When you are in crisis mode, you aren’t planning for the future.
The U.S. government has been shut down for more than a week.
It hasn’t affected most Americans. But almost a million people are furloughed. Some are coming to work and hoping to get paid later.
The Republicans in Congress are holding appropriation bills hostage in an attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act – more commonly known as Obamacare.
But the Republicans blame the Democrats for the shutdown because they aren’t exactly lining up to negotiate a settlement to the situation.
You could spend all day arguing about which side is right but you would just end up losing your voice and maybe your mind.
Here is something I have learned as a leader in private business, when you are in crisis mode, you aren’t planning for the future. No one plans a vacation while their house is on fire.
Our federal legislators have been governing from crisis to crisis for most of the past six years. The government is threatened with shutting down over debt limits, budgets and Obamacare.
There is a constant fight over one topic or another. What is missing is any planning for future success.
There is no time to work on projects or programs that might benefit small business owners or address unemployment rates.
We just continue the legislative showdowns and hope for the best.
Hope is not a strategy.
The government used to be able to do big things. That time has seemingly passed.
During this week 77 years ago, the government was flipping the switch on Hoover Dam to provide power to Los Angeles and water to a previously arid region.
A project that began under Herbert Hoover’s administration was completed as part of FDR’s administration as a public works project.
The Hoover Dam stopped the flow of the Colorado River and created Lake Mead, a massive water supply that serves a huge area.
The power generation capabilities of the dam were a valuable secondary benefit.
Both of these functions of this massive project are still having a positive impact on a multi-state region today.
What will people look back on from this Congress in 77 years? The only thing we can accomplish is going to war and then arguing about how and when to end the war.
We’re still in Iraq. Afghanistan has been raging on for 13 years. We’re on the precipice of a shooting match in Syria.
In 1936, when this project was completed, the world was on the brink of World War II. Japan was at war with China. Hitler held the reins in Germany.
But we were still supporting projects that changed the country for the better for at least eight decades.
That isn’t happening today.
President Barack Obama could negotiate with a wide variety of members of Congress and maybe get us away from this stalemate.
But we are a long way from being able to give future generations anything other than more war debt and marks on the timeline for when the government lost its credit rating or shut down for the second time.
Someone needs to find a way to end the fighting and develop a true vision for the future.
Hoping for the best is nice and all. But it takes leadership and hard work to accomplish anything that will last beyond the latest 24-hour news cycle.
Kent Bush is the publisher of the Augusta Gazette, the El Dorado Times, and the Andover American newspapers. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org