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Brief Thoughts on the Looming Government Shutdown

Republican ElephantI've had a busy week, skipping or working through lunch breaks, so I didn't have much time to devote to this blog. But there's something going on in the news right now that I couldn't resist mentioning - what in the hell is wrong with Republicans?

There's a simple problem with a simple solution. If Congress doesn't authorize government spending, then the government can't spend money on many programs, and many parts of government will get shut down. If that happens, many peole would be affected, from the employees who wouldn't be getting their paychecks, to citizens who wouldn't be getting certain services (for example, the parks would shut down, and passports would cease to be issued). Depending on how long the shutdown lasted, it could have significant effects on the already slow economic recovery (read more - CNN - How a shutdown could affect the economy). So, the simple solution is to pass a resolution to keep the government funded, even if it's only temporary, and let the politicians hash out their disagreements later in the normal manner with the government still running.

But Republicans, at least of the Tea Party variety, have chosen this as an opportunity to hold the government and the economy hostage, all because of the Affordable Care Act. It's crazy. The Affordable Care Act was passed through the regular democratic process. It was voted on by duly elected representatives and became law. The House has made numerous failed attempts to repeal the law. And even if they want to continue efforts to repeal the law, this sure as hell isn't the time, place, or manner to do it. I mean, it's not as if the Democrats are pushing some new law they want to get passed, or a law they don't like that they want to get repealed. They're not using this as an opportunity for enhanced gun control laws. They're simply doing the responsible thing, trying to keep the government funded. Why are Republicans setting an ultimatum that has nothing to do with the issue at hand?

I'm reminded of a quote by Mike Lofgren concerning the previous debt ceiling debate that I included in my entry, Thoughts from a Retired Republican:

Everyone knows that in a hostage situation, the reckless and amoral actor has the negotiating upper hand over the cautious and responsible actor because the latter is actually concerned about the life of the hostage, while the former does not care. This fact, which ought to be obvious, has nevertheless caused confusion among the professional pundit class, which is mostly still stuck in the Bob Dole era in terms of its orientation. For instance, Ezra Klein wrote of his puzzlement over the fact that while House Republicans essentially won the debt ceiling fight, enough of them were sufficiently dissatisfied that they might still scuttle the deal. Of course they might - the attitude of many freshman Republicans to national default was "bring it on!"

Now, I realize that Democrats are by no means perfect, but can't we as a nation decide to get rid of these Tea Party clowns and get some responsible, reasonable people back in charge of the government?

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maybe this will lead to more sustainable government spending

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