I’m back at work. Have been since last week. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped paying attention to the grand game of “How Many Asshats can We Fit in One Building?” that our political “leaders” are playing on the Hill. As bad as it is that Republicans and Democrats seem physiological incapable of talking to one another, that’s nothing compared to the truly remarkable feat of House Republicans apparently not even being able to talk amongst themselves. That takes political incompetence to a whole new level. Impressive work, Congressmen.
From my reading of the tea leaves, we’re inside the 48 hour mark now. Either these jackasses will get around to doing the hard work of governing or they’ll crank the throttle wide open and let it all fly off the rails. I’m a reasonable close watcher of politics and a betting man by nature, but even if I wasn’t owed back pay and had a fist full of cash, I wouldn’t lay a bet on which way this shitshow is going to break.
Universal wisdom is that careening headlong into the debt ceiling would be bad. The fun part? Absolutely no one knows how bad it might be. My reading pegs it somewhere along the scale of Accidental Nuclear Detonation in Times Square Bad. Even if it’s less bad than that, it’s going to be bad. Defaulting on the sovereign debt and/or other financial obligations of the United States is simply unimaginable from any sane, reasonable perspective. To do it over an issue of personal pride or to make cheap political points is damned near treasonous.
We have 536 “leaders” in Washington and there’s apparently not one damned statesman in the bunch.
So the intrepid leadership of the Dysfunction of Defense has magically discovered a way to reduce the total number of required furlough days for civilian personnel from eleven to six. On the surface, that sounds like a fine thing and if you’re not picky about the details and surrounding circumstances, I suppose it would be. Being the slightly jaded and cynical jerk that I am, of course, I have a slightly different take on how things are going inside that five sided funny farm on the banks of the Potomac.
As close as I can figure, reducing the number of furlough days probably has as much if not more to do with the legal requirements for the Department to close the books on the fiscal year before the clock strikes midnight on September 30th. Someone, somewhere deep in the bowels of The Building has probably realized that along with the rest of us schleps, the finance and logistics people they need to close out the fiscal year are also working 20% fewer days and not authorized overtime. In my experience, that makes completing the year end financial festivities a statistical impossibility. Woops.
Another perk of getting everyone back to the office in the next week or two is that it gets everyone into a nice routine for the inevitable shitstorm that’s going to take place at the start of FY14. My best guess is that the fiscal year about to start on October 1st will include such highly sought after features as Debt Ceiling Induced Government-wide Shutdown, Furlough: Part II, Reductions in Force, and Pay Freeze: Part 4. Hopefully I’m wrong about some or all of those predictions, but I don’t think I am.
I have the sinking feeling that this six day furlough was a dry run – the storm before the even bigger storm ahead.