden indiscriminate, unthinking halt to funding is not. The pain of the Republican-inspired shutdown is made worse by an Executive Branch that seems intent on punishing Americans in order to make the Republicans look as bad as possible.

Some people get that: Activists last weekend took down barriers to outdoor memorials in Washington and laid them at the foot of the White House as an act of protest.

Meanwhile, the National Park Service hasn’t just stood down; it’s also put up barriers and closed entrances to outdoor parks around the country – when it would’ve been cheaper not to.

Such unnecessary, spiteful acts on the part of our government have cost untold amounts of money for mom-and-pop businesses that cater to tourists in and around our national parks, while denying Americans the beauty and benefit of those parks. And at a time of the year when many of them are in full regalia.

Shame on this government for haughtily acting as if these lands are its own, and not ours.

The shutdown’s ripples roll far past the parks. Augusta’s 21st annual Boshears SkyFest, originally scheduled for this weekend, was postponed until next April 26-27 because the Federal Aviation Administration was unable to approve the paperwork.

Frequent Las Vegas performer Frank Sinatra once joked that his luck was so bad that he drove to the Grand Canyon and it was closed. It was such a preposterous notion that it got a great laugh. Well, it actually was closed by this government, and it’s not at all funny. One Arizona mayor told a House committee hearing Wednesday that his small town alone had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, while turning away tourists from all over the world.

The polls show it, the shutdown’s collateral damage shows it, the economy shows it, and someday the nation’s creditors may spell it out: This government is a disgrace.

With the government’s debt ceiling supposedly reached as of today, the term “full faith and credit” has been tossed around a lot.

Faith and credit? Does Washington deserve either?

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