Opinion column on shutdown was off base

The Jan. 4 opinion piece by syndicated columnist Scott Rasmussen that very few are aware there is a government shutdown and there are more important things for politicians to focus on is completely off base. Fixing the dysfunctional shutdowns that are the “new normal” must be one of the highest priorities because until we fix that, no other problems can be addressed.

The author correctly states that few people know or care about the partial shutdown. That’s because government workers which have an immediate impact on people’s lives, such as air traffic controllers, TSA screeners, food inspectors, etc., are being forced to work without pay. It’s no wonder that few are even aware of a government shutdown since there is no immediate impact to the public.

What the public doesn’t realize though are the long-term impacts from “non-essential” workers who are furloughed. The term “non-essential” is a misnomer because these people, including the shadow government workforce (i.e., contractors), perform essential work to keep agencies functioning. Examples are payroll specialists, aviation certification engineers, acquisition program engineers, etc., whose absence has a long-term effect on public services.

But, this idiotic shutdown dysfunction that has become a favorite Republican tactic will continue until the public demands that it stop. The public needs to get riled up about this shutdown nonsense so politicians will stop. Until then, we’ll have to put up with this kind of dysfunction that will prevent us from tackling our truly pressing problems.

Kevin Bridges