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  1. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Government Shutdown (US)

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by EdFromNY, Oct 1, 2013.

    Well, it looks like I'm going to have some free time this week, thanks to the hacks hard by the Potomac. You would think that even card-carrying members of the I-want-what-I-want-when-I-want-it generation would recall that everything about the US system of government, from the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution to the New Deal to Obamacare has been based on compromise. In a representative democracy, how could it be otherwise?

    But neither side - and let me repeat that: neither side - in this mess was interested in working to achieve a solution. It is very true that the republican-controlled House was talking shutdown weeks ago, and intended that as a threat to get what they could not achieve through negotiation. And as soon as the senate passed a Continuing Resolution (more about that in a moment) that was different from the one passed by the House, a Conference Committee should have been formed to work out the differences. Instead, the House passed the same bill again and the Senate, seeing poll numbers that showed the American people, by a margin of 59%-19% (the rest being undecided), would blame the republicans for any shutdown, decided to make political hay and so passed their same bill, and the two versions were batted back and forth multiple times until the clock ran out at midnight last night.

    Now, about that Continuing Resolution: congress has had all year to put together an appropriations bill for FY 2014 (which began today). They failed. A CR is merely a continuation of current levels of funding until congress can get around to doing its job. And because congress did not meet the deficit reduction targets it had set for itself nearly two years ago, the US government has been in a Sequester for a year, with across-the-board spending reductions that allow congress to avoid responsibility for any specific programs being cut - "Executive branch, nothing to do with me!" Congress excels at not doing its job.

    Republicans don't like Obamacare. Well, I don't much like it, either. A much more rational, efficient and effective measure would have been single-payor, structured much the same way Medicare is - a government program managed through private carriers. But the democrats didn't have the votes for that, so this is what we got. Now, the republicans have tried to overturn what they themselves helped pass, and it turns out they don't have the votes, either. In a democracy, when you don't have the votes, you live with it.

    According to the latest polls, Congress has an approval rating of 10% (lowest in history). And yet more than 90% are able to win re-election. The US has lost the ability to govern itself.
     
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  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    "Both sides", sorry not buying it unless you think government by a minority isn't worth standing up against.

    You say you'd like single payer, so would I. The Affordable Care Act is full of bipartisan compromises including mandatory coverage which was initially a Republican proposal. Yet when it was added, it became something the Republicans were suddenly against.

    The Republicans complained the Senate wouldn't pass the zero-increases budget the House had submitted. After 'negotiations' failed, the Senate passed the budget the House had proposed, the one without a single increase the Democrats had tried to get. No compromise.

    Then a couple TEA Party extremists got going on this nonsense of demanding the ACA be stopped, later they backed down to 'delayed for a year'. And one can imagine this very public extremist position is great for fundraising.

    The extremists are holding out here because if they fail, they got nothing. If you are in the minority and you are bent on winning (as opposed to compromising), but you can't win fairly, what do they have to lose by trying extortion?

    If the Democrats and Obama allow it, just like giving in to your screaming child you've said no to, or paying those hostage takers a couple million, it only results in the extortion tactic being repeated.


    Interesting, now I'm hearing new wording, "a one year delay on the fines for the mandate". That's interesting. I wonder if a new talking points memo has been passed out, or this guy misspoke? I can see some Democratic movement if that's the face saving token. The R's will know they really failed, but the campaign donation spigot won't shut off completely, a win win. The fines for not getting mandatory health insurance the first year? It's a $95 extra tax or 1% on one's income. It goes higher over three years.

    Hmmm, the House sent just "delay the mandate" over to the Senate (wrong wording, needs to say keep the mandate but delay the fine) and it also had whatever that nonsense is about excluding Congressional staff members. I don't know what that's about. Reid is voting to table, aka reject it. The vote count is just beginning but predicted to pass.

    Here's what I think one should listen for. Notice the language change by the R's from "delaying the ACA" to "delaying the mandate" that has already occurred. Listen for the language to change from "delaying the mandate" to "delaying the fine."


    Well my opinion is, if the Democrats either allow a token face saving or just refuse to give in, I support them. We cannot have a country run by a minority of extremists that have the ability to strangle the process. And lest you think the TEA Party really represents half the country, take a closer look at the real numbers of votes when you take the gerrymandering out of the count.
     
  3. Morgan Willows
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    Morgan Willows Member

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    I can't help feeling that this situation is like a kid losing at Monopoly so he throws all the pieces off the board, tosses it into a corner, and storms off to his room, all the while screaming about how unfair it is that the other players won't just roll over and let him win. They're saying "You're not letting us win everything so we're just going to take our ball and go home." so they can point fingers and go "Look what they made us do!" It's a wounded gazelle gambit if I ever saw one.

    I've seen so much flip-flopping and just plain spitefulness over the last few years, it's ridiculous. I've babysat ten-year-olds who are more capable of negotiating than these so-called adults.
    R: "Our plan is a good plan!"
    D: "Hey, that is a good plan, let's use it."
    R: "Wait, no! You're not supposed to agree! It's a dumb plan and we hate it and you're a bad person for saying it should be used!"

    W... T... F

    I can't trust people who can't be consistent and I don't want people in charge that I can't trust especially when those people have a habit of trying to punish me for not being born rich. As far as I'm concerned, the whole thing needs to be dismantled and rebuilt because what we have is clearly NOT working and hasn't been working for nearly a decade.
    I know it's not going to happen but, hey, I can dream.
     
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  4. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Of course it is. As soon as the president and the senate start actually standing up to it, please let me know. Assisting in provoking a government shutdown does not qualify.

    Everyone in Washington knew this was coming. Who took steps to stop it? No one. Where was Congress half the summer? On vacation. Any appropriations bills passed? Nope. Any effort at developing a cohesive budget? Nope. Why? Because there is (and will continue to be until 2021) a "sequester" in place that makes all the hard choices for them, so no one has to stand up and say, "Well, yeah, I...um...helped gut the funding for (fill in the blank)".

    And where has Obama been? Taking a powder, just as he did during the gun control debate. Then, he limited himself to small, "feel-good" events. This time, he sat back and let his press secretary issue pronunciamentos about how we won't tolerate blackmail. Contrast that to 1981, when Congress was locked in a battle with Reagan over his proposed across-the-board tax cuts. Reagan went on television and laid out in very simple terms what was at stake and that Congress was trying to frustrate what the majority of the American people had elected him to do, and he asked people to call their representatives and tell them to vote for the tax cuts. Which they did. And the tax cuts passed. Obama had an even stronger case to make, because the people elected him after he made universal health care his signature issue, he delivered on it, and then they re-elected him after it had passed. But, no.

    Harry Reid also could have done more, not only through a more active senate agenda but also in forcing the convening of a conference committee. But he chose not to, specifically because he assumed his party would get more political mileage out of a shutdown. He may be right, and that will only deepen the effects of this disease.

    From where I sit, the only one who has shown any independence and sense of duty in all this is Rep. Peter King, and then only because he wants to be president and knows that the Tea Party will be the death of the Republican Party.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2013
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  5. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Both sides certainly bear responsibility. I think the GOP House bears more of the responsibility, but they're both playing politics, and I don't think anyone other than the die-hard party faithful who are always in lockstep with whatever their chosen party officials decide would say otherwise.

    You're right @EdFromNY that Reid could have done more. In fact, I don't think it is by accident that they let the weekend go by taking no action so they could send the clean Bill back to the House at basically a last minute. Also, the Senate/White House position all along has been 'our way or the highway,' which isn't conducive to getting this done. On the other side, the GOP is just making matter worse by their actions trying to defund or delay the ACA, and even though they say they've been the side to offer a compromise, while that may be technically true to their way of thinking, when you start where they did (defunding), offering to compromise by coming back with a year long delay isn't really a meaningful attempt at compromise. It was "compromise" in name only, and was part of their strategy all along.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Also, I should note that the Senate, led by Reid, rejected the idea of going into conference committee to try to resolve this, which I think is a mistake and more politics (i.e. they believe, probably rightly, that the GOP is going to be hurt more by the shutdown and so the Senate has less incentive to work with them).
     
  7. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    The republicans have mad a tactical blunder in that they should have just given Obama enough rope to hang himself. Obamacare is unpopular and is going to be the an atrocious, hurtful program for the middle class. The republicans are consistently against Obamacare and yet the democrats walk around like they have a mandate.

    Like what has already been said, once the democrats did their polling data, they had no intention of finding a solution.
     
  8. chicagoliz
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  9. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Like I said, the party faithful are going to be pushing that viewpoint. :)
     
  10. TessaT
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    TessaT Contributing Member

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    I should note first and foremost that I hate politics. Why? Because it's really just a bunch of spoiled grown adults that are looking to line their pockets and help 'their party' instead of helping what REALLY matters... the people. This country is screwed up, and I don't think that there's anything that can really make it better. The small are walked on, while the large are made even larger. No one who has the title 'President' will ever do a good enough job, because they've been handed such a crap shoot. It's BOTH sides fault, along with each and every single member of Congress. If politicians would grow up, stop being greedy, close-minded bastards... something might eventually get done. Until then, we're all along for the ride.

    That aside, I heard Finland is a nice place to live.
     
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  11. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    Wow, you think it's all the republicans fault and then you link to a liberal opinion piece to support your liberal position. Didn't see that coming.

    This is just politics as usual.

    Since a new budgeting process was put into place in 1976, the U.S. government has shut down 17 times. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan each dealt with six shutdowns during their terms in office, lasting anywhere from one day to 2 1/2 weeks.

    And to put it in perspective, a Pew Research poll conducted Sept. 19-22 shows 39% of Americans would blame Republicans if a shutdown were to occur, compared with 36% who would fault the Obama administration and 17% who would hold both sides responsible.
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Did you miss the 21 hour stall by Cruz? :confused:

    As for all the negotiating that could have happened, yadda yadda, that's only in the Republican talking points. The whole budget was the Republican's that the Democrats finally gave up trying for any compromise and gave them everything in it. It's why the "clean bill" is a short term budget. That's when the R's added this new demand to reverse the ACA law.

    "Our way or the highway" means refusing the last absolutely ridiculous demand, it's a big lie there were no D compromises in that budget.

    I'll see if I can find some more specifics. But I fail to see how anyone thinks the D's have refused to compromise and the R's have not.
     
  13. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    And yet, according to the polling data, they do.
     
  14. chicagoliz
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    The Atlantic is not considered a "Liberal" magazine. The piece itself is not all that liberal, and cites other pieces by writers who are not liberal. What, specifically, in the piece do you disagree with?
     
  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Nope. In fact, my in-box has been carpet-bombed by requests for contributions by the DCCC ever since.

    I hate this expression almost as much as "Whatever". We're writers, we can do better. We can expound (and now back to our regularly scheduled program)...

    Gee, I haven't been called a Republican in a long time. And for good reason.

    If the Senate passed an actual budget (as opposed to a revision of the Continuing Resolution) I'd be interested to see it. I'm not aware of any. And the bottom line is that the Senate did not seek to refer to a Conference Committee, which is the prescribed manner for dealing with any differences in bills passed by the House and Senate. And, as is already well documented in the press, that was the result of a conscious decision based upon political calculation.

    @JJ_Maxx - you and me on the same side of an issue (or at least the description of the landscape)? There's hope for the world yet. I will disagree with only one thing you said above (hey, you knew there'd be something), and that is that if the Democrats assumed they had a mandate, it was a pretty fair assumption: Obama campaigned on universal health care in 2008 and won. The legislation passed both houses and was signed into law. It survived a Supreme Court challenge in an opinion written by the Court's conservative Chief Justice. The Republicans made the new law a central issue in the 2012 campaign and Obama won re-election anyway, and by a comfortable margin. Sounds like a mandate to me.

    Just to summarize - I'm not saying the Republicans are right in this. I'm saying they're not the only ones who are wrong. And, Liz, the article you cite addresses none of the specifics I raised earlier. It actually serves only as a lightweight description with no prescriptives at all.
     
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  16. GingerCoffee
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    ... I fail to see how, I did not say I fail to see that they do. People believe the sound bites, they soak up what fits their confirmation bias, and many (most?) rarely look deeper to find the actual facts. What boggles my mind is how easily people believe the propaganda version of reality.

    @Ed I never called you a Republican. [I could insert a comment about we're writers, we should read more carefully, but such a comment would not further the discussion so I won't.]
     
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  17. EdFromNY
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    Sadly - and this is the heart of the problem - the vast majority of the American people are far more interested in Miley Cyrus' latest video than they are in what they're government is doing to them.
     
  18. JJ_Maxx
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    *sigh* Really? Do I have to do this? Can't you just accept your bias and stand by it proudly instead of pretending to stand on some faux-moderate platform?

    The Atlantic is considered a progressive/liberal magazine. This isn't really news to anyone. They have a slant just like any other political rag.

    As Ed has pointed out, this statement in the article...

    ...is just one-sided theatrics. As other people have said, neither party is looking out for the American people. They are all looking out for their party and any opportunity to attack the other party.
     
  19. JJ_Maxx
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    This. Low-information voters are a blight in our nation.
     
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  20. GingerCoffee
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    That's an insightful piece:
     
  21. EdFromNY
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    Really? Then why hasn't said party split apart? Peter King tried to rally a moderate segment in the House and failed. If moderate Republicans - which is what I once was - were so completely offended by the Tea Party, why don't they have the courage of their convictions and vote with the Democrats to move on to a more rational budget negotiation?

    Why? For the same reason the Democrats stood by and watched the government get shut down - as the result of political calculation.

    And, btw, this:
    is what I call a failure of journalism.
     
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  22. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    As an outsider I've only just been hearing a vague, poorly informed version of this story. I understand what's going on thanks to American news outlets, but the way people are talking about it over here you'd think it was about time Great Britain had the right to ask for her colonies back. :p
     
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  23. EdFromNY
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    Not to hit this one too hard, @Lemex, but I'd think you guys have more than enough to keep you busy.:D
     
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  24. GingerCoffee
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    @Ed/@JJ: Re the Republican Party split

    Really? If Boehner let the House vote, it has been said there are enough votes to pass the budget.

    Boston Globe - Shutdown fight reveals deeper splits within GOP
    Rove should have been more careful what he wished for. After courting these right wing extremists' votes, he got them a tad more riled up than he wanted. (Note Rove's current public comments rejecting the extremists' positions and tactics. It's a reversal from his days leading the GOP campaign strategy.) The more extreme ideologues started running for office.

    Fast forward: And now you have a GOP split that is festering.
     
  25. EdFromNY
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    Not in so many words, but you characterized one of my arguments - that the Democrats did not negotiate - as a "Republican talking point".

    Also, I would point out that there is a significant difference between saying that the shutdown has revealed deeper splits in the GOP and saying that it has been caused by the split in the GOP. I would agree with former, but certainly not the latter. Personally, if I were Boehner, I would sit down and cut my own deal with the Democrats and send the Tea Partiers to the skating rink the fast way, thereby setting the stage to return the party to the political center, which is the only place from which they will ever have a hope of sending someone to the White House. Alas, Mr. Boehner does not have the cojones for such a move.
     
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