The impasse means 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed Tuesday. National parks, monuments and museums, as well as most federal offices, will close. Tens of thousands of air-traffic controllers, prison guards and border-patrol agents will be required to serve without pay.So the prison guards have to show up for work, but they're not going to get paychecks for it. Same with other "essential-but-screw-you" employees, the ones who have to secure the border and make sure our planes land in one piece. And it's because House Republicans have essentially given up on the task of government at all. "Defunding" Obamacare 42 times wasn't enough for them. Subjecting the nation to budget sequestration, once deemed too radical to contemplate, is now considered not radical enough. No, now we're on to the part where we close the parks, we close the museums, we close any government office not deemed essential, and the government offices that are essential will be staffed by people who are required to work, but who will be expected to feed their families and pay their mortgages via unspecified magic.
There's absolutely no point to any of this. House Republicans could have chosen at any point in time to extend current operations while they continued their very important and earnest bickering, and at every point took the path that insisted upon a shutdown. They meant to do it—not just the crackpot tea party caucus, mind you, but the entire party, and John Boehner ought to receive as much credit for shutting down the government as any know-nothing backbencher—because the notion of merely keeping that government running, keeping the economy running, keeping the paychecks flowing to the people who are required to do their jobs whether Congress decides to pay them for it or not, has itself become an impossible act.
If they cannot damage the president for the sake of doing so, it seems they have no further purpose in governing at all.