Post-Gazette.com

To stop shutdowns

October 23, 2013 12:00 AM

Regardless of which political party one supports or how one feels about the issues that were being considered at the time of the recent federal government shutdown, our system of government needs to be reformed so that such shutdowns can no longer occur.

The primary cause of the shutdown was the failure of the president to negotiate with Congress in order to avoid it. The solution to the problem needs to be implementation of a rule stating that the president of the United States has an obligation to negotiate in good faith with Congress. It would include consequences for failing to do so, including impeachment and removal from office. (The fact of a government shutdown should serve as a prima facie case of violation of the rule.)

The rule should include some sort of means for breaking an impasse. Mandatory binding arbitration comes to mind. Perhaps overseeing this arbitration process would become an additional responsibility of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The United States is losing credibility because of our apparent inability to contend with our internal financial problems. Changes are needed to promote economic stability both domestically and internationally.

Finding a way to force the resolution of these political disputes in a bipartisan way can only benefit everyone. Perhaps this can be the beginning of a discussion that will result in a new and improved way of conducting these affairs.

L. THOMAS LIGHTHALL
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