May I Rant About Fiscal Stupidity for a Moment?
This morning, as I left a meeting of a team championing Montgomery County's upcoming collaborative attack on chronic homelessness (www.100khomes.org), I listened to an NPR report on the effects of the Federal shut-down. My experiences with people enduring homelessness, and with low-income families at risk of eviction, started to coalesce with the on-air stories of the pain of people now being pushed toward financial crises, and left me with a more-than-simmering rage.
I am angry that Congress is making such stupid (pardon me, "ill-conceived") financial decisions on our behalves. I am angry that their stalemate is impacting the lives of people I know personally, as well as those I'll never meet. And I am angry about what the lack of paychecks will inevitably do to people living from paycheck to paycheck: It will put some of them on the streets.
Putting aside the humanitarian aspects of forcing someone to live unsheltered, it creates a deeper financial hole than the one in which we already find ourselves. Keeping people housed costs taxpayers less money. People who are experiencing homelessness are enormous consumers of costly emergency room services, police services, social services. Evictions use sheriff services, court time and legal services, even when evictions are caused by the federal governments' refusal to pay its employees.
The tide of suffering caused by the Congressional stalemate will land on our state, our county and our citizens. I'm betting government will reach a compromise at some point in the coming days, the coming weeks. But the financial repercussions will remain with us for much longer.
Any Congresspeople among my readers? Are you surprised at the impact your impasse has on your constituents? Because no one outside of Congress is.
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