Shutdown Averted, but DC's Antics Are Getting Absurd

...and costly: Ezra Klein
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2011 7:59 AM CDT
In this Sept. 23, 2011, photo, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – The government shutdown has been averted, but don't expect Ezra Klein to break out the confetti. This week's shutdown threat was the third we've faced this year, and the "most absurd yet." Congress has gone from battling over sizable figures (a deal struck earlier this year slashed $78.5 billion from Obama's budget request) to relative peanuts: This time around, the warring was over $1.6 billion. And our escape from calamity will be a short-lived one. The agreement will keep the government chugging along until the far-off date of Nov. 18, at which time we enter round four, which "is likely to lead to a near-shutdown—if not an actual one—too."

And this flip-flopping "from almost shutting down to almost defaulting on the debt every few months might be doing the economy much more harm than we realize," Klein writes for the Washington Post. An actual shutdown would cost billions, but even inching toward one wastes money. "The government must prepare, and that means a lot of hours spent on nothing useful," writes Klein. But the final tally has to include "the cumulative toll these bouts of brinkmanship are taking on consumer and business confidence." And "the effects are plain." Some 81% of Americans aren't happy with the way the US is being governed, a Gallup poll record. "As one fed-up senator told me last week, simply keeping the lights on amounts to success in today’s Congress."

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