Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Shutdown

More than 15 days ago, the Republican-led House of Representatives shut down the U.S. Government over their unwavering disapproval of the Affordable Care Act (ie. Obamacare).

Ironically, their decision to shut down our government is costing us more, and doing far worse damage, than their assumptions of Obamacare would have.

Although it is true that Republican members of Congress put forward bills to reopen the government, their proposals have all insisted that President Obama first make concessions on a 3-year-old law: a law that Congress passed, the President signed, the Supreme Court upheld, and the American people support (the last election overwhelmingly proved this).

Major provisions of Obamacare have been closely modeled after Republican ideas - a private-sector, free-market solution that encourages individuals to take more responsibility for their personal lives. It is not a government-run, single-payer system, but one that creates competition in the health insurance market. It gives the uninsured, under-insured, and insured the choice of choosing multiple insurance companies, who will now compete for these people’s business, which will, in turn, lead to lower premiums, lower costs, greater efficiency, better care, and an improved industry.

Yet, regardless of how they feel about Obamacare, Republican leaders have no right to hold our entire economy at hostage. Because shutting down the government is not how you make the government work. We have a lot of issues to fix, but that’s all on hold because the government is closed and we’re on the verge of default.

The President has time and time again proven his ability and willingness to negotiate and compromise, even when members of his own party disapprove. But his decision to stand up for democracy and refuse any deal that would reopen the government at the expense of paying a “ransom” is the right one.

“Think about it this way, the American people do not get to demand a ransom for doing their jobs. You don't get a chance to call your bank and say I'm not going to pay my mortgage this month unless you throw in a new car and an Xbox. In the same way, members of Congress, and the House Republicans in particular, don't get to demand ransom in exchange for doing their jobs. And two of their very basic jobs are passing a budget and making sure that America's paying its bills. They don't also get to say, you know, unless you give me what the voters rejected in the last election, I'm going to cause a recession.

And you know, I've heard Republicans suggest that, well, no, this is reasonable, that this is entirely appropriate. But as I've said before, imagine if a Democratic Congress threatened to crash the global economy unless a Republican president agreed to gun background checks or immigration reform. I think it's fair to say that Republicans would not think that was appropriate.” 

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