Thursday, August 28, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Wusses!

Rendell was right: we are a nation of wusses.

Wusses!

Ed Rendell was right.

We are indeed, as his 2012 book title says, "A Nation of Wusses."

Just look at the big, bad government "shutdown."

Unless you're poor or planning to visit a national park today or among the less-than-half (about 800,000) of 2 million federal civilian emloyees facing possible furloughs because of the asinine action of Congress, what does the "shutdown" actually mean?

Air travel continues as does mail service. U.S. embassies stay open and the State Department continues to process visa and passport applications. Social Security, Medicare and unemployment benefits continue. Veterans services continue. Active-duty military personnel stay on the job with pay. So does the Coast Guard, Homeland Security, TSA and Secret Service. Federal prisons stay open and so do federal courts.

And, best of all?

Members of Congress continue to collect their $174,000 salaries along with their life-time health-care, lunches, gym memberships, child care and free parking at Dulles International and Reagan National airports.

(Meanwhile, The Washington Post today offers a wishful piece on how to properly punish these folks.)

And, as usual, the only real pain our elected public servants are providing is directed at the needy. Some Head Start programs and food assistance under WIC (the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) could see immediate impact.

But absent these usual (and likely temporary) punches at the poor, what's the big deal?

The full title of Rendell's book is "A Nation of Wusses: How America's Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great." His sequel should be "A Congress of Wusses: How America's Leaders Lost the Balls to Shut it Down."

 

 

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
About this blog
John Baer has been covering politics and government for the Daily News since 1987. The National Journal in 2002 called Baer one of the country's top 10 political journalists outside Washington, saying Baer has, "the ability to take the skin off a politician without making it hurt too much." E-mail John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John is the author of the book "On The Front Lines of Pennsylvania Politics: Twenty-Five Years of Keystone Reporting" (The History Press, 2012). Reach John at baerj@phillynews.com.

John Baer Daily News Political Columnist
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