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U.S. Government Shuts Down
Tuesday, 2013 October 1 - 8:13 am
Here we go again.

Much like in 1995, Congress has shut down the federal government by refusing to pass a continuing resolution to fund its operations. In 1995 the conflict was largely over the Republicans' desire to cut Medicare. This time, it's all about a minority faction of the House, the Tea Party, and their continuing obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").

Some facts about the shutdown:
  • Among the affected will be active duty military personnel, who will see delays in getting paychecks.
  • This will do nothing to reduce the deficit; in fact, the act of shutting down and restarting government operations will cost billions of dollars.
  • This will do nothing to halt Obamacare.
So a shutdown accomplishes no Republican political priorities, it hurts Republican as well as Democratic constituents, and a large number of Republicans are against the idea. It is fifty or so Tea Party Republicans in the house that are holding the other 485 members of the House and Senate hostage until we appease their tantrums over Obamacare. (I don't think "tantrum" is an overstatement.) This is an outrageous upending of the democratic political process.

Why do John Boehner and mainstream Republicans go along with this? Because in the gerrymandered House districts in their states, they are terrified of Tea Party opposition in their re-election primaries, and they can't beat Democratic opponents without Tea Party support.

I predict that the mainstream GOP will cave on the issue and pass a funding bill without ties to Obamacare. If Boehner is smart, he will try to negotiate on some other point, like tax and spending reductions, but he will leave Obamacare off the table. He will infuriate some Tea Party Republicans and may in fact lose his chair as Speaker of the House, but at some point Republicans will surely come to understand that their job is to provide a functioning government for the people.

My sincere hope is that this event will end up fracturing the Tea Party from the Republican party as a whole; and that either the Tea Party will wither away and die, or that the Tea Party will be the new conservative opposition party and that mainstream Republicans en masse will defect to the Democratic party instead.

Please write to your Congressional representatives to tell them to stop acting like children.
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Posted by Ken in: politics


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