Both the government shutdown in DC and the looming BART strike raise issues of fiscal responsibility while testing the durability of public infrastructure under stress. Unpacking the key players and motivations of both theaters will help make sense of how and why the public is being footed the bill for our governments’ fights. The parallels are eerie.
Who's Fault Is It?
DC: Far-right Republican Congressmembers, like Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who oppose the Affordable Care Act.
Bay Area: BART employee unions SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555 who are seeking better pay and working conditions.
Winner: The unions. Nobody can have a lower approval rating than Ted Cruz does.
Who Gets Hurt?
DC: Half a million furloughed government employees ok, the National Parks, and the approval rating of the GOP (28 percent nationally).
Bay Area: For now, it's hundreds of thousand of confused and frustrated commuters. If a strike happens, it's Sarah Lacy who suffers.
Winner: Bay Area. It's long past time to disrupt Yellowstone.
Who Are The Adults in the Room?
DC: Though, John Boehner is looking sane compared to many Congressional GOPers, the Obama Administration has done a good job of casting the blame for the shutdown on the other party—making themselves look reasonable in the process. After all, the ACA has withstood challenge on multiple occasions. Time to move on?
Bay Area: According to Matier and Ross, it's the elected official in Sacramento like Concord's state Senator mark DeSaulnier and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. Although they enjoy union support in their elections, they've apparently been passing the message through back channels that the Bay Area couldn't handle another strike—and that the unions can't count on their support.
The Best Way To Find Out What Will Happen?
Bay Area: Twitter
Winner: The Central Market tax breaks.