THUMBS UP: While there is no doubt the government shutdown will have far-reaching, painful effects on nearly everyone in Minnesota, the courts made a good move Wednesday by ruling that services provided to Minnesota's most vulnerable adults and paid for by medical assistance funds should continue during a shutdown. With some providers of older adult services having little or no budget reserves and as little as 11 days of operating cash on hand, a shutdown would have been devastating if funding for Medicaid payments to providers weren't continued. Government aid to cities, counties, and schools was also spared. These might be mere silver linings in an otherwise dark cloud, but at this point, we'll take what we can get. However
THUMBS DOWN: The aforementioned dark cloud is an ominous one, and you should consider yourself extremely fortunate if you escape the shutdown unscathed in any way. If you rely on any kind of social services - public transportation, for instance, you will be affected. New Horizons Crisis Center in Marshall served more than 800 people in the area during the last fiscal year, but depending on how long a shutdown lasts, those services could be in jeopardy as well. It's hard to grasp the concept that these services have been deemed 'non-essential,' but when it comes to politics, nothing should be taken for granted.
Senate staying on the job
THUMBS UP: It's good to see members of the U.S. Senate have decided to scrap their week-plus vacation plans next week to try to avoid the country going into default. President Obama challenged Republicans in Congress earlier this week to work on a deficit reduction plan to avoid a further financial crisis and said a plan must be in place by Aug. 2.