Readers have no doubt have heard all the blaming back and forth about the government shutdown and the approaching debt limit crisis. One line of argument that caught my ear was the complaint from House Republicans that President Obama refuses to negotiate with them. In fact, the latest talking point is that he will negotiate with Iran or Russia about Syria, but not with the House of Representatives.
Negotiation involves give and take. Both sides give up something they want or already have in exchange for getting something from the other side. Now, the current debate revolves around a refusal to fund the government (and according to what Republicans are saying refusing to raise the debt limit in about a week) unless the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is defunded or, at least, scaled back or delayed. My question is this: What are the Republicans giving up in this situation? John Boehner, speaker of the House, has frequently stated that they do not want to shut down the government or default on our debt. That means that a vote by Republicans to fund the government or increase the debt limit is not giving up something they want. I repeat, what are they giving up?
As far as I can tell the answer is nothing. They want concessions in exchange for doing something they want to do anyway. This is not a negotiation. Some Democrats have called it extortion. That seemed awfully harsh until I looked up the definition: “The crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority.” It’s not a perfect description but it’s pretty close.
So, it’s not a negotiation at all. Why would President Obama cooperate in an extortion scheme? Especially one that will likely be repeated every time we bump up against our borrowing limit.
Reactionaries lose again
God’s will is done this day! The GOP jihad against the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is collapsing of its own fundamental hypocrisy, dishonesty and the extremism of its antagonists. The reactionaries have failed again, just like they always have through the history of this great nation.
Reactionaries told us slaves didn’t want freedom, and women were too emotional to be allowed to vote. Reactionaries said African Americans could not be educated, expected to serve their country and benefited under segregation. The told us the Viet Cong were coming to the West Coast, Medicare, Social Security and Zip codes were a socialist plot, and turning the canal over to the Panamanians would be a disaster.
The reactionaries said Reagan would balance the budget with tax cuts and Nelson Mandela would turn South Africa over to the communists and exterminate the white South Africans. They also told us Brother O was born in Kenya, global warming is a hoax, and Americans do not want Obamacare. As of today 8 million citizens have used the online process to inquire and acquire affordable health insurance. The GOP is on the verge of purging their tea party nutballs, just like they did the Birchers after the debacle of 1964. If they can’t learn from their past, why should they govern us in the future? Lead on Brother O.
End the shutdown
Partisan conflict between Republicans and Democrats in Washington is a direct failure of elected officials to provide Americans with a functioning and efficient government. The “shutdown” has kept an estimated 800,000 workers at home without pay. It is time to work out a compromise.
The fact of the matter is House Republicans insist a new budget include provisions defunding, derailing or otherwise chipping away at Obamacare. Most important to Republicans is the individual mandate, and the medical device tax. Each of these will hurt the American people. An individual mandate requires all Americans to purchase health insurance. This strips Americans the right to chose whether they wish to purchase health insurance, not to mention a glaring overreach of the American government.
Secondly, the medical device tax is also problematic. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the device tax will raise over $29 million over the next decade. A 2.3 percent excise tax on the sale of medical devices will push medical manufacturing jobs outside of the United States where taxes are not imposed on these goods.
The last government shutdown was in 1995, lasting 21 days. Find compromise before the “shutdown” diminishes the progress our economy has made in the last four years. The total economic impact is likely to be 10 times greater than the simple calculation of lost wages of federal workers, said Brian Kessler, economist with Moody’s Analytics. His firm estimates that a three- to four-week shutdown would cost the economy about $55 billion.
End the “shutdown” today, and put Americans back to work. The longer this partisan skirmish continues, the more American citizens suffer. Find compromise on an Affordable Care Act that will benefit the American people, excluding the individual mandate and the medical device tax, and end the 800,000 government furloughs.
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