Deciding What Is Essential, What Isn’t
During a partial shutdown of the government, there isn’t enough money to keep national parks open, but federal wildlife areas can be opened to waterfowl hunting. Cash is lacking for some agencies dealing with public health, but there is enough for the military service academies to play football. Mine inspectors must be furloughed but federal employees working with Obamacare can stay on the job.
This is crazy. Yet these situations and many others that simply don’t make sense are part of how President Barack Obama’s administration has made decisions on what is “essential” and what is “non-essential” during the shutdown.
It has become clear part of the equation involves making the shutdown as unpleasant as possible for the American people. In the process of that, however, some of them have been put at risk unnecessarily.
After Congress and the White House come to agreement to re-fund government operations, an investigation into how this shutdown was handled should be mounted. Tens of millions of Americans affected by bad choices on the shutdown should demand such a probe.