Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Who is Getting Hurt?
There have been sooo many political issues during the last month to ponder that it has been difficult to write a consolidation/distillation of where we are heading and what logic there is for it.
Today we have several lines coming together in a perfect storm of events.
The beginning of Obamacare (ACA) has seen the web sites have so many people trying to get in that they are having a problem getting into the information. Simultaneously the Congress has not created a Continuing Resolution to fund the government so there is a shut down of the Federal Government. In just over two weeks there is fight looming about the Debt Ceiling and yet another period of uncertainty over our national credibility and credit rating. This is an amazing period.
The Teapublicans do not, repeat, do not want you to get ACA coverage because once you do there will be no going back. Obamacare will be a political reality for the foreseeable future. Yet the Teapublicans are willing to fall on their sword to prevent it from happening despite the fact that they cannot unfund it with their antics. The polls show that the majority of people want the ACA to go into effect. The Teapublicans have used the tactic of attaching every bizarre idea on their agenda to the Continuing Resolution and sending the resulting bill to the Senate where it is dead on arrival. Normal would be to send a "clean" bill up without all the nonsense attached to it. The Democrats swat the bill down and send it back in a clean fashion to be voted on again. The Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH), has almost no power because if he puts a clean bill on the floor he will lose his position as Speaker. If Rep. Boehner does allow a clean bill to be voted on there are enough votes that include both Dem's and Repub's that it would pass. From there it would go to the Senate and pass. It then would go on to the President and Barack Obama, in wisdom, would sign it.
But, that is not what is really happening except on the surface. The second thing to happen might play out many different ways. The Debt Ceiling must be increased - This is money that has already been spent and the increase is required to pay the bills, including the interest, must be paid or the Credit Rating of the U.S. will be seriously reduced. Even if you forget how the government works, that is, the Congress produces ALL spending bills (not the President). They authorize the expenditures through the budget process. We spend the money and to have the money available we create debt for all or part of it. We are the owners of most of that debt but so are other countries. Our currency is used as a base currency around the globe. Without our being able to easily raise these needed funds we become a deadbeat nation. There is a provision of the U.S. Constitution that (paraphrased) says that no one shall question the full faith and credit of the country. The ONLY way that continues to happen is to pay our bills. The credit rating companies can and will down grade our rating making it harder to have a smooth running economy.
Further along here is the Political Terrorist mantra at work. If the Dem's cave into the Teapublican demands it would be government by a minority of the minority rather than by the majority. That is unacceptable.
The tactic here is to create a crisis to extract a "negotiated" concession. Follow that with another crisis and "negotiate" a further concession. In this case, one can create a never ending set of crisis's. What we have is a set of polls that say that 72% of the people do not want to have a problem - or a continuing problem - in running the government. The People want to have an end to this crisis... now.
Government by and for the minority of the minority party... what is it about election results don't they get??
The Teapublicans (as opposed to the Republicans) are cheering for the destruction of the government. They want a failure of the government. The Congress in the past has always (except for the Newt Gingrich engineered 1995/6 shut down) voted for the Continuing Resolution AND the Debt Limit Increase as often as required.
What might happen here is that the shut down continues through the next couple of weeks up to the vote for the increase in the debt limit. That would create a huge problem with any "negotiations" - holding a gun to our heads to get your way is completely unacceptable. It is therefore impossible to negotiate with terrorists that have the hammer of continuing to hold that gun to our head even after we solve the current problem by caving into their demands. Terrorists make demands. Criminals holding hostages make demands. Negotiating is not an option. The Teapublicans have made a massive miscalculation here. They believe that their demands will met.
An irony for all this is that the ACA, by law, cannot be de-funded. The Sequester did not do it. The failure to create the Continuing Resolution will not de-fund. The failure to raise the Debt Limit will only make it more expensive to run government and will not de-fund Obamacare. The death of the Republican party is a sad thing to contemplate but it may well happen. Without a viable opposition it will be more difficult to run the country. In the end John Boehner will lose his precious leadership position because in order to keep it he would have to lead.