Saturday 26 January 2019

thirty-four days, twenty-one hours, eighteen minutes

NPR correspondent Jessica Taylor presents a thoroughgoing post-mortem for the longest partial government shutdown in US history, which has just been conceded by Trump without funding for his shining beacon of white supremacy. We are happy that the individuals and families who suffered needlessly—and for the imperilled public lands and public safety—that relief is forthcoming. The dedication of the few, labouring without pay, keep catastrophe in abeyance but one does have to wonder about that month of lost time and sunk costs that’s never coming back.
Payments might come out of arrears but security vulnerabilities exposed and exploited because no one was at the helm of certain agencies, research lapsed, loss of morale and cohesion, meals forgone, austere compromises and perhaps one or two incidents of bribery—since a kick-back can seem quite tempting not knowing when pay day comes next—all have lasting consequences that are not easily undone. A three-week respite, as welcome as it is, probably also means that the US government will find itself at the same fiscal impasse again in mid-February—prone to repeat itself until the administrative state force lasting resolution. Acquiescing to the desire of the legislature to reopen the government should moreover be taken with a grain of salt as it coincided with the arrest and indictment of long-time ally and advisor, Roger Stone, noted cartoon arch villain who stroked Trump’s ego for decades and encouraged his serial contention for high office, by furloughed agents of the FBI.