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US shutdown: Flight delays caused by staff shortages (bbc.com)
430 points by pbhowmic 88 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 575 comments



Bearing in mind that ~40% of american's could not come up with $400 to cover emergencies, this is going to become more prevalent in the next few days / weeks as people will simply not be able to afford gas to get to their unpaid work. I read an article today discussing how TSA workers in HI are living in their cars in the airport parking lot as they cannot afford to commute. The FBI just cancelled its internship program due to the shutdown.

An administration official recommended that all those affected simply take out loans but unfortunately banks don't lend to people without an income nor to those who have recent delinquencies on their credit due to no income.

I feel very bad for these real people being affected by political showmanship.


I've seen too many people say, "Oh, government workers should all know this stuff happens all the time, and if they don't have months or years of savings in the bank then it's just their fault".

It's really sad that instead of being compassionate, too many are focusing on what "should" be instead of what is the reality for many people. Like you point out, the reality is that most people don't have savings. They should in theory; but life rarely lines up with should.

I too feel terrible for people being hurt by these comparatively wealthy politicians playing games with their livelihood.


When I was a kid, my dad was deciding between two engineering jobs; one for the US Department of Commerce and another in the private sector for a big aerospace contractor.

The private sector one paid more, I remember, but my mother brought up to my dad something interesting: You're less likely to get laid off, and you'll always have more job security, with the stable paycheck provided by a government job.

It's weird to think about it, but at this point in time, the United States Government may be one of the worst major employers in the country. Two missed pay periods, unstable leadership, no yearly budget, massive deficits, constantly changing its mind.


If this country was actually run like a business, the CEO would be fired by now.


In a real business, the finance department and the CEO wouldn't be locking horns over what to use company money for and it would never block payroll.


In fairness it's not really the finance department and the ceo, it's the ceo and the board locking horns. And the ceo and the board decided to shutdown the whole company until they get their little tiff ironed out. (Which, yeah, was a pretty dumb idea. But the ceo and the board are kind of known for having dumb ideas.)


This is 100% the CEO's decision. Remember, he rejected a perfectly good funding plan that was put forward by his own allies back in December, before his enemies took over the board on January 3.


The President makes budget requests to Congress before the budget committees plan and submit their appropriations bills.

The perfectly good funding plan did not include the budget requests the President made. Whether you agree with his politics or not is immaterial. It is not 100% his decision.


Right. It's the majority leader's decision to override a veto or keep putting bills on the floor. This is a multi-level catastrophe fabricated by disgusting people.


And the Congress is by no means required to give the President everything he asks for.

The perfectly good funding plan was given to Trump by his allies when they controlled both houses, it was the most favorable plan he could ever possibly get. It even had some wall funding in it. It was 100% his decision to veto it, and 100% his stupid fault for thinking that he could get more concessions from his enemies than he could from his friends, right after those enemies won the House by the largest popular vote margin in history.


I commend you for being motivated but this doesn't match the actual facts.

President Trump has not vetoed a single bill during his term of office thus far. Go look this up if you do not believe me. Please see spurcell93's sibling comment to yours in this thread.


No, he didn't, he called Paul Ryan and said "if you don't give me XYZ demands that Mitch McConnel wouldn't let me have I'll veto the bill and shut down the government" and then Ryan flopped around like a fish and then the shutdown started. It was still Trump's veto that started the whole thing, the fact that it was threatened instead of exercised makes no difference.


That's a complete fabrication.

Paul Ryan and the House passed a budget bill that included wall funding.

https://www.npr.org/2018/12/20/678602214/senate-approves-tem...

The Senate failed to pass a compatible budget bill because Democrats refused to include any funding for a wall.

> Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, of New York, pledged to continue the discussions, but said it was clear there are not enough votes to pass a spending measure that includes funding for a wall along the nation’s southern border.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/21/gove...


I think you're mostly right, so please don't take this the wrong way, but I think you might be overstating your case to say that GP's take is a complete fabrication. There were veto threats involved that led directly to the shutdown, specifically pertaining to a stop-gap that would have run till February 8th.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/12/26/trump-says-he-will-wait-to-g...


Thank you, you're right, that's important to include.

But that's the only detail of the story told above that's true.


Thank you for trying. We're in the post-facts era of journalism and most people just recite what supports their worldview.

I don't even support Trump, but I can't simply state facts anymore because they don't support the mainstream narrative. The emperor has no clothes.


In a corporation or other well designed systems there's a clear chain of authority. In the US we have two different branches that can both claim to have a mandate from the people that can get into fights. The designers of the US constitution did better than I would have with the information available to them but we've had lots of sorts of democratic republic tried since then and now we know that US style presidential systems usually end up falling apart fairly quickly. We're lucky that we had Washington as a good example of temperance and then then the weight of tradition keeping our system afloat.


And a few years after Washington we'd have the current vice president and the former secretary of the treasury engage in a duel to the death! Claiming temperance is what kept our system afloat is probably a bit of a stretch. The American political system is literally designed to be dysfunctional. This is what checks and balances are all about. One clique wants A, one clique wants B. If they can't come to a compromise then nobody gets anything. The idea was to keep the government small and avoid a tyranny of the majority.

What's really changed since then is that government has grown unimaginably larger than the forefathers ever imagined possible, let alone intended. And we've also massively increased the power of various branches. For instance, that the president alone can now unilaterally deploy our military throughout the world is just insane and arguably completely unconstitutional. In any case it completely destroys the entire system of checks and balances that our system, and country, was built and prospered upon.

I'm not entirely sure what you mean by system such as ours failing, nor that our system was kept afloat by tradition. We started a revolution against a heavily centralized mercantalistic monarchical empire to create a decentralized capitalistic democratic republic.


The problem with "nobody gets anything" is that it's unworkable in the long run and sooner or later someone decides to just ignore the rules with popular support. See How Democracies Die for a book length treatment but I believe that's an uncontroversial statement about the political science consensus.

I'm not saying it's temperance that keeps the US together (except for the first 8 years) but rather tradition. Long standing institutions tend to amass legitimacy over time.

It's not so much that we have a larger country these days as that we have ideologically distinct parties. We had real ideological distinctions between the Democractic Republicans and the Federalists in the old days and in addition to what you mention there were people considering a military coup if the election of 1800 went the wrong way. Thankfully the Federalists imploded and for a long time parties were mostly patronage machines, though you did have the pro-science, pro-religion, pro-treating other races with respect party versus the pro-freedom, pro-small government, pro-treating other religions with respect party as sort of vague ideologies. Except for the bit where they polarized over slavery and we immediately had a civil war. After progressive reforms made patronage less of an issue the two parties were both still ideologically mixed until the South defected to the Republicans and things have been polarizing ever since.

Right now we're in a situation where the most conservative Democrat in Congress is more liberal than the most liberal Republican, a situation that is basically unprecedented. I don't expect the current system to break soon, hundreds of years of tradition is pretty resilient, but if the current level of partisan divide and constitutional hardball continues it will break down eventually.


No, it really is the finance department. Boards vote on the CEO and serve as his advisors and that is certainly not the correct metaphor.

More importantly, Congress sets the budget through the House and Senate budget committees, which then draft and pass appropriations bills. This is the point in the process where we are stuck.

The President is saying "bring me budget bills that have the things I want and I won't veto them" and Congress is saying no. It's nothing new really, barely anyone knows basic civics and so people are letting their emotions drive their opinions.

Both parties here are playing games that affect peoples' lives and are both worthy of blame.


Again, I'd have to respectfully disagree here.

The US Treasury Department is most analogous to the finance department of most corporations. Which, incidentally, is also shutdown right now because the board and the ceo told them to close. (Just as an additional point of fact, the finance department of many organizations does not set departmental budgets. That's not how it works. One of the reasons they exist is to, "finance", projects. Which could involve the use of any number of financial vehicles.)


Congressional appropriations bills are exactly how projects get financed in government. All this does it make it all the more clear to me that you don't know how this process works.

You still have provided zero justification for Congress being the "board" even though it is a terrible metaphor.


Wow.

Relax guy. We can just agree to disagree. No worries.

I just thought that since the Founders' intended congress to act as a check and balance on the president it's pretty much analogous to the boards that act as a check and balance on a given ceo in your average corporate structure. It also seemed reasonable to view Treasury as the finance department.

But seriously, no worries if you see things differently. No biggie man.

You have a nice rest of your day.


Boards are very much like the parliament in a parliamentary system. Voters/shareholders elect the parliament/board who appoint the prime minister/CEO.

There just isn't a good analogy to be found with the US system because corporations don't have the same structure as the US government.


That is the point in the process where we are stuck now, but not where the sticking began a month ago. Trump had a perfectly good budget on his desk, written by his allies and passed by Republicans, and it even had wall funding in it, and he vetoed it because it wasn't enough. Then the government shut down. Then the Democrats took control.


You posted a similar fiction more than once so I'll post the same correction in both places.

The House passed a budget bill that included wall funding.

https://www.npr.org/2018/12/20/678602214/senate-approves-tem...

It never reached the President's desk because the Senate failed to pass a compatible budget bill when Democrats refused to include any funding for a wall.

> Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer, of New York, pledged to continue the discussions, but said it was clear there are not enough votes to pass a spending measure that includes funding for a wall along the nation’s southern border.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/21/gove...


The house only passed that bill because Trump called Paul Ryan personally and said he would veto the bipartisan budget that was on the table and passed by the Senate. This is no fiction, it is Trump's shutdown


Everyone knows Trump's refusing to sign a budget without wall funding, that's no secret.

The part you left out is that the Democrats blocked a bill with wall funding, even before they took over the House. Trump never "had a perfectly good budget on his desk, written by his allies and passed by Republicans".

Both parties put this issue ahead of the continued operation of the government and both are responsible for the shutdown.


Trump hasn't vetoed anything.

Neither party has "had control" in the senate for years. It takes 60 votes in the senate to pass a budget, and neither party has had that.

The situation is far more complex than you're stating it.


> In a real business, the finance department and the CEO wouldn't be locking horns over what to use company money for and it would never block payroll.

(1) Congress is more like a board of directors than a finance department.

(2) Internal issues would never be allowed to block payroll except in the most extreme cases in a normal business because there is an external actor, the government, which will impose severe consequences for that. A business operating in an environment without that external force would not be unlikely to delay payroll.


If the government was run like a business it would have merged with the Chinese government by now.

It almost certainly would have shut down half the state governments due to poor performance.

And it would have declared bankruptcy and not paid any of its workers or maintained any of its infrastructure.

There’s a reason government exists. The greatest strength of private industry is any one institution is allowed to fail, without destroying the system. The government is needed where that does not hold true. That’s why the Too Big to Fail companies are such a threat to capitalism and private industry. They break the fundamental Darwinian impulses that makes private industry such a great creator of wealth and ideas.


What's interesting about your statement is, I believe, that's one of the reasons why Trump was elected. There are a certain demographic of people who want our country to be run more like a business. These people likely thought Trump would be able to do so, given his "business acumen".

I'm not sure what the current situation says about this concept, if anything. Maybe the government is its own beast and can't be run like a business at all -- not saying that Trump was the right guy for the job, but wondering if any CEO type would be?


We see the same situation publicly play out in business whenever a large or powerful newcomer moves into an already entrenched industry--like Sony did with Hollywood, Netflix did with TV production, Amazon and Apple did with music and book distribution, etc. Maybe this is less a shock if you consider that our politicians are working for separate competing "businesses" with competing goals, instead of, as one may have assumed, for a single business that has a single set of goals.


The government could be run like a business but it never will be for two reasons. First, it can make its own rules. And second, there's no competition. If you don't like what it doesn't you can't find a competitor, unless you leave the country.

Yes, you can vote, but voting only changes so much. If you're changing CEOs and radically changing direction ever 4 or 8 years, it's not likely any large scale reform will ever go long enough to have any effects.

And as we've also heard a lot recently, the entrenched bureaucracy isn't easily or quickly reformed.


Yeah. They analogy makes no sense. They can print however much money they choose to. There's no "profit" for government.


If this country was actually run like a business with that much debt, a good CEO would reduce it in size. IMO that is exactly whats happening.


Yes, but this country is a country, and countries need continuity, and they can't provide even that. The People ought the install a strikebreaker in the White House.


If the country was run like a business, they wouldn't be in business, they would be bankrupt.

The purpose of a business it create wealth. The purpose of government is to take wealth. Government does some useful functions with the wealth it takes, but extremely inefficiently. Private enterprises which are profit motivated consistently outperform government on budget, quality and time.


The purpose of businesses is to create private wealth.

The purpose of government is to create social wealth.


It’s sad seeing people actually disagreeing with you.

The US government is $21tn in debt. 21 trillion. With a constant budget deficit.

No private entity would be ever allowed to go that far.

If the Government is still taking money out of my paycheck, it simply isn’t shut down enough.


>It’s sad seeing people actually disagreeing with you.

It's because of a high-status meme that's gone around that "Governments Aren't Households" followed by a pedantic lecture about a few dimensions where they have interesting, but not fundamental differences. And it's true: reliable, trusted governments e.g. suffer lower costs from going into debt, and are able to recapture some of the expenses. Plus, they can default in a way that's technically legal (inflate away the debt).

But none of that changes the more important, relevant similarities:

- There are limits to how quickly you can accumulate real resources to pay off debts.

- There are severe consequences to being unable to pay debts.

- There are debt levels that are dangerous to have and which prevent you from raising funds for real emergencies.

All of these are true and relevant for both governments and households.

Yes, you can debate how close you are to the breaking point, but you can't simply avoid the comparison entirely just because Governments Aren't Households.


>Plus, they can default in a way that's technically legal (inflate away the debt).

Oh yes, along with my purchasing power. Amazing.


> but extremely inefficiently

Is there a reason government is inefficient?


Sure.

First, many of the problems the government tries to solve are not problems with easy solutions. There are no businesses (that I know of, anyway) out there with the goal of providing free education to every child in a community. Or feeding and housing disabled people. And so on. THe failure of the government to perform better in these areas is sometimes referred to as "inefficiency", but what are we comparing government's performance against? Is there a baseline for how well any entity can do fighting a war on poverty?

Second, often, the government has goals fundamentally different from making money, eg in fighting and winning wars. We complain about the F35 being a bondoggle. But that's only true if you think the government's goal is to acquire a better fighter aircraft than China or Russia for as little money as possible. But that isn't exactly the government's goal. The government wants to acquire a fighter aircraft that makes winning such wars most likely -- in other words, it is maximizing the likelihood of winning wars. The cost of that maximization is clearly secondary. To a business, any expense past what you need to beat the competition looks like waste. To the government, any step you didn't take to maximize your chance of success looks like risk.

Third, the government holds itself to legal ethics standards that, inevitably, slow it down. Take government contracting. When the government lets a contract, it can't go to the obviously best qualified business and write a check. It has to advertise. How long it has to advertise for depends on the size of the contract, but it's rarely less than 90 days. It has to fairly evaluate all proposals. It gives extra points to small or minority owned businesses. It then writes a contract that is in keeping with the Federal Acquisitions Regulations (the FAR), which is a body of US Law that literally takes up an entire row on the bookshelf. Most of that law was written to protect businesses from potentially unethical government behavior, given that the government is more powerful than any business it is likely to contract with.

For instance, the interaction between the Contracting Officer's Representative (the COR - the primary liason between the government and the contractor) is strictly limited to reduce the ability of the government to ask for special favors. Violations of the contract or the law surrounding it as a result of behavior of the COR can result in the COR being personally liable, which is to say: if you, as a COR, result in either the government or the business losing money, they can come after your house and your retirement, all the ay up to the value of the losses. If the government loses a million dollars, the COR can be held liable for that amount. As a consequence, there's little incentive to streamline the way the government works with contractors, and every incentive in the world to make sure every t is crossed and every i dotted.

This list can go on and on. The ultimate reason the government is less efficient than a business is that it isn't one. It isn't solving the same problems, it isn't operating by the same rules, and it doesn't have the same incentives.


Thanks for the response. If the government is inefficient, but provides its population with their needs (healthcare, defense, etc.), does it matter?

I mean, ideally they'd strive to reduce those inefficiencies, but why does it need to be a certain level of efficient to be considered "good"?


Yep, my dad spent his entire career as first a contractor for the FAA, and later an FAA employee. Modest pay compared to private sector, but the stability balanced that out. Worked in the same place around 30 years, in a low cost of living area.

When I finally got around to getting my CS degree, I took my first job offer, in a private industry. But the first chance I got, I took a contractor job for the FAA, to chase that same stability.

Now, my dad's working for no pay, and I'm watching contractors around me getting laid off or having their hours reduced to 12 or 16 per week to stretch the leftover contract funds through the end of February. I got only a small cut myself, to 36, but the ax could come down any day. So much for stability. I'm not looking to jump ship and find a private sector dev job, but my 5 years of experience is with technologies and tools that the private industry has largely left behind, or in niches that also require domain specific skills I don't have. I feel like I'm almost having to start from scratch if I want to get my income out from under the capricious nature of modern politics. My dad on the other hand has pretty much resigned himself to accepting things as they are, since he doesn't think there's much of a market for 55yo project managers who only know about air traffic systems.

All that said, I expect a lot of contract workers in particular are going to start avoiding government contracts in the future, and considering they already don't seem to be getting much of the best and brightest, I wonder how they are going to manage to maintain any momentum in developing new technologies for air traffic safety.


[flagged]


>Why are these public jobs considered "god-given rights"? I work in the private sector. If I don't get paid, I have to find a new job. That apparently doesn't apply to public sector employees anymore. Is there some sort of immutable compact I've missed here?

You think the employees are saying - "working is my right, gosh darn it, pay or no pay?"

They work not because they feel entitled to the job but because (a) not coming in to work has been criminalized and they could go to jail, and (b) people would die if they stopped working. This isn't hyperbole - there are hundreds of organ transplant operations happening every day. The most hardy organs die in about 2 days, the most fickle need to be implanted within 6 hours of extraction. If flights stop, that's it - the patient dies. That's a single example off the top of my head.

Criminalization: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Service_Labor-Manageme...

As a final note - even if all of these folks quit their jobs today, it's not like there is an extra 2 million available positions out there, ready to absorb the new labor force.


Ah yes, all of those federal air traffic controllers that should just go and work in the lucrative private air traffic control industry.


Privatizing the airports would make them private sector employees.


Not all ATCs work at airports. What do you think will happen when the folks at New York Center stop showing up to work?


I’m sorry how does this comment help us right now? They aren’t privatized. And people aren’t getting paid.


>Instead, the employees realize the benefits are worth it and are still trying to stay.

How about we reevaluate this statement after it's all over?


A lot of people have a hard time showing empathy for others. Part of it can be due to immaturity or being overly sheltered, lack of social skills, etc. It's easy to be critical of others that make bad decisions but EVERYONE makes bad decisions, being imperfect and making mistakes is part of being human, and what might be easy for one person might not be easy for another person.


Yes. Talk about blaming the victim. We're putting 800,000 out of work for no reason and it's their fault? Give me a break.


Empathy is the crux.

You don't have to accept someones view point to have empathy for people.

You also have to remember that life is messy and complex and there is rarely a single proximate cause for anything.

I tend to regard any sentence that starts "It's their fault because <single thing>" or "It simple, you just do <single thing>" with deep suspicion.

It would be nice if life actually had simple answers once in a while though.


I don't think it is that it isn't understood that people make different lifestyle and economic decisions and we all pay for our decisions somehow no matter what they are; The sensationalism, victimization blaming, and "woe is me" that a small minority and media raise. No one is entitled to income, a job, or having others pay for their expenses. It is a "take the lump, become stronger, make a plan for now and later, accept it, move on" situation. I feel empathy but can parse the humanity from economic decisions. That said, workers should be paid during a shutdown.


> No one is entitled to income, a job, or having others pay for their expenses.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, of which the USA is a signatory, they do. Namely:

Article 22.

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23.

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.


I think you read this too quickly. It doesn't say anything about being entitled to a job. It says people have the right to work.

It's not saying the government owes you a job, but that the government can't stop you from working. There is protection against unemployment, but that does not imply the protection must be absolute because, of course, that's impossible.

It's a big difference.


I think we were tripping up over my use of "entitle" - which I simply mean as not required to receive, without first giving. So, for example, because I exist does not simply mean I am owed a job, owed income, etc. I'm getting off topic a bit from my original intent, however.


You made a moral statement:

"No one is entitled to income, a job, or having others pay for their expenses."

This can only be interpreted as a description of what you believe the values of your society to be. Of course, some people have contracts that in fact entitle them to work. But that is not what you mean. You mean that, in the abstract, society does not owe you a job, or a way to provide for yourself, or help if you need it.

The Declaration of Human Rights is also a set of moral statements. It is not law, it is a description of a fundamental set of values that the signatories agree are their own too. It does not go in the direction of "just because you exist, you are not entitled to anything". It goes in the direction of: "the point of society is to give people opportunities to life fulfilling and meaningful lives and sometimes they need help".


That might be relevant if the things enumerated in the so-called Universal Declaration of Human Rights were actually rights. Or universal. Or at least not riddled with internal contradictions and subjective qualifiers...

Article 22

> in accordance with the organization and resources of each State

So basically each State decides how serious it is about this. Apparently the organization of this State permits shutdowns and furloughs, which is enough to satisfy Article 22.

> of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality

Subjective to the point of meaninglessness, but there is plentiful evidence to support the notion that one's dignity and personal development can survive in the absence of a government job. Or any job, for that matter.

Article 23

> Everyone has the right to work

No one is being told they aren't allowed to work. The right to work does not guarantee gainful employment in your preferred field or with any specific employer.

> to free choice of employment

Neither is anyone being told they must perform any particular job; everyone is free to choose from among the positions available in the open job market. At this time that simply doesn't happen to include any government jobs, at least not if you want to get paid. There are plenty of private positions available, though.

> to just and favourable conditions of work

Subjective. Unless you're being coerced, your choice to remain is sufficient evidence for me that you consider the conditions "just and favorable" compared to your next-best alternative, which is all that anyone can reasonably expect.

> and to protection against unemployment.

Here's the first part that might actually be considered a statement of entitlement to income and/or having others pay your expenses. It would be unreasonable to expect this protection to last forever, though. It comes with the expectation that one is actively seeking new employment. "Protection against unemployment" is not UBI.

> (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

Non-discrimination does not guarantee income, a job, or paid expenses, so long as these are doled out (or not) equitably, so this part not applicable.

> (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration

There's that subjective "just and favorable" language again. No one reasonable is going to guarantee a livable income for yourself and your family merely on the basis of effort without regard for whether the work is actually productive. If you and your employer come to a voluntary agreement on the terms of your employment, that proves the resulting terms "just and favorable" enough to suit you—and no one else's opinion matters.

> and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

The conditions to make this "necessary" are not defined, so we can just say it's never necessary and ignore this clause altogether. There is always another option.


Nobody is entitled to a job. But if you work you are entitled to pay. The truly egregious thing here is all the people that are required to work without pay, preventing them from getting a different job.


They aren't really required to work [without pay]. They're allowed to quit.

They're just required to work [without being paid immediately] if they want to keep the job, with the promise that they'll be paid later.

Edit: Except for the Coast Guard, for whom the current situation really sucks.


Coast Guard aside, various federal employees are prohibited from having second jobs or looking for other work.


> They aren't really required to work. They're allowed to quit. They're just required to work if they want to keep the job

I'm not really required to breathe, but if I don't, I'll stop living.

So...yeah...that's what's known as a requirement.


Obviously I meant "work at that job" as in "work without pay", but I'll edit my post to make that clear.


No one is entitled to income, a job, or having others pay for their expenses

That is an assertion, not a statement of fact. Christian values actually teach the exact opposite, and that's why Jesus said that one cannot serve God and Mammon at the same time.


You're drawing the wrong conclusions. Christianity teaches the duties of people towards others, including people are slaves. It doesn't talk about rights, because it's smart enough to understand you can't have a right to a finite resource.

Christianity always only talks about what you need to give, and never says anything about what you need to get, including anything you get from God, which is always undeserved and only happens through His mercy and generosity.

This is even acknowledged obliquely when Christ states that we will always have the poor. By saying that we can't serve God and Mammon, He's saying that we cannot make money for money's sake, but must use it justly in the service of God.


You could say that every human being is entitled to dignity because we are all descended from Adam, who was created in the image of God. Whoever acts as if that weren't the case is a serious blasphemer.

Somewhere the Jewish Sages made that argument because someone considered the weakness in the Golden Rule: what if someone treats everyone with meanness and expects the same in return? It would make an awful society.


Sure, but any material effects of being entitled to dignity require a positive action from others.

We are still talking about the responsibilities of people to treat others in this way. I think it's much more important in some circumstances to think less of rights and to think more of responsibilities.

It would be equivalent to say you have the right to be treated with dignity by other human beings, but again this is saying other human beings have a responsibility to treat you with dignity. If other human beings didn't exist, then you couldn't be treated with dignity by them, hence it's a responsibility of them, and not something inherent to your own being.

The "inalienable rights" to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, don't require other people to do anything for you to retain those rights. It only prohibits them from doing certain things to you. It's a restriction on them, rather than a responsibility, and therefore, your right isn't contingent on them existing in the first place.

I don't think you and I are in disagreement.


We have a secular government. Your religious views do not apply.


>That is an assertion, not a statement of fact.

Pfft, according to you? Calling it an assertion suggests the statement lacks some form of support from reality. As opposed to the very clear fact that humans in the world are not entitled to income, a job, or having other pay for their expense.

Christian values having nothing to do with this and bringing religion into the mix won't help the discussion.


> No one is entitled to income, a job, or having others pay for their expenses.

So no life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness for these folks? Got it.


You can't be "entitled" to a finite resource. It's a logical contradiction. Any rights you might have can only restrict others in preventing you from trying to obtain those things.

You don't have a right to a job, but I also don't have a right to try to prevent you from getting a job.

This is obvious in the phrase "pursuit of happiness". There's no right to happiness. You can't be restricted from pursuing happiness, but there can be no guarantee you'll get it.

Similarly, you can't be restricted from trying to get a job, but there can be no guarantee you'll get it.

So, no, no one is _entitled_ to income, a job or having others pay for their expenses. If there are no jobs, or no income, or no others to pay, how can you be entitled? That's the logical contradiction.

A right isn't something that forces someone else to do something. That's the definition of slavery. If you have the right to receive something from someone, then that someone is, at least in part, your slave.

But if you have the right to pursue your own ends, no one has a right to try to stop you. These rights are restrictions on what people can do to you, not things they are forced to do for you.

They can't just walk up and kill you for no reason. They can't just lock you up, or enslave you, for no reason. They can't stop you from doing what you want to do, for no reason.

And again, the only reason is if you, in turn, are infringing on the rights of others, and even then only in way that is governed by the rule of law.

See how that works?


I used the word "entitle" - which I'm not discussing rights. Nor really, broadly applying to any group. I simply mean we're all on our own, responsible for ourselves, nothing is due anyone (not applying to federal workgroups) - but we have the capabilities and rights to pursue our personal best interest (within the law/morality)


This understanding is perfectly correct. Entitlements are not, and cannot be, rights.


This is the longest shutdown ever, so we're kinda past the "reasonable expectation" line when you're in uncharted historical waters...


In many western countries, when a government can't form a working coalition or agree on a budget, new elections are called.


American shutdowns were invented when someone realized that the Antideficiency Act probably prevents the government spending money if Congress failed to pass a budget. We could, if we wanted, amend that act to provide for an automatic continuance of funding, but we haven't.

Deadlocks like this are definitely a feature of our system that Westminster-style systems resolve differently, but shutdowns are an artifact of an old law more than the constitutional organization.

(ditto the "debt ceiling", which only exists because of a stupid statute)


Other countries have a "If we have no functioning democratic government the budget is the same as last year" clause as well as a "In the event the government can't do it's job, the civil service (when it's called that) keeps the lights on"

Continuity of government is kinda the #1 priority of government as everything else they do is subordinate to that.


> Continuity of government is kinda the #1 priority of government as everything else they do is subordinate to that.

Well, to be fair, anything that is considered "essential" for the government to do is not, by definition, shut down.

Obviously, there will be differing definitions of "essential", but the continuity is there.

That said, amending the appropriate legislation to prevent this nonsense from being necessary when branches of government are at a stand-off should be the desired goal.


Yea, and if we did the continuance bit, we'd end up always running on automatic continuance funding, because that means all the politicians can continue to not do the hard work of negotiation and compromise.

I like the 'triggers an election' thing. Puts the right pressure in the right place - if people in place can't get along and come to a reasonable compromise to keep the country working, then the people need a way to make some changes.


The government runs on continuing resolutions when they can't decide on a real budget pretty often already. It's not great, but it's way better than parties being able to hold government workers hostage over policy priorities.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continuing_resolution#List_of_...


The US system is so archaic at this point, the founding fathers never anticipated the federal government budget being this important to the country. Provisions for dealing with something like a shutdown just aren’t in the constitution other than 2/3 supermajority requirements for veto override or impeachment, which is a recipe for gridlock.

Many US states have much more sane budgeting systems and manage to run even under divided government without issue.


>a recipe for gridlock

That was the whole point of how the government of the US was designed: it's supposed to be hard to "get things done" at the federal level


Yea, because the feds were supposed to only handle post roads, the military, and free trade between the states and tariffs on international commerce.

The modern welfare state, where millions of people are immediately hurt by the federal system grinding to a halt and stopping, would have been anathema to the framers. Nevertheless by popular vote such programs have been federalized and now we have a constitution that doesn’t support their smooth operation.


> The modern welfare state, where millions of people are immediately hurt by the federal system grinding to a halt and stopping, would have been anathema to the framers.

So too would have been the dominance of corporate interests in the political system. But here we are.


So too would women, blacks, Asians, and the poor having the right to vote be anathema to them.

Why again do we really care about parsing exactly what the Founders would say about the modern world?


The United States went from a inhospitable backwoods outpost isolated from the entire developed world to the most powerful nation in the world in somewhere around 200 years. These numbers sound larger because we don't live very long but relative to the span of civilizations we are an unimaginable success. Many countries today have e.g. restaurants that predate our country by hundreds of years.

This is important for two reasons. The first is obvious - we did something very right. I don't think there's any single thing you can pinpoint as the secret sauce so I think it's very important to learn from and consider our entire system, its motivations, and rationale in a comprehensive but holistic fashion.

The second reason is perhaps even more important. Do you know what every great superpower before America has in common? They no longer exist. And in many cases not only do they no longer exist, but their former territory is in shambles. It's amazing, and disconcerting, to imagine that Spain was once a global superpower. The point of this is that it's critical to learn from the past, lest we repeat it. The stories may change, but the fundamental problems and decisions that nations face remain quite similar.


In 1910, for 266 years the Qing dynasty had ruled the most populous and, for a substantial period of time, the richest and most sophisticated country in history. Defenders of the dynasty pointed out its illustrious past and how, in the face of trying modern times, China needed to turn back to the traditions that had made it so successful for so long.

How'd that work out?


Same reason you’d want to understand the intent behind the design of a software system before you modify it. Afterwards, though, you still go ahead and modify it to meet new requirements.

Anyway, extending the franchise doesn’t really have anything to do with the prominence of the federal government, whereas the increasing power of corporations does.


The argument is that the modern software system has become so complex, worrying about what the intent of the original design is almost pointless. Say a single-user app that was originally written in assembly for PDP and has now evolved (or wrapped) into a multi-cluster, multi-zoned gRPC service - how important is the original intent when it was never designed for the current use case?


If you want to do good engineering work on a complex system, it's imperative to understand and remain laser-focused on what the system as a whole is actually trying to accomplish. The original intent is never irrelevant in that context. In fact, it's the foundation for evaluating all the subsequent decisions that resulted in "a multi-cluster, multi-zoned gRPC service".


Sure, but why do we hold the Founders in a particularly high regard? Instead of, say, countless 20th and 21st century politicians, scholars, and technocrats who have a lot more influence on the government as it exists today, most of whom who don't have views nearly as revolting as the Founders.

Who's likely to be able to bring a software system from 16.7.1 to 16.7.2? The team who built 16.7.1, or the team who wrote the pre-alpha version twenty years ago?


In many cases (including, I would argue, the current American political system), the people who wrote 16.7.1 are merely technicians without any coherent vision for long term purposes or principles. Why do we still talk about the Unix philosophy?


I follow what's happening in the craft beer world, and some brewers are up in arms due to the fact that the government has to approve labels for all beers that are sold across state lines, or else they could potentially face career ending fines. How on earth did we get from a limited federal government to one that acts as a morality police for beer labels?


That's pretty clearly interstate commerce. Not sure what approval is required, but presumably it at least covers accurate labeling of ABV.


Are craft brewers not capable of measuring ABV? Is the bureaucratic approval of a label any guarantee of a particular ABV for beer bottled using that approved label? Lots of ridiculous BS is contained within an overbroad interpretation of interstate commerce.


So we should leave those things to the states as was originally intended. The courts should never have tolerated the Federal government being allowed to do things which are not specifically enumerated in the first place.

That's where things started breaking down.

The 17th Amendment just made things worse.


As I recall, not even the military, at least not in any way like we're doing it now.


There's nothing stopping Congress from amending the Antideficiency Act or just passing a law that would provide for an automatic fallback appropriation if there's no new budget.

http://ultimatehistoryproject.com/anti-deficiency-act-histor...


Agreed, however as your link discusses there are important reasons the anti-deficiency act was passed.

A permanent fallback appropriation would remove congress’ ability to reallocate or reapportion spending without a 2/3 majority vote in both houses to override the presidential veto, something that seems unlikely in the modern party system.

Also military funding has to be reappropriated regularly under the constitution, a permanent military appropriation is unconstitutional. “To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;”


Yes, this is a feature of Westminster systems, although it's actually possible to have a change of government in that situation without having fresh elections if enough MPs "cross the floor" or a coalition flips. We're extremely close to that now in Brexit.


AFAIK - no other western country has these budget limits, if a budget doesn't pass then you continue to work from the old budget, no lack of pay etc


Interestingly that’s how the US worked too until the Carter Administration, and the decision to do it the current way is controversial. It seems like there might actually be nothing stopping us from doing it the same way right now.


Not necessarily. There are examples of stalemates in Europe when government could not be formed in years. For example in Belgium but also other countries. In those cases what would usually happen is there would be an interim government of bureaucrats / experts (university professors etc) appointed to lead the country until new election or until political parties can form some sort of a coalition.


None of these cases meant all government employees went unpaid. It’s not comparable at all.


In the US a significant portion of one of the two major political parties believes that the vast majority of the government fundamentally should not exist. Do other western countries face a similar challenge?


Tell that to the Belgians, who took 541 days to form a government.


The big difference is that in Belgium if the government can't come up with a new budget the old one remains in force. You don't have the annual circus with spending re-authorizations for projects that span multiple budget periods and for infrastructure that needs to be maintained.


That sounds like quite an improvement over our system in the U.S. This budget standoff with a month long shutdown is a disaster.


We have hit the US Constitution slavery provision at this point. Air traffic controllers could just walk.


Civilian employees can just walk. But Coast Guard uniformed personnel don't have that option, and they aren't being paid either.


Lack of compassion/empathy is a much bigger problem than we can imagine, I realize it more and more as I grow older.

If we pause for a minute and watch the words and actions of people around us (or even our own) intentionally, we can see how little empathy a lot of us have.


As I've grown older, I've come to this conclusion. It is a moral imperative to be compassionate and have empathy, to be prepared and not surprised whatsoever when those you interact with have neither, and have enough strength and resources (physically, emotionally, financially, politically) when those without are harming others and you must intervene.

You should love your fellow human, but be prepared to punch a bully in the face.


Empathy is a fairly limiting mechanism actually, it doesn't scale at all -- as they say "one death is a tragedy, million deaths is a statistic", that's how empathy works. Empathy makes people feel bad for 1 person not making ends meet because of delayed payments, but they don't feel 800k more bad because 800k people are in that situation. Using feelings to arrive at conclusions at those scales simply doesn't work.

There were studies where people felt less urge (willing to spend less on charity for example) to help 100 people out of 10000 than to help 10 people out of 20.

We should have less empathy and more reasoned compassion and we should try to consciously scale it appropriately.


The thing that really bothers me about that "They should have savings" logic, is the expectation that they should have to use them.

Yes. They should have savings. EVERYONE should have min 3 months of income in savings. No one should be expected to use it.


> EVERYONE should have min 3 months of income in savings.

It surprises me how few do though. I do. Six months or more in fact. I'm in a relatively well-paid job (senior-developer-come-local-database-export) as of course are many of the people around me, in fact some should be much better off, but there are those among them who get edgy if a mistake makes our pay late by a day because they have bills payments going out soon - they have little or no cushion or emergency fund.

The grads I can understand: they are young, they have debts from student lives that they are paying off, and even if those factors are not true/significant they aren't paid as well (they will be, we promote them fairly quickly if they show the relevant aptitude & attitude, but not yet) and they've not been working as long so haven't had the same chance to build up an emergency fund.

But people who have been working for years and have partners who have decently paid jobs too? I doubt they are paying much into a pension either. In a couple of decades they are going to have a nasty "surprise"...

Of course non of this would make a monthly paycheck or two being completely delayed a worrying experience. Even people successfully following the standard 3-month+ advice would be feeling insecure at that point.


I have coworkers like that too, guys who've been working for much longer than me (and getting paid more), without savings. We're not working at a minimum wage job, how do they even manage to spend all of that? Do they not plan on retiring one day? You can't possibly work till the day you die


> how do they even manage to spend all of that?

Oh, that part is easy. I could spend everything I have and more very quickly. It takes a little forethought and willpower (and perhaps paranoia about the future) not too!


Lifestyle inflation...

Oh, I just got a raise, a new car would be useful, or maybe I should do some upgrades around the house.

The average american is two paychecks for losing everything in their life.


In no first world country should you be afraid that your child will die because you can't pay your electric bill because you're not getting paid for a job you're forced to work.

> A Kentucky family whose main source of income was lost because of the partial government shutdown worries they will soon loose the ability to care for their 15-month-old daughter who needs special equipment to stay alive.

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2019/01/25/furloughed-fa...


Honest question: I still don't understand how the "federal workers must work during furlough" thing doesn't violate the 13th Amendment. What's the story there?


It’s not that they literally must work. It’s that they can be fired for not showing up despite going without pay. Any private employer could also try this, although it’s questionable whether or how long people would put up with it. When the government is the employer, there’s some level of confidence that at least you’ll get paid in the future, whereas with a private employer once they stop paying on time they usually are going to continue to have trouble making payroll until they fold.


IIRC, at least in the private space, you are legally obligated to "regular" paychecks.


Military personnel have to work.


Just to amplify, military personnel can be court martialed and sent to prison if they refuse to show up -- paid or unpaid.


Military is an exception to all sorts of constitutional rights.


On what level are they forced to work?

They have the freedom to go find another job no?

On some level we are all 'forced' to work, as we all need money.

To be clear, I don't disagree with you, it just detracts from your point, that's all.


I'm not US so my question about being forced to work was genuine. My understanding was that they weren't 'forced'.

I have just had a (since deleted) reply that said they wont get paid back pay if they leave? If so that does change things. Is that the case?


What's the emergency fund for, if not for loss of income?

If there is no condition under which you're expected to use it, it's just stranded money...


Typically people do not go to work while living on their emergency fund. That is why it doesn't sit well when we tell the government employees that they should be living off their hard-earned savings while they work for us for free. It's not an emergency, it's madness.

To some extent, people work for the government because of the stability. You are not going to wake up one morning to find that the United States Government is out of business, so an emergency fund seems less essential than if you were working at a startup with 3 employees.

With government work no longer being considered more stable or reliable than the private sector, the one advantage that the government has used to recruit workers and pay them less than average is gone. That means government work is going to go un-done, or they're going to have to start paying employees more to make up for the risk. That only hurts us taxpayers.


I agree about the ridiculousness of the cause of the temporary income loss. It's still an emergency for the individual/family and therefore an instance for which the emergency fund exists.


Preferably, actual emergencies, not manufactured ones. Property damage/maintenance, healthcare, travel to visit family in an emergency, money to cover expenses if evacuated due to a natural disaster, I can think of more. Certainly job loss fits into this but federal workers are not losing their jobs at this point; it's an untenable situation.


Depending on how big your company is, you might need already one month saving alone for any hickup on payment.

I'm not assuming that i will lose that money.

But yes in general if i have emergency money, its out of scope and it doesn't 'hurt' directly when i actuall have to lose it. Thats the point of it. But still when i lose it, i have to replace it later right?


Maybe a different emergency happened in early december that tanked their fund?


An emergency fund is for an actual emergency. Not a manufactured political crisis.


Part of the people saying that are, at this point, just parroting the party line from the White House, which is basically “Suck it up” and “Get a loan” respectively. Part of it seems to be a general lack of empathy, and some of it is glee from people who think that the first step to a better world is destroying the government.

All told, it’s a lack of individual capacity for thought, lack of empathy, and in many cases a true lack of imagination. Never underestimate just how far beyond the capacity of some it is to truly imagine circumstances other than their own, especially when that limited capacity makes them feel better about themselves.


the whole debate is beside the point anyway. If federal workers all magically had 5 months savings then the shutdown would just go on for 6 months. Or until it caused unbearable hardship for other groups like food stamp recipients. It's a game of chicken, the whole point is to cause a ramp up of pain and suffering until one side caves.


Food stamps run out in March which generally sets a deadline to any shutdown. If it reaches that far the side that relies on the foodstamp vote will end up being forced to agree to practically anything. Even setting pragmatic politics aside, when the food stamps run out you're likely to see urban riots, looting, and so on that would rapidly force a the same concession in any case.

I would be extremely surprised if the shutdown reached February since the closer we get to the March, the more leverage this side loses.


Not to mention, if having months of savings in the bank in case of shutdowns is a requirement for holding a government job, working for the government just got a lot less appealing.

This whole event is going to lead to long term loss of talent.


Completely agree with you. Yes you should have savings for six months or whatever that may be, but just because you should, doesn't make it right for you to engineer a situation where you put everyone who didn't into an extremely difficult situation.


I'm not trying to blame government workers and I'm definitely not defending the stalemate over the shutdown, but this kind of thing happens all the time in the private world, and people are just expected to deal with it.

Businesses go under all the time and people are laid off. It's unfortunate, but as someone who works for private companies and not the government, I've been unexpectedly laid off before, and understand that this could happen at any time (and no, I'm not really prepared for it either).

So, I feel sorry for the workers as well, but this is one of the risks you have to take to have a government job over a private one, and certainly not the only one.


> “I too feel terrible for people being hurt by these comparatively wealthy politicians playing games with their livelihood.”

It’s important to be clear that in this specific case it is literally just one singular wealthy politician inflicting this suffering.


Even ignoring compassion, you should at least be worried that events like these will make people more reluctant to work for the federal government, meaning the government will have to offer more payment to cover the risk, and thus taxpayers will have to pay more for the same services.

Edit: Or maybe not -- if the result of the 80s ATC strike is any indicator, the result will be more like "do nothing about pay, kvetch about the shortage of people willing to work for the federal government".


It's really sad that instead of being compassionate

I think it's city-to-city. Some cities are just grumpy toward people who experience misfortune. Others are not.

In one city I was in recently, the churches organized a round-robin nightly banquet for furloughed federal workers so they can get a good meal, and household supplies, and help with their basic bills each night. In Las Vegas, the city is putting on a big picnic in the main park this weekend for federal workers with free food, supplies, and support services. When I paid bills online this past weekend, almost every bank and utility web site I went to had a banner across the top reading "Affected by the federal shutdown? Let us know so we can help."

I haven't seen this everywhere, though. It depends on the type of city in which they live.


That people drawing their livelihoods from the public sector should be allowed to continue doing so is itself a controversial political position. The size of government is a campaign issue and a key difference between the parties every election cycle.


I was wondering if federal workers have an equivalent to 401k that they can take a loan from (TSP I think it is called)? Or are there a large number of affected employees that don't participate in this program?


Its very possible that if such a program does exist, the people in charge of running a program like that are currently not working.


This facility does exist but it also requires a repayment schedule to be set up. Even this assumes the system and people behind tsp.gov are actively processing loans.

https://www.tsp.gov/PlanningTools/Calculators/loanPayments.h...


besides a lack fo compassion, there is also a systemic effect at play: large numbers of people are being put under (financial) stress at the same time. empathy goes down under stressful situations, so it's eaiser for peers to lack empathy for competitive reasons (claiming a leg up from others' misfortunes). this is the whole "poor whites are the most racist against poor blacks" phenomenon (an induced systemic effect rather than some innate feature of poor white people).

this is not to excuse the lack of empathy--as humans, we should strive to feel for and help our neightbors--but not everyone immediately realizes what's going on, which hampers the ability to recognize the multifaceted situation and appropriately guide themselves through it (having empathy for those who seem to lack it can be wholly beneficial too).

politicians--people who wield power--should be held to a higher standard however. criticism must shape power lest our freedoms be eroded.


> I've seen too many people say, "Oh, government workers should all know this stuff happens all the time

The thing is: it doesn't happen all the time. In the last 20 years there were 3 government shutdowns. Before Trump took office we were down to one shutdown in 20 years.


Yes, and also, they're just wrong about this "happening all the time." The tactic of shutting down the government for political gain is a recent (and clearly more common) strategy. Before the 90's turned politics into warfare, shutdowns were very rare.


On one hand, I understand Ross’ reasoning. If my company were to go to a bank with a federal guarantee, we’d get a very cheap loan.

On the other hand, he thinks an average individual’s response to missing paychecks should be to seek a low interest loan against a government guarantee. That’s comically out of touch. I’ve been working in finance my entire life and I’d have a tough time working through the loan application process.

That’s the type of advice you’d hear a private wealth manager give to his wealthy client. Wealthy people are often asset rich but cash poor so they’ll take out bank loans to finance short term cash flow needs. No doubt Wilbur Ross has availed himself to these services and is shocked that government employees haven’t taken advantage of such conveniences.


Reminds me of Mitt Romney's comments in 2012 about borrowing money from your parents:

> “We’ve always encouraged young people, take — take a shot, go for it. Take a risk. Get the education. Borrow money, if you have to, from your parents. Start a business.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/election-2012/post/romn...


After being in the US for so many years now, earlier i used to feel such comments were blatant lies that obviously people with their own agendas do.

However now i feel that some people really live in such a bubble that they do not have a basic understanding of the society they are living in and what 'average', 'above average','middle class' etc. means


It's one banana, Michael, what could it cost? Ten dollars?


We all live in bubbles, it's the nature of our existence because we have limited capacity for understanding experiences outside of our own.


More recently, see the "small loan of a million dollars" meme.


> On the other hand, he thinks an average individual’s response to missing paychecks should be to seek a low interest loan against a government guarantee.

Uh, if that's what he thinks it is deluded in a way you omit: there is no government guarantee. There is a tradition of backpay after a shutdown, not a legal guarantee. The commitment to pay is the budget, whose absence is the entire reason there is a shutdown.


Right, take a loan out against all his holdings to pay the people. Definitely a 'pull the ladder up behind you' guy.


If you got to any bank website at least the ones I bank with, there is a flashing notice on the front page, if I were a federal worker who needs assistance due to shut down. I am sure, certain workers have easy ways than others but to say that at least some banks have not stepped up is incorrect.


Many are offering loans of 10%+ APR. That is helpful, but maybe not a great situation for many people that have no savings to need the loan.


10%+ feels exploitative and predatory. The current fed interest rate is 2.5% - 4x above that is "let's profit on the unfortunate".


If it's short term, you end up paying less than 10% on it. If!


That's true, but the only way you'll be able to pay is if once things are rolling again you have that much extra cash. I don't know how tight people live.


Also, it's hard to structure that kind of loan, since you have no idea when repayment might take place. The only comparable thing would be a student loan, where you can defer payments until you have income.


Think of the boost to the economy we will get once these banks report their next quarter earnings!

/s, hopefully obvious


Some banks may be giving out loans, but they aren't going to be for everyone. Not everyone is 100% guaranteed to be able to return to their job after the shutdown. Banks know that.


They are guaranteed backpay though, so that should work as collateral.


Not everyone is directly a Federal employee, there are tons of contractors and people who work for contractors who won't get back pay and aren't guaranteed anything.


You are giving credit where it isn't due. Are these loans conditional on a good credit score?


Just checked my bank website, you are right. Site does not go into specifics as to what the assistance is but optimally it is a bridge loan that can get implemented quickly.

These workers are still going to get hammered by late payments etc. and potential evictions but it is good to know at least something is being done.


I’m curious what the interest rate is. Because if you’re already tight enough to need a loan, the interest is gonna cut pretty deep, even if it’s a relatively low rate. My fear would be predatory terms targeted at a vulnerable group.


Any regular employer would be liable for incured damages because of breach of contract. Is that any different with the government as employer?


Some banks are setting up low interest loan programs only for federal employees. They are low interest and are focused on amounts of 2-3 time your paycheck.

Granted the rate things are going that might not be enough.


Not to mention that low interest loans are sort of predatory in this context, despite being lower than market rate interest rates. I understand that they have a profit a motive, but it doesn't make them the "good guys" in this scenario. There really are no good guys during a government shutdown.


> There really are no good guys during a government shutdown.

The Canadian air traffic controllers who sent a bunch of pizzas to their American counterparts were pretty good.

Also I would argue that people who keep reporting for work when they aren't getting paid and doing their job to the best of their ability aren't too shabby either, no matter what the pundits say about how prepared they should have been.


Seriously, I'd imagine most of the people impacted who need the loans don't necessarily have the income to cover an extra loan payment when this is over.


First two results returned by searching for "federal shutdown loan" show 0% interest loans:

https://www.navyfederal.org/about/government-shutdown.php https://www.interiorfcu.org/resources/government-shutdown/

I don't see how is it predatory.

Considering that it costs bank about 2% to borrow money this is borderline charity.


Those are credit unions aimed at federal employees. Which means that a large chunk of their ownership is people affected by the shutdown. That’s not charity so much as helping themselves. Which is still great, obviously, but I wonder how it is for affected people who don’t belong to federal employee credit unions.


Chase and Citi have similar programs as well:

https://online.citi.com/JRS/pands/detail.do?ID=USGovShutdown...

https://media.chase.com/news/chase-assists-federal-employees...

It's one of those cases when every dime in interest will cost you a dollar in reputation.


Several banks are offering zero percent interest loans. Cheap advertising perhaps, but not predatory loans.

https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/18/here-are-the-banks-and-credi...


kinda depends on the interest rate... look at it as an insurance for the bank against some of the people defaulting on the loans and it isn't predatory.


One of the "no good guys" is used to not paying employees. So there is no good and worse guys.


This feels like disaster capitalism. They are inflating their image by saving the day when it is a responsibility of the state to ensure this doesn't happen and to not use shutdowns as a negotiation tactic. If anything they are just prolonging people getting angry enough to do something about it.


If not agreeing to a deal can't be used as a negotiating tactic, what can be?


In many states FBI has run out of replacement tires for vehicles, DNA swab kits, trace evidence filters. FBI can't pay for translator services, etc. They can't pay for informants.


Fortunately they managed to find volunteers to arrest Roger Stone, which may have been a factor in ending the shutdown..


>> They can't pay for informants.

This probably isn't the place, but I don't want them paying for informants. There is no vote I can cast to stop this practice. Effectively, I have no choice but to have the money I work hard for taxed and used in this fashion.


Paying for informants is one of the most efficient uses of government money. It's not a large sum.


>An administration official recommended that all those affected simply take out loans

that official is the billionaire Wilbur Ross. A historic precedent comes to mind https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_them_eat_cake .


>An administration official recommended that all those affected simply take out loans but unfortunately banks don't lend to people without an income

I think bills have been passed already guaranteeing back pay for federal employees, so it's a bit more complicated than "no income" for federal employees.

However, everyone else who is a contractor or otherwise tangentially dependent on government employment...

And of course getting back pay at some unknown future date doesn't put food on the table now or keep you from losing your house or car.


Well, to add a bit more context to it, the administration dismissed the issue, saying that people should just work with grocery stores and banks in order to survive.

Full text:

> Local people know who they are when they go for groceries and everything else. So I think what Wilbur was probably trying to say was that they will work along — I know banks are working along. If you have mortgages, the mortgagees, the folks collecting the interest and all of those things, they work along. And that's what happens in a time like this, they know the people, they've been dealing with them for years, and they work along. The grocery stores...and I think that's probably what Wilbur Ross meant.


So... mortgage holders are just going to say "oh, you're on furlough... ok, we'll hold your payment schedule and just rewrite the terms once you have pay again."

WTF is the disconnect here? Defaults are going to spike and I can't imagine that any significant percentage of them would be forgiven.

And I haven't seen a grocery store run 'personal credit' since maybe before the 50s at best? Pre-Depression?

Somebody is breathing that Washington nitrous oxide again.


>And I haven't seen a grocery store run 'personal credit' since maybe before the 50s at best? Pre-Depression?

The ridiculous out-of-touch callousness of it all aside, I remember my parents having credit at a small neighborhood grocery in the 90s-00s. It's not necessarily a relic of the 50s.


Banks don't loan people money for free. They're not a charity. Besides it is pretty absurd that banks have to solve government mess that they have no part in.


>Banks don't loan people money for free.

A number of federal credit unions are offering interest-free loans.

>Besides it is pretty absurd that banks have to solve government mess that they have no part in.

Agreed. It's an absurd mess.


This is unrelated, but you cannot live your life (in a happy way) being broke virtually all the time. If you are having major problem because a paycheck is missing, you are broke. Very few escape the trap, even if your salary increases, your expenses do too. Not a way to live.

If another person had suggested to get a loan it would have seem more reasonable. You lose a couple of hundred or maybe tens of dollars but at least you get the rest. However, having a billionaire, labeled as out of touch, and presumably teams of lawyers that do his loan paperwork say that...


In DC, I've seen lots of banks and credit unions offering 0% loans to furloughed Feds.


Not to mention contractors. Plus restaurants and other services near federal buildings that the workers use. If people aren't working they aren't going to dry clean suits or go to lunch for example. Those people aren't getting loans.


It seems like this will have far-reaching consequences for the government's ability to hire, too. They don't have the ability to promise a steady job with steady pay anymore so they're going to have to pay more for labor.


> simply take out loans

So not only are they not getting paid now, but they should also pay loan interests once their pay goes in.


That may be true but a lot of ATC workers do better than grunt software engineers. Five year experience can make $180K+.

It's hard to imagine not having savings if you make that much. It's possible of course just harder than the general population.


sorry, can you provide a link to the FBI cancelling their internship program? I can't seem to find anything to read on that.


Saw it on twitter, which upon consideration maybe should be taken with a grain of salt.

https://twitter.com/NatashaBertrand/status/10884530267827036...


There's multiple organizations offering 0% interest loans because the backpay is guaranteed by the US federal government. Not ideal but there really shouldn't be any government workers worried about paying their bills


Serious questions I have:

* Are senators/house reps being paid? If so - Why?

* If the government is going to shit on people like this - then why are those people required to pay a tax (which is money extracted from the population to pay for services which the government provides - if the government refuses to provide those services, then why would you be obligated to pay a tax - thus the shutdown should be filed as an exemption during tax season)

* How in the fucking world is it that someone can "shutdown" the government in the first place??

* If you had a CEO who was embroiled in this much scandal - wouldn't you question "So, what is it you'd say you actually do around here?"[0] -- What is the actual NORMAL day-to-day expectation of a POTUS which has not been done bythis POTUS in the course of his employment?

* How can you claim to be a country based on rule of law with such shenanigans? Such that it undermines the willingness of the people to follow the rule of law in ever aspect of the spectrum.

https://youtu.be/m4OvQIGDg4I?t=51


Senators/house reps being paid has a simple reason I think: The richer ones will simply wait out the poorer ones if pay is suspended.


lol@thinking that people in power will vote to not pay themselves


Ha - Yeah thats the point... Meaning - Why isn't this a larger talking point? (Aside from the fact that we have more millionaires and billionaires in political positions than ever - so they are frankly the 'working-class' who would not be impacted by a pay furlough)


> we have more millionaires and billionaires in political positions than ever

I was curious about the numbers on this in terms of congress members. It doesn't appear that anyone in congress specifically is actually a billionaire as of 2016[0], but over half of them are millionaires as of 2014[1]. Of course there are non-congress members that are billionaires (Trump, DeVos, Ross, some governors, etc)[2].

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_members_of_the...

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/10/us/politics/more-than-hal...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_richest_American_polit...

edit: added information


I hope not too off topic, but I'm puzzled by shutdowns.

Every other country I can think of has a system where if the finance is not agreed, the previous budget just continues. The budget sets the yearly amount for each department and it runs on until another budget changes how much everyone gets. Sometimes a new department gets created, sometimes something is abolished. Everyone gets their salary and services run on. Even if the finance bill is defeated, or even if they can't agree a government at all.

So how is it so easy for the US to simply run out? It naively seems like something both sides would want to fix pretty quickly. Is there some unseen advantage doing it this way? From news reports it seems to be all downside.

Edit: Thanks for the enlightenment!


Largely the US worked this way (there were funding lapses before, but people still worked & were paid), but Jimmy Carter in his infinite wisdom had his attorney general issue guidance that in times of funding lapses, no salaries could be paid. He was tired of some prior shutdowns during his administration and wanted to bring some pain into the picture to force republicans & democrats to sign funding bills & make compromises.

Mark Warner & Tim Kaine are pushing an act that would institute that continuing resolution behavior, appropriately called the Stop STUPIDITY Act https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/sen-mark-warner-intr...

One reason that this happens is that it's effectively designed to happen at this point. In times of split government its effectively impossible to pass legislation, so this is the easiest hostage to take in order to try to extract something from the other side.


The recent interpretations of the anti-deficiency act (https://www.gao.gov/legal/appropriations-law-decisions/resou...) means that the government can be shut down unless functions endanger "life" or "property". Congress could amend the anti-deficiency act to fund the government at previous levels, but that would remove the shutdown process as a political cudgel.


> that would remove the shutdown process as a political cudgel

Which, IMHO, should absolutely be done.


Our current government is holding a gun to its own head in an attempt to negotiate. It's children vs adults and the children have all the power. What "should" be done is unlikely to happen. :(


I came to ask the same question as the parent.

This is an answer, but what are the politics of it?

Eg you could make an argument that government only maintains things (ie property and life) for the public good, therefore all state employees are required lest they endanger life and property.

You could certainly make the case that air traffic controllers are essential to life. Try landing planes at a busy airport without them.


Air traffic controllers are essential to life, which is why they are asked to go to work currently. Not getting paid is a different question entirely.


Oh ok, I understood your link to mean payment was allowed where essential.

Aren't some people getting paid? aren't they deemed essential?!?

Am I looking for sense where there isn't any?!


There are multiple layers in this shutdown:

1. This is a "partial government shutdown", so only some agencies (homeland security, state, SEC, etc) are affected. Some agencies like the Department of Defense are not affected and funded at previous levels.

And

2. There are different levels of "federal workers":

- "Essential" employees: government workers whose job are deemed to endanger "life" or "property", so they are working without pay and told to report to work. These people will (very likely receive back pay once the shutdown ends)

- "Nonessential" government employees: people who are not currently working and not receiving paychecks. These people will also most likely receive backpay once the shutdown ends.

- Federal contractors: janitors, drivers, caterers, temporary staff, part time staff, paid interns, etc are not currently working and will most likely not receive backpay once the shutdown ends.

Note that with very few exceptions (like congressmen/congresswomen/senators, etc) most people in the federal government who are affected by the shutdown are not getting paid currently at all, even if they are told to show up to work.


Just to clarify on your second point, specifically re: essential employees.

Essential employees will 100% receive pay (no "very likely"). By law, they must be paid when the government reopens. No essential employee has ever worked and not (eventually) been paid for it.

Nonessential employees will receive pay almost certainly. While legally, since they're not working, they could not be paid, paying them takes an act of Congress. In every shutdown, all nonessential personnel have been paid for the time they would have worked once they return. It would be unprecedented for them not to get paid, and there would be huge backlash if they weren't paid. I'm sure most of them are expecting it and not making other arrangements.

Contractors working directly for the government aren't working and won't get paid as you said, however if they're working through a firm, they are most likely working at their employer's office on another project and being paid normally, assuming there's work.


To add to the other comment, for example the Patent Office is self-funded and they're currently working and getting paid.

But, absurdly, they might have to stop soon because even though they're self-funded Congress must allocate their funding.

https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/426904-patent-of...


Most democracies run a parliamentary system, where the head of government has to have the support of parliament. There's no separation between government/executive from parliament.

The point being that if a prime minister can't reach an agreement with parliament on some core issue (like annual budgets), they cease being the PM. Usually this means a new election.

The US's checks and balances means that parliament and government can be in opposition to eachother, and prevent eachother from doing what they want. The president/government can veto legislation and parliament can de-fund government.

This current manifestation is an odd one because the President is de-funding government, which is de-funding his own stuff. This is because the convention of "shutdown" already existed.


Well don't look too hard at the UK right now. :) We have a government and PM that is effectively stuck there (thanks to the coalition's broken Fixed Term Parliaments Act) but unable to bring legislation through. They even lost a vote on the last finance bill, and the huge Brexit defeat. Either would normally have brought the government down.

Belgium famously managed with no government for well over a year, without apparently making big decisions like finance or defence changes.


"Antideficiency Act", apparently.

The practical politics of it is that there is one party that's become ideologically opposed to all non-military Federal spending. From their point of view the automatic shutdown is a feature.


I believe (and I hope someone corrects me if I'm wrong) but the Anti-Deficiency act [0] is what is causing most of the issues. It specifically forbades going over the budget allocated by congress and has ramifications if it does. In general, the shutdown affects mostly non-essential federal workers, but part of that is their pay, so the offices that pay the necessary workers are not issuing checks...

But, let's be clear, this isn't the government running out of money, it's the government not agreeing on how to spend the money it has.

It's actually all bureaucracy and generally the budget bills are mostly simple continuances of the former... however, in recent years, this has become a game of chicken with legislatures. They are using federal pay as a pawn in negotiations to get their pet projects passed.

In this particular case, instead of going the normal legislative route of passing a bill to allocate funds for the "wall" trump has both inflicted harm on federal workers and DACA recipients in order to coerce the legislative body to fund 5.7 billion in the wall. How did he do this? He first rescinded protections for a group of people and then vetoed a normal budget bill.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antideficiency_Act


In Canada it triggers a new election


Specifically in Westminster systems (like Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK) the budget is a supply bill, a bill where the government asks for money.

Supply bills are automatically confidence motions, which means that if they fail to be passed then the government (i.e, the Prime Minister and their Cabinet) is said to have lost the confidence of the House.

If this happens, the Prime Minister loses the right to govern and a new government must be formed. Usually this means an election, but in rare cases the opposition parties can form a coalition that has the confidence of the House. This process is mediated by the Governor General or (in the UK) the Queen.

But in all cases, until a new government is formed and they manage to pass a budget, the old budget remains in effect. There's no scenario in a parliamentary democracy where failing to pass a budget will cause the bureaucracy to shut down.


In the US, I could see that being weaponized. One side doesn't like the results of the last election, so they force an impasse to get a new one. (In particular, I could see the Democrats trying this after the election of 2016. Perhaps the Republicans after 2018, though I think their motivation would be less strong.)

And in the US, I could see that tactic succeeding, unless the voters were willing to punish gaming the system that way. I see no evidence that US voters are responsible enough to do so, however.


Perhaps, if the people would allow it.

Theoretically you could end up in a loop where the people vote in Party A in a minority government, then Parties B+C oppose a budget bill, an election is held, Party A is re-elected into a minority government, and Parties B+C oppose a budget bill, and so on.

But it's important to recognize that blocking a budget is a risky manoeuvre. In all likelihood the above cycle would never happen more than once or twice because people find elections irritating. If people think you called an election frivolously then voters will punish you at the polls; in the above example people would eventually get pissed off at B and C and break the cycle by giving A a majority so that they can pass their budget without opposition support.

The important thing is that in the Westminster system (e.g. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK) if Parliament loses the ability to pass important bills then it results in an election. It keeps the opposition parties honest insofar that they have to be confident that they would actually gain in the polls in order for them to force an election by blocking the government. They can't just block things without repercussions.


Can we get this please? I can think of a really great way to stop this shutdown by removal of one person in particular.


Honestly the last thing I want when we reach a budget impasse is for a full roster of rookie congressmen managing it. Thats ripe for abuse and you'd be getting rid of a lot of well seasoned people who know how to work around red tape to get things done and make deals.


For a well meant opposing viewpoint, flushing longer term congresspeople could mean the breaking of many lobbyist ties, shadow coalitions, and other impediments to reasonable progress. I've proposed before that campaign contribution amounts be publicized, and let people vote out the ones who have been too heavily 'bought'.


The allure of limits is not without dangers, to see how this has played out in a different arena examine California's State Assembly and how term limits affect(ed) things. For one thing Lobbyists don't have any limits.


> flushing longer term congresspeople could mean the breaking of many lobbyist ties, shadow coalitions, and other impediments to reasonable progress.

You think lobbyists and interests groups having all the people experienced with legislation while members of Congress are all neophytes that get booted out after a handful of years (and then with job experience most relevant to legislating, which they can't do any more, and lobbying...so what is it they are going to be setting tthemselves up to do afterwards?) is going to make things better?


I would be more in favor of removing any campaign contributions and publicly funding elections of candidates who get X signatures. For instance a Congressman might get 200k to campaign while a president might get many millions.

Would cost us a few billion a year but would probably save us at least that in pork barrel spending.


> I've proposed before that campaign contribution amounts be publicized

They are aren't they? opensecrets.org


I'm Canadian. It means something really different to "trigger an election." It's the expected behaviour because we don't have formally scheduled elections. There are a few different things that can trigger an election here, including a "no confidence" vote in the parliament.


I was thinking more the executive branch...


I had to refresh my memory on how this works up here, but generally our parliamentary system is designed to refresh itself when it becomes dysfunctional:

https://globalnews.ca/news/3568037/vote-of-no-confidence-can...

I don't know how it might work in the American system with the "balance of powers" or if it might be abused but generally our unstable minority governments resolve to a more stable majority after a few election calls.


> unstable minority governments resolve to a more stable majority after a few election calls.

And before that time you get parties that have to work together to keep things moving, forcing compromise, and giving the less represented groups more power for a time.


In my opinion, the US can afford to do that. Both because it has big control over its population; and that people are relatively wealthy and banks are happy to help. Try that in another country and you'll very likely get an instant uprising with either salaries paid or the government thrown overnight.

In my country this happen with bus drivers (delayed payment of 1 day) and the drivers went on an instant strike. No pay, no work. It's that bad that for many, no payment means their life halting completely. So you can't afford it.

Some people do not realize how good it is in the USA.


They don't want to stop the harm to citizens, because then they can't blame the harm on the other guy. And since they aren't harmed by it in any way, there's no real problem with doing it.


The problem may be deficit spending. Part of the budget is paid for with debt. I don't think you can auto-approve a raise in the debt ceiling.


relevant explainer video:

https://youtu.be/KIbkoop4AYE

(CGP Grey's "The Debt Limit Explained")


The debt limits is a similar, but distinct, mechanism.


> Every other country I can think of has a system where if the finance is not agreed, the previous budget just continues

That's called a continuing resolution. And in the USA, Trump defeated it December 2018.

They don't want a continuing resolution, so it doesn't happen. Its about that simple. Lawmakers can write the law however they want. Why would the Republicans decide to shoot down the CR this time? Politics.

To be fair: Democrats filibustered the CR in 2018 as well, which led to a short shutdown earlier in the year.


Yeah. You've got short-sighted "warriors" on both sides, trying to score cheap political points while the country burns (mostly figuratively, so far).

Can states do recall elections? Because maybe that's the answer. If all 50 states held recall elections for all Senators and Representatives, that might concentrate minds in DC a bit...


It doesn't matter how bad the individual politicians are.

There's one side that is clearly in the right. There is only ONE side which is pushing for a clean continuing resolution, to end the shutdown.

The other side is asking for concessions before they end the shutdown.

Obviously politicians are opportunistic scumbags. That's why we elect them to represent our districts, so that they return more money to our district. That's the design of the system. You have to look beyond that and focus on which side is actually pushing the correct morals (which changes from debate to debate).

It is clear which side is pushing to end the shutdown with no gains to either side, and it is clear which side is asking for a $5.7 Billion Wall before the shutdown ends.

----------

Politicians will be scumbags for now, and probably for the future. Its our job as citizens to form opinions about their behavior.

> Can states do recall elections? Because maybe that's the answer. If all 50 states held recall elections for all Senators and Representatives, that might concentrate minds in DC a bit...

We literally just had an election like 4 months ago. The new Congress literally just entered DC this month. Every House Member was up for re-election.

This is what the country voted for. Face the facts, this is Democracy at work.


I'm not looking for replacing any of the current Congress (yet...)

I'm looking to send a message. "Stop acting like two-year-olds. Stop playing stupid political games and get something done. If you won't, you risk being removed before your two-year term is up." And if that's not enough for them to stop acting like idiots, well, then let's actually hold those recall elections.

But it will only work if most or all of the states do it.


Dude, over 90% of incumbents were reelected. This is what the people want.

https://www.opensecrets.org/overview/reelect.php

That's a 91% reelection rate for the 2018 election. People like their Representatives and Senators. I dunno what kind of fantasy world you're living in. But house members and senate members have overwhelming support in the districts they represent.

We all hate EVERYONE ELSE's senator or representative. But that opinion holds no bearing. We only can elect our local representative.

--------

As I said earlier: this is democracy in action. This is the reality of our system of government.

The Democrats were elected to stop the wall. The Republicans were elected to build the wall. The people have spoken, and we've entered a contradiction / deadlock situation. This is what people wanted and what people voted for.

It annoys me to no end with people saying "Vote them all out". You have to recognize that people actually like their local Representatives. What people don't like is the Representatives from other parts of the country (ie: The part where you have to make concessions and work with someone different from you)


It absolutely is easy for the US to fix. In fact I would go so far as to say the only way for this to occur is a concerted effort of bullshit over decades. Firstly, shutdowns didn't used to occur, it used to be that agencies would just operate as usual on the assumption that if nothing new were passed then the previous budget should stay in place. Then the AG under Carter decided to imaginatively re-interpret the existing laws (read: Couldn't actually get legislation passed to implement this) to say that anything not specifically funded by congress is defunded (except for whatever the president happens to consider expedient at the time like the police force and the army, except not all of the army, like the coast guard because reasons).

THEN rather than Congress passing legislation to say "If nothing else just always stay at past funding levels" Congress instead decided this was a great political tool to whack each other of the head with to negotiate new budgets.

At any point the government could just re-open. The reason shut downs happen is because both the Republicans and Democrats think it's in their favour politically for a shutdown to exist. In this case: Trump thinks he can make the case that we need funding for a border wall (despite controlling all branches of government for part of this shutdown) and that democrats will fold because they don't like dysfunction. Democrats think both that: they can't fold on the border wall because it legitimizes the Republicans using the shutdown to leverage whatever they want, and the border wall is unpopular so a longer shutdown just damages trump more and more.

The only way this resolves is for one group to become so unpopular they fold, or for Trump to shred the constitution and spend the money despite not having the authority (the so called 'State of Emergency' powers)


My understanding as an outsider is that I think the problem is with the debt ceiling. Legally the president (who proposes the budget) needs approval from Congress to borrow beyond the debt ceiling. The US government has for quite some time run a budget deficit, so the only budget that can apply would be a budget with significant cuts in government spending. As such, even keeping the existing budget ticking would exceed the debt ceiling.

To supporters of one of the parties, this is the point. They want the government to run a balanced budget and this is a way of holding it to account. This is also why the debt ceiling can not be removed or extended enough to not become an annual issue.

To both parties, this is a useful tool to hold over an opposing president. Currently, if one party controls Congress and it is not the president, they still don't have too many options short of impeachment to reign a president in.

Additionally, a congress vote is not enough here, the president needs to sign it in, which is how Trump is able to use the mechanism to demand his wall gets funded here.

On the other hand, in most Westminster inspired systems, failure to pass a budget triggers a new election. And the executive power to not sign in a bill usually has much more strings attached. So this deadlock cannot occur.


> I think the problem is with the debt ceiling.

While the debt ceiling issue is also frequently in the news, that is not what's going on here. In this case, the government has the money, they're just not allowed to spend anything.

In the US, unlike many other democracies, budgets expire. So in order for the government to continue functioning normally, the legislative branch has to pass a new budget bill before the previous one expires, which did not happen in this case.


The federal government must run a deficit. Balancing the budget would be a disaster for the economy. Watch this short video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=LxJW7hl8oqM


Just to be clear, I agree with you. I was just trying to present their argument in as unbiased a manner as I could


It gets even better because we have the fights over budgeting of the money. But when it comes time to actually pay for the things that were budgeted we get to have the same fight again.

This is so broken. The terrorists have taken over our government.


Really, every other country? Even Somalia, North Korea, or Venezuela?

I find that often when people criticize the US by saying "no other country has this problem!" they are mainly thinking of parliamentary democracies in Western Europe.

It's true that the US system doesn't function as well as most European countries. It functions better than most countries in the world.

Countries are on a spectrum of institutional competence from roughly Venezuela to Iceland. The US is somewhere in the interior of this spectrum, and not on one of its endpoints. I'm not sure why people find this so incredibly surprising. Do people just think that because the US is wealthy and powerful, it somehow "ought to" rival Western Europe on every other index of development?

That simply isn't the case -- the US is deeply dysfunctional in many ways and should be thought of in comparison with other deeply dysfunctional countries. Somebody can't "just" decide to fix its problems overnight.


I would hope that the richest country in the world could endeavor to be better run than Somalia.


First off, the FAA should be privatized like it is in Canada and other countries, then it would not be beholden to a non customer.

Second shut downs are structured as they are because Congress does not like the check and balances the Constitution tried to establish between branches of government.

By making shut downs painful on the public, the employees of the government to include its soldiers, they can force a President to accept whatever budget they come up with. There is no line item veto, Congress would never dare give up that power. So it comes down to putting sufficient pressure on any Administration so they understand who is boss.

They simply ran into someone who could call their game and honestly its the best result ever. We worry all the time about Administration overreach in this country with each change in whom is elected but the real overreach has always been the US Congress. The two parties do everything in their power to keep the game to themselves which means making it nigh impossible for anyone but them to change the rules.


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