The government shutdown wrapped up its second week as the deadline to avoid debt default creeps closer. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
This article was originally published by the student-run Daily Cal at the University of California, Berkeley.
The battle lines have been drawn. As the government shuts down, our leadership continues to be uncooperative. The government’s traditionally routine authorization to keep its doors open, known as the continuing resolution, has once again devolved into gridlock. Both political parties continue to bask in national attention as they herald their plans as the most responsible solution to today’s manufactured crisis and demonize their opposition in the media. The parties are hoping to energize their bases and open the wallets of high-profile donors. We are witnessing the firing salvo of the 2014 congressional elections as both sides bask in national attention. Our leaders should instead be working together toward solutions rather than blaming one another.
Understandably, the American people are disgusted by Washington’s consistent inaction. The global community laughs at the inability of our leaders to resolve their petty differences. I find it egregious that eleventh-hour-deadline-induced fights have become the forum of “debate” about fiscal responsibility, especially when the real loser to emerge from these cyclical crises is our generation.
The financial trajectory of our nation is particularly important to young adults, as we are the ones who will feel the greatest burden of today’s fiscal policy in insolvent social programs, rampant costs of education and more. Financial uncertainty threatens the prospect for generational equity, that we should have the same, if not better, opportunities than our parents and grandparents. This concept is central to our mission at Common Sense Action, especially here at Berkeley, where our rich history of activism further encourages our desire to make student voices heard.
Our lawmakers must find a way to rationally discuss fiscal reform instead of treating the subject as another excuse to engage in partisan warfare and political hostage-taking. House Republicans have made a risky tactical decision to conditionally tie government funding to weakening segments of the Affordable Care Act, a stance that is anathema to Senate Democrats and President Obama, who fought tooth and nail to get the law passed in the first place. These non-negotiations highlight the parties’ seemingly irreconcilable prescriptions to our greater financial unsustainability.