By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief—The one good thing about commuting into Manhattan is that I have plenty of time to listen to the news on the radio. This morning, there were two stories that topped local news and gave me food for thought while I negotiated traffic.
One, of course, is the current debacle in Congress over passing a bill to raise the debt ceiling, a necessary move to prevent the country from defaulting on payments. It was expected that a bill put forth by Republicans would have been passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday evening, but Speaker John Boehner did not put the bill forward because he couldn’t garner enough votes from a handful of conservative Republican colleagues who feel the bill doesn’t go far enough in limiting spending and are therefore unwilling to compromise.
What’s ridiculous about all the posturing around this bill is that if it passes in the House, the Democrats in the Senate have already said they will vote it down. So the Republican holdouts aren’t about outcomes, but about appearances. And it’s wasting time we don’t have. As everyone knows by now, a solution needs to happen by August 2. The financial markets have been showing the stress for the last five days (and if you think it doesn’t pertain to you, think retirement accounts, college funds, etc).
And it’s not just the U.S. financial markets—markets around the world are down. Some say that even if Congress does come to its collective sense and pass a bill that will prevent default, the loss of confidence in the stability of our economy has already damaged us in the world market.
The second story reported on the shooting of a five-year-old boy in Bronxdale, which is considered to be one of the safer areas of the Bronx. Apparently the boy was walking with his mother when the firing started, and he was shot in the leg. The news report on the radio said police suspected he was caught in gang crossfire.
I couldn’t help comparing the similarity in the two stories—rival gangs inflicting needless injury while they fight over turf, seeking power, and control. The five-year-old boy and the American people—just collateral damage. The boy, the news said, is expected to fully recover. I wonder if the same can be said for the rest of us.