An example of this realization hitting home can be seen in Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, whose position on the debt-ceiling crisis has changed. Until recently, he had been an outspoken opponent of raising the limit. Then, when an analysis of the consequences revealed that his state would be one of the ones hardest hit if the federal government defaulted — and that it might even lose its AAA bond rating — he changed both his mind and his tune.
In Alabama, we are beginning to learn of necessary things that might not be done if the federal government does not reach a debt-limit solution before next Tuesday’s deadline.
Calhoun County, as illustrated in a Star story on Wednesday, has a sizeable list of employers — Anniston Army Depot and the Center for Domestic Preparedness, for example — who rely on federal jobs and projects and are paying attention to the ongoing crisis.
It’s a perfect example of what happens in Washington having real-world effects here at home.
Now understand, the federal government has money. It is not broke. However, if the debt ceiling is not raised, what money it has will in large measures go to existing creditors to delay default as long as it can. Thus, money will not be available to spend on roads, bridges, research and weather satellites.
Yes, weather satellites. They were singled out by President Obama during his Monday night speech as one of the specific areas that might not be funded if the crisis’ worst outcome isn’t averted.
And Alabama needs weather satellites.
Weather satellites helped predict the tornadoes that hit the state in April. Although many lives were lost, there surely would have been more deaths and injuries if the satellites currently in place had not been there.
However, officials say the existing system needs to be replaced with a better, more accurate one — a low-orbit satellite system that would enhance meteorologists’ ability to predict storms and, in turn, save more lives in the future.
If the debt ceiling is not raised, and if the nation goes into default, a new satellite system would likely be a low priority.
Think of what that would cost Alabama.