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October 22, 2013 7:31 am

EDITORIAL: In wake of shutdown, smart, long-term fix desperately needed

Written by Tessa Schweigert

As America picks up the pieces from a 16-day partial government shutdown that cost an estimated $24 billion and accomplished nothing, many of us wonder: Where is our nation headed now?



The short-term fix reached last week fails to address the deep fiscal challenges facing our country.

Within a few months, Republicans and Democrats will again face deadlines to address federal spending and the debt ceiling.

To move forward, we encourage lawmakers to look at the recent past. Three years ago, a bipartisan effort led by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles offered responsible and comprehensible solutions to address America’s unsustainable debt.

The Simpson-Bowles plan was never adopted, and destructive partisan politics only worsened, making us a nation that governs by crisis instead of compromise.

“If we can’t get members of Congress to put aside their ultra-partisanship and pull together rather apart, we face the most predictable economic crisis in history,” Simpson and Bowles wrote in September 2012.

Unfortunately, that proved true this month.

Talks of fiscal responsibility and national debt no longer seem obscure or distant to us. Lawmakers’ inability to constructively address federal spending in Washington, D.C., has dealt direct blows to those in Powell, as well as throughout the United States.

We have now experienced tangible, destructive impacts in our community and among our neighbors.

The most obvious local example for many of us is Yellowstone National Park. In the spring, the sequester threatened to delay Yellowstone’s opening. In the fall, the shutdown closed the park at a time when many locals enjoy spending autumn’s quiet days there.

Beyond those economic impacts to Park County and Wyoming, we know the shutdown hurt others very directly, taking away their daily work and paychecks.

We can think of only one thing the partial shutdown accomplished: it further confirmed how dysfunctional our government has become.

Ultimately, lawmakers must realize compromise is a crucial part of wise governing.

“You learn to compromise on an issue without compromising yourself … you gotta compromise in marriage, you gotta compromise when you’re dealing with a car dealer, everything you do in life is a compromise, a negotiation,” Simpson has said. The former U.S. senator from Cody and Bowles, the former chief of staff in the Clinton administration, launched a national ad campaign last week through the Campaign to Fix the Debt.

With the shutdown now behind us, lawmakers must put aside differences and actually work together toward a long-term solution to address the national debt and fiscal problems we face.

America cannot afford to continue in this destructive pattern.


  • Comment Link October 22, 2013 7:53 am posted by Salty Dawg

    America cannot afford any more tea bagger obstructionism either.They are the epitome of greed and selfishness and offer nothing to alleviate the problems in Amerika.

  • Comment Link October 22, 2013 5:42 pm posted by Arturo

    What are the "deep fiscal challenges," exactly? Not Chicken Little stuff, but actual mechanisms. Can you explain how a sovereign government can have a fiscal crisis in its own currency? Or are you just a deficit terrorist?


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