It’s hard to believe that Congress is again playing chicken over another government shutdown. Do they actually think they can keep doing this and that it’s going to do anything other than further damage public confidence? Lost in the the discussion is the fact that yet again Congress has failed to pass a budget on time. The temporary spending measures that Congress is now tossing back and forth between the House and Senate isn’t even a budget. It’s a kick-the-budget-down-the-road measure to give Congress more time to not do its job.
But this time a shutdown just might happen. The House Republicans, while they have done a lot to advance the cause of fiscal restraint, are overplaying their hand. A Government shutdown backfired in 1994, and it may well backfire again. I don’t think that the President will compromise this time. The debt Super Committee has until November to do its job of considering alternatives to reduce our debt. The President can say, "the Committee is working, this is premature."
Given the fragility of public confidence, these tactics just don’t make sense for the country. They come at a time where the markets are stumbling and the economy is sputtering. I hope that I am wrong, but I fear that I am right. While the country clearly is behind the concept of fixing the national balance sheet, that shouldn’t be confused with a blanket approval from the public to play chicken every couple of months.