Don Roach: OMG! The Government Shuts Down!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013


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We interrupt your regularly scheduled newscast to tell you that the United States Government HAS SHUT DOWN!!!

Hide the women and children because anarchy is coming to a local government office near you!!


I’m only half-kidding, but I’ve been talking about the fiscal cliff and government shutdown forever and low and behold we’re here.

Government Shutdown, what it means

Ok, so if you’re like me, you want to know what governmental services are affected by the shutdown. Will we continue to receive our mail? Yep, the United States Postal Service is self-funded and we’ll still receive our mail. However, about 800,000 employees in the Department of Education, the Center for Disease Control, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy, and on and on will not be working while the government is shut down.

Federally funded grant programs from the Education Department could be impacted as well as the US business statistics produced by the Department of Commerce. It appears that most of the Department of Defense employees – the ones keeping us safe here at home and across the glove – should continue to receive their pay. Keyword: most.

As for our Congressmen and women, they’ll continue to be paid during the shutdown. If the shutdown lingers for more than a few days, I believe we’ll see some of the ripple effects, but many governmental agencies will continue to provide services albeit there may be significant delays.

We’ll get a chance to test the theory about how much big government we need during this time, and I’m very interested to see the results. But, while we’re watching we really can’t forget about the thousands of people who don’t have a job because our politicians can’t agree.

Speaking of…

Blame game abounds

Just listen to a few quotes from our esteemed political leaders.

“Government is closed, because of the irrationality of what is going on on the other side of the Capitol” – Senate Majority leader Harry Reid.

““The House has done its work.” — Speaker of the House John Boehner.

“Democratic leaders in Congress finally have their prize: A government shutdown that no one seems to want but them.” — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

And my personal favorite…

“It’s very hard from a distance to figure out who has lost their minds. One party, the other party, all of us, the president.” - Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill

It’s no wonder these guys couldn’t come together and find a solution. But what’s more, I don’t really see an end in sight. The House wants to revisit Obamacare, well revisit is a misnomer they would like to defund it or at the very least restructure it so that it doesn’t affect Americans and businesspeople the way they believe it will.

In the other house, Senate Democrats aren’t budging on their opinion to not defund or do anything about Obamacare.

Who’s right?

Better question, who cares? Neither party has made the case to the American people that their position is what is best for America. Instead, they’re blaming members of the other party and telling us that they’re evil. So evil in fact that they want to force your health care premiums up so that you can’t afford them or so evil that they will allow Americans to go without health insurance.

And on and on…round and round it goes.

Our president isn’t any help either. Here’s what he said yesterday:

"They're shutting down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health care to many Americans. They are demanding ransom just for doing their job. This Republican shutdown did not have to happen."

This is what passes for leadership today? There’s only one thing he said that seems true to me. Republicans are on an “ideological crusade” against Obamacare. But last time I checked, this is America -  a place where we applaud people for living by ideals. This is the same President who said, “we consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values.”

So why is he haranguing the Republicans who are sticking to their ideals?

Ah, their ideals aren’t his so they don’t deserve the same amount of respect or applause. Seems like we’ve heard that before from those who are of a ‘liberal’ mindset, no?

But it’s not just the Democrats who are at fault for this mess. My fellow Republican brethren have done a piss-poor job of explaining to the American people why they have decided to draw the line in the sand right now and reform Obamacare. They too, are falling into partisan trappings and when both parties do that – voila – government shutdown

My solution

I’m not going to leave you with just the bad because that would be doing exactly what our leaders in Congress are doing. Instead, I’m going to offer a suggestion to both sides, come back to the bargaining table. Obama and Democrats are going to have to give a little on Obamacare. There is no way around this. House Republicans aren’t going to budge from their position that it must be reexamined and quite honestly when you have a President who says, “I guarantee you, there will be problems” [full disclosure: click the link for the entire quote] Republican concerns shouldn’t be ignored.

At the same time, Republicans are going to have to admit that Obamacare, gulp, is here to stay unless and until there is a majority in the Senate. There is no chance in h-e-double-hockey-sticks that this Senate is going to defund Obamacare no matter how long the government is shut down. Republicans need to come to the table willing to compromise, willing to give on defunding to get changes to the law.

It’s not rocket science, but “spoiled”  Congressmen and women do not appear to have the propensity to look beyond their own ideals to see that a government shut down harms many Americans and makes us look like fools.

They need to wake up, smell the coffee, and compromise on this issue. But, I’m not holding my breath as we wait.

Don Roach can be reached at [email protected].


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