With the federal government on the brink of default and on the 16th day of a government shutdown, Sen. Bernie Sanders on Wednesday said that there finally was reason for cautious optimism that this nightmare will end.
The shutdown and the crisis atmosphere it created kept Congress from doing the work it should have been doing all along. "There are enormous issues facing this country. The middle class is disappearing. Poverty is at an all-time high. We're not even beginning to address the international crisis of global warming or our crumbling infrastructure or extremely high unemployment," Sanders said on Wednesday on MSNBC. "So while we're talking about whether or not we pay our bills, this country continues to face enormous problems that we are not even beginning to look at. That is very, very tragic."
Sanders also said that "serious and long-lasting damage already has been done to our country by the right-wing extremists of the Tea Party." He cited the damage to the democratic process by those who would have annulled the last election to get their way. He cited the lost confidence of vulnerable citizens -- the elderly, the sick, veterans, the disabled, Head Start families -- who depend upon their government to keep its promises. He cited a loss of international prestige. And he cited the long-term damage to federal workers. "The American people are better than this. They deserve a better government," he said.