Unsurprisingly the big story here in the Washington DC Metro area is the potential government shut down. While most Americans go about their business, hardly giving it a second thought, dire predictions of the doom to come are broadcast throughout all media institutions. We should expect rioting in the streets (no, seriously, I heard someone suggest this), mass mayhem, a crippling of our Nation’s infrastructure, and worst yet – feline and canine cohabitation.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The Washington Express – the free, Reader’s Digest version of the Washington Post – had a headline this morning that blared “NOT THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS!!!” It seems that this weekend’s cherry blossom parade would be canceled if there is a government shutdown.
This is indeed horrible news. Sure American troops are in harm’s way around the world, and we are printing money hand over fist as our country goes deeper into debt to totalitarian regimes, but that’s nothing compared to the sheer terror of tourists being slightly inconvenienced by the cancellation of a hokey parade in downtown Washington. Leave aside the fact that they will still be free to see the cherry blossoms themselves (even if they are now past their peak bloom), and that many of the tourist attractions in our Nation’s Capital are outdoor sites that will still be open. It is surely worth compromising on such an insignificant thing like the federal budget in order to avoid this catastrophe.
The Express goes on to detail some of the ways in which we are all going to be affected by a shutdown. I would recommend listening to Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings as you read the proceeding paragraph in order to set the appropriate mood.
The Obama administration warned Wednesday that a federal shutdown would undermine the economic recovery; delay pay to troops fighting in three wars; slow the processing of tax returns; and limit small-business loans, and government-backed mortgages during peak home-buying season.
The Express then calls this a “dire message.” Indeed.
Now that you’ve had the appropriate amount of time to digest this warning of the coming apocalypse, let’s take these items one at a time.