Disagreement between a Republican House and Democrat President over federal spending levels results in a government shutdown that cuts government services and furloughs federal workers. Does this sound familiar? Although Congress narrowly avoided another government shut down this week, the idea of a federal government shutdown is becoming an uncomfortably common topic of discussion.
In light of history’s curious way of repeating itself, let’s examine the takeaways from the ’95 shutdown. The crisis lasted a total of 28 days, the longest federal shutdown in US history and twelve days longer than the 2013 shutdown. Following the crisis, President Clinton enjoyed a successful bid for reelection while control of Congress remained unchanged. Furthermore, consider the composition of Ohio’s Congressional delegation in 1995—almost all these leaders maintained their seats, and some have gone on to the Ohio Attorney General, the United Nations, the Senate, the Governor’s mansion, and candidate for President. In short, the shutdown had no discernable effect on the future success of the politicians involved. Ultimately those who feel the pain of these political maneuvers are civilian workers, not the politicians who refuse to negotiate, struggle to find compromise, and still get a paycheck and keep their jobs at the end of the day.
Unfortunately, these budget standoffs accomplish little other than calling attention to the ineptitude of our leaders playing a sophisticated game of chicken with damaging economic repercussions. Distressingly, Wednesday’s solution only finances federal government operations through December 11th. Life is already uncertain enough for the average American without this additional instability. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four in Cleveland needs over $62,000 a year to get by, however the median income for married couples there is only $49,715. Ohioans need access to jobs with better wages and financial stability, not staged political crises resolved without progress.