Our Views: A tantrum, not a policy

What a miracle is America’s economy. It can even survive America’s Congress.

Unfortunately, the Congress is doing its best in a time of sluggish growth to generate uncertainty about the future.

The ill-timed government shutdown comes as the Federal Reserve system gnaws at the tea leaves of future growth, consumer confidence is no longer growing and unemployment is stubbornly high.

What a time for House Republicans to decide they have the stroke to force President Barack Obama to repeal his signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act. To just state the proposition is to show just how ridiculous the shutdown is.

Even worse, some on the right in the House want to keep the shutdown going for a couple of weeks, then throw another grenade at Obama by refusing to raise the government’s debt ceiling. Again, to say it is to show how dumb an idea it is. It is not Obama that need fear the grenade, it is the U.S. economy in a period of uncertainty.

Sometimes, it seems, fundamental conservative precepts of prudence and caution are forgotten in the partisan frenzy. This is one of those times, and the shutdown demonstrates a lack of good judgment on the House side.

We deplore the bad votes of Louisiana’s Republican members of the House, who felt that throwing another tantrum over “Obamacare” was a prudent thing to do at this sensitive economic juncture. We share, frankly, some of their concerns over the Affordable Care Act, and much more so on the budget deficit; what we don’t want to see is reckless revolutionary tactics substituted for conservatives’ causes.

Using the debt ceiling as a negotiating tactic is particularly reckless, even if a young senator from Illinois voted against it once – before going to the White House, where he had to grow up, and quickly.

We continue to have faith in the economy’s resilience. We’d have more faith in it if the Congress would leave it alone for a while.