Government Shutdown

In Canada, Parliament shutting down is now the norm. And why shouldn’t it be? In this majority government, there is no real discussion of ideas anyway. So the Prime Minister just removes any appearance of debate and shuts the place down. But this is certainly not as bad as America’s shutdown, as government services in Canada – national parks, Employment Insurance, scientific research, and taxpayer-funded partisan advertisements for economic programs that no longer exist – still function normally.

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Oh, and regular Nickelback visits.

But the shutdown in America is a different, more scary animal. It will cost the economy billions of dollars and it is resulting in a pretty major headache. But at least it’s for a good reason. Errrrr, maybe not.

The whole shutdown is due to an inability of Republicans (read: small, vocal, insane minority of Republicans) to accept the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly known as Obamacare. The ACA, which passed the House, the Senate, and was signed into law by President Obama, is now the law of the land. It was debated, discussed, and voted on. Obama made massive concessions to Republicans in order to get it passed, and many Democrats voted against it because of that. As a result, the ACA is a watered-down version of healthcare reform. But, still, it is better than the existing healthcare system.

But the major point here being this: the bill went through the democratic process, and it is now law. Healthcare reform was one of the major issues in the 2008 election, which saw Obama cruise to victory, and the ACA was also one of the major issues in the 2012 election, where the populace again gave Obama an easy win.

Never mind that the ACA went through the democratic process. No. The Tea-Party wing of the GOP is so obsessed with overturning the ACA that they forced a shutdown of the United States government.

And talk about picking your battles. This is the first shutdown in 17 years, and it is because the government is trying to give people healthcare benefits. If that doesn’t make sense to you, it’s because it shouldn’t. Sure, there have been illegal wars and government-sanctioned torture programs, but let’s actually get mad because fewer people will go bankrupt due to healthcare costs. I mean, wow.

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The Tea Party claims to be super patriotic, but you really have to question their love of country. They couldn’t get their way in any legitimate or democratic means. So they are now holding the economy hostage in order to overturn a bill that has gone through the democratic process, and will provide more people who need it with healthcare. They want Obama to “negotiate”, but all they want is for their illegitimate demands to be met.

The GOP has no control over this faction, and it has now descended deep into absurdity and insanity. Every day is a new exercise in crazy, and everyone is dumber for having experienced it.

I trust that Obama will not give in to the Tea Party’s demands. He is not about to abandon healthcare reform just because a small group of weirdos have found a way to get weirder. And here’s the good news: people actually get it, and are blaming the GOP for this mess. Some polls suggest that Republican support is evaporating.

This pleases me, but not because I think the Democrats are doing a wonderful job and are full of bright ideas. Hopefully this can be a turning point for the GOP, and they can find a way to separate from the Tea Party. If the GOP returns to some normalcy, so too will the Democrats and so too will the country as a whole. But currently, a small, vocal, radical, and uninformed minority are driving the conversation, making us all worse off because of it.

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3 thoughts on “Government Shutdown

  1. Graeme, this is not about denying people health care. This is about a fundamental principle that says that the government needs to be limited, restrained and controlled, so that it can do the only thing it is good at: killing people. Giving a giant bureaucratic organization like the IRS the power to control people’s health care is not only insane, it is almost a sure fire way to keep people from getting insurance. Since Obamacare became the law of the land, I have lost all hope of ever having health insurance, and my parents are being forced by raising insurance premiums, to drop theirs. Not only is this bad for the average American, but Obama has already broken his own signature law by giving wavers to employers (without Congressional approval) and to Congress (the act in Congress to exempt themselves from Obamacare was opposed by the Tea Party because it was unjust, so Obama did it anyway). The Tea Party is demanding that Obama treat the rest of the United States like he treats himself. He is not included in Obamacare, so neither should we be.
    Frankly, the major problem with the American health care system was too much government involvement. Adding government involvement through the Afordable Care Act is a guaranteed way to make the American health care system much worse. Although I may be an insane minority in the United States (and I doubt it), I wake up with hope every morning the government is “shutdown” because I know finally, someone in this country has the guts and the spine to stand up to the President of the United States and inform him that his will is not law.

    • His will is not law, but the ACA is. Someone should inform the Tea Party.

      The ACA will without question increase the number of people with access to healthcare. There is no denying that. It may fo different things on an individual basis, but there is no argument that, on a macro level, the ACA will give more people healthcare. And so when a group of people tries their hardest to stop that, they deserve the utmost criticism. And it is about denying people healthcare. It’s not of course what the Tea Party thinks it is doing. But it is.

      Look, the ACA has massive flaws. But it is an improvement over the previous system. Government is not the problem in healthcare delivery because the most successful countfies have government-funded universal systems. So while a certain type of government involvement can be a problem, you can’t be do absolute about it. France delivers healthcare far more efficiently than the US, and it is because of government involcement.

      Again, the ACA has massive flaws and falls way short of a universal system. But it is an improvement.

      But the particulars of the ACA wasn’t my main point anyway. You are free to disagree with it, but at some point you have to respect that it has successfully passed two elections, all branches of the government, and the Supreme Court. Debates have already occured; it’s time to start respecting how a democratic process works.

      And like I said, choose your battles. The same critics of the ACA stood idly by (or supported) unjust wars, attacks on civil liberties, and government-sanctioned torture. But now the government is “out of control” because it is trying to help people get healthcare? It makes no sense. It’s misinformed hypocrisy of the highest degree.

      And that the president and Congress are exempt is just a myth. It’s not true.

      This is the law, and it passed through all the channels. Just because the Tea Party doesn’t like it, you can’t just change the rules of the game and hold the rest of the country hostage

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