Focusing on the government shutdown is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while drawing closer to the iceberg.
The iceberg in this case is the massive government debt that will be made worse by the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Later this month, Congress will need to lift the debt ceiling from its current $16.7 trillion to keep the government solvent and enable the U.S. to continue paying its massive bills. In the meantime, as a result of the negotiations that led to sequestration, Congress had until the end of September (the end of the fiscal year) to reach a spending agreement.
It didn’t, of course, and now the government has shut down. But what does the shutdown really mean?
The shutdown affects only “nonessential” services. That means 85% of government services are still being funded and 63% of federal employees are still working. Mail is being delivered, military personnel are still keeping us safe, and payments are still being made for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the countless other programs that we can’t afford. Amtrak trains will continue running, so if your train is late, don’t blame it on the shutdown.