Editorial: U.S. needs solutions, not scares
Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel-Tribune Editor   
Wednesday, 16 October 2013 10:34
Jan Larson McLaughlin
Some thrill seekers get all tingly at the sound of a chainsaw at a haunted house, or get pumped as their stomachs do somersaults on rollercoasters. But, I no longer feel any desire to put myself through such terror needlessly.
That's how I see this government shutdown. Needless and nauseating.
And unlike a haunted house or rollercoaster, we have no choice to find the closest exit or get off the ride.
While our legislators stonewall, send out strongly worded press releases and shout angry rhetoric, many in the country are hurting.
The most visible loss to many has been the closure of national parks and monuments. Those sites, with their "closed" signs, barricades and unhappy would-be patrons are very photogenic.
But the hurt goes much deeper in areas that are much harder to catch on camera. There aren't many opportunities to get photos of homebuyers in rural areas whose loans are now in limbo. There are few photos of federal investigators checking into transportation accidents, because most aren't being conducted now. There aren't images of cars being recalled due to serious safety issues, because those are on hold. And there aren't stories of the government continuing to whittle down the backlog on military disability claims, because those claims are once again mounting.
And that just scratches the surface of the hurt needlessly being inflicted on American citizens by the people they voted to run the nation - not run it into the ground.
It's particularly troubling when it appears the only reason for the shutdown is a plan brewed up by a small faction of conservative legislators.
On its 15th day of the shutdown, it's frustrating that many of the 400,000 furloughed workers are continuing to work - with no paychecks. I have to wonder how members of Congress can in clear conscience accept their paychecks when their productivity is non-existent. Most people don't have the luxury of getting paid for doing nothing. Most employers insist on some type of work in exchange for pay. As the people paying the salaries of Congress, we citizens deserve more.
We deserve a thoughtful exchange of ideas and compromise when it makes sense - not grandstanding in the name of patriotism. We deserve leaders who respect deadlines and don't think every deal is best when made on the brink of disaster.
It's time for Congress to stop the rollercoaster and turn off the chainsaw. We don't want more scares. We want solutions.

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