Government Shutdown… Countdown to Default…
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“Stop being Democrats and Stop being Republicans and start being American’s” these words were uttered by the Fisher House Foundations chairmen in a public statement today in a direct message to congress. The Fisher House Foundation describes themselves as being best known for their network of comfort homes built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers nationwide and in Europe. Their mission objective is to provide support for the brave men and women who have served our country and their families; something that congress as of late has failed to do. This is why in a historic move they have stepped in during our current government shutdown to provide support for the families of 4 fallen army rangers who were K.I.A over the weekend in Afghanistan. The Fisher Foundation is proving itself to be one of America’s most valued charities; their operations are almost completely supported by generous donations from the public. They were, however, most notably the recipient of President Obama’s Nobel Prize award money, and since the news that they will step in and pay the death benefits for these fallen soldiers they have seen their total donations rise by a total of 2000%. Upon this news reverberating through the political airwaves, members of the House of Representatives did a rare thing … they actually held a vote. Even more astonishing than this is perhaps how quickly they were able to pass a unanimous motion. While this seems like a good sign as to the revival of our democracy, in actuality it was simply another round of congressional hot potato. This quick passage of bills and half measures are just a Band-Aid to a much larger problem; the government shutdown has now begun our countdown to default. With the wounds from the current congressional melee now obvious, they are but a scratch compared to the fatal blow that is to come, for we have but seven days before our nation defaults for the first time in its history.
This latest government shutdown has now lasted over 1 week. Furloughed employees sit sidelined as the Republican members of the house watch their approval rating drop to a historic low 28%, according to a recent gallop poll. This low approval rating is perhaps the reason why House Republicans have attempted to associate the blame for this current default on President Obama. However, it would be irresponsible journalism not to point out that many of the Republican caucus members actually campaigned on the notion of a government shutdown and it is only the Republican leadership who now refuse to put a clean “C.R” up for a vote. John Boehner along with Ted Cruz and his allies in the tea party have repeatedly asked President Obama for some sort of yet unspecified compromise on The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). While compromise is the essence of democracy, the way our system of checks and balances has thus far been established, it is to be established during vote procedures within congress. The affordable care act, or Obamacare, went up for a revisal vote some 40 times before it was finally voted into law, and now since becoming law has already positively affected hundreds of thousands if not millions of Americans. Negotiating this law further could result in any positive benefits gained by Obamacare to be squandered, and the confusion which sprouts from Washington is echoed to its citizens.
The events in this latest government shutdown have made me wonder if the Republican Party realizes the precedence it would set if a faction within a minority party was able to break our system of democracy. What would this precedence mean for any political party in the future? Also, what exactly is the republican endgame in this situation… meaning what do they hope to gain, if anything? At this point there are no positive scenarios for bringing about an end to the current congressional showdown from either a democratic or a republican perspective. Amending Obamacare seems an afterthought as the current law is only a shadow of what it could have been; the current single payer plan is in its origin a Republican plan. Surely voting on the plan would result the same way the last 40 or so votes went, with the contentious law emerging victorious. So really what is the purpose of toying with the full faith and credit of the United States of America, not to mention the countless lives now being affected by our nation’s current string of Sequesters, Furloughs, and Shutdowns? I can see no point either political or logical for the continuation of their futile debate. For the Republican Party and all their future prospects, 2014 seems a quickly approaching nightmare as they have even lost the support of big business insiders who normally align themselves with this usually conservative party such as the Koch Brothers. In a public memo also released today the Koch Brothers stated “Congress should focus on these efforts: balancing the budget, tightening and cutting government spending, curbing cronyism, and eliminating market-distorting subsidies and mandates.” With each passing day our country losses 1.2 billion in expected sales tax revenue, money which is vitally needed if we are ever going to be able to pay off our astoundingly high 17 trillion dollar deficit. With no options and less support for their increasingly inane fight it’s time for the Republican members of the house and their leadership to give way to a vote. For it is only then when each elected official has chosen to stand on one side clearly either for or against the shutdown that “We the People” of the United States of America will be completely sure as to who to vote out of office.
The Republican Party is banking on our collective stupidity, they’re hoping that the American people are as misinformed as their “polling” or an episode of “Jaywalking” would indicate. I’m hoping that we prove them wrong. I hope that Americans remember just who was affected by this government shutdown; not just the furloughed Federal employees but the communities in which they live and help to enrich. I hope they remember the science being lost, at places like NASA, and the CDC as we enter the flu (and asteroid) season. I hope the public remembers the Republican Party’s unanimous cry for a shutdown, the “Cruz” filibuster, and the way this party tried to “shrink our government to a size they could drown in the bathtub. And I sincerely hope the more than 800,000 furloughed employees return to work soon, and that congress is made to compensate them out of their own pay for forcing them to become temporarily unemployed. I also hope that when the 2014 elections come around, those employees can take part in making the republican members of the House of Representatives permanently unemployed as we the people will surely deem them non-essential. But until that day folks, I hope Logic will Prevail.