I think what Republicans are doing with regard to Obamacare and funding the government is asinine.
Their argument is that Obamacare is so bad for the economy that it has to be repealed.
To this end, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives have passed  a temporary funding measure to keep the government running, coupled with a provision to defund Obamacare.
House Republicans think if Democrats in the U.S. Senate don’t just roll over and rubber stamp their bill, the whole nation will blame them for the looming government shutdown the situation creates.
I’m sorry, but that’s just intellectually bankrupt for several reasons.
Reason No. 1: There’s absolutely no way Democrats in the Senate will pass this bill. They will strip the “defund Obamacare” provision out of it and send it back to the House, placing the whole mess firmly in the laps of Republicans.
Reason No. 2: Let’s just say for the sake of argument that the Democrats in the Senate did just roll over and pass the House bill. Then it would go to President Barack Obama’s desk. Now, do you suppose the president is going to sign a bill that defunds his signature legislative achievement?
Reason No. 3: This whole notion of who will get blamed is completely wrongheaded. Do these people not live in this country? Republicans will get blamed. Period.
The other thing I think is really silly about all this is the whole notion of a “government shutdown” which really isn’t a “government shutdown” at all.
All these politicians – Democrats and Republicans – like to talk about how dire it is if that is allowed to happen.
But the truth is, if there was a “government shutdown,” according to the Associated Press, Social Security checks will still go out. Troops will remain at their posts, doctors and hospitals will get their Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. In fact, virtually every essential government agency, like the FBI, the Border Patrol and the Coast Guard, will remain open. Furloughed federal workers probably would get paid, eventually. Transportation Security Administration officers and air traffic controllers would continue to man airports.
That’s what happens if Congress can’t get its act together by Oct. 1. You may remember “government shutdowns” happening in the past. Remember when all those “non-essential” government employees had to stay home when House Speaker Newt Gingrich and President Bill Clinton were battling it out over welfare reform and a balanced budget?
So that’s really not the end of the world. The government doesn’t really shut down.
The big trouble is in late October or early November when Congress is obligated to raise the debt limit.
The consequences of that not happening are pretty grim indeed.
The U.S. credit rating could get downgraded – again – making borrowing costs spike upward; there would be upheaval in the financial markets and delays in government payments to lots of individuals and entities.
Historically, raising the debt ceiling has been mostly a formality. Congress just rubber-stamped it because it just had to be done.
Lately, Republicans have been linking it to a reduction in spending. They want to claim some moral high ground here, but if the debt ceiling doesn’t get raised, that’s just wrong.
I’ve often said issues like these things should not be boiled down to “right” or “left.”
It’s more an issue of right and wrong. By that I mean is the policy right for Americans or wrong for Americans? Regardless of whose idea it is, it’s wrong to threaten the financial health of the nation over politics.
At the same time, there’s plenty of evidence that Obamacare is a drag on the economy, that it’s causing legions of workers to have their hours cut to part time, that it’s driving up the cost of health care and health care insurance, and that it’s helping cause a shortage of doctors.
And, almost unbelievable to me, according to a summer analysis in the journal Health Affairs, 30 million Americans will not have insurance coverage under Obamacare.
Here’s candidate Obama during a debate in the 2008 Democrat primary when he was against a mandate to buy health insurance:
“My health plan does not leave 15 million people uncovered. There are legitimate arguments for why Clinton and others have called for a mandate, and I’m happy to have that debate. But the notion that I am leaving 15 million people out somehow implies that we are different in our goals of providing coverage to all Americans, and that is simply not true.”
Under the current health care system in America there are roughly 45 million uninsured.
Comes now Obamacare, leaving 30 million uninsured.
So after all the political wrangling, the turning upside down of one-sixth of the nation’s economy, the trillion-dollar price tag that has tripled before the law is even fully implemented, the increased costs to the insured and employers of the insured, the loss of worker hours, the chill on hiring, $52 billion in new taxes on businesses, $20 billion in new taxes on medical device manufacturers, $27 billion in new taxes on drug makers, 21 state attorneys general filing suit to keep residents from being forced to buy health insurance and 80 million people on Medicaid by 2019, the net effect is to insure 15 million people.
There was no better way to pull that off? It’s senseless. Right for Americans? No way.
So here’s my advice to politicians. Let your political adversaries own their policies.
Let Obama own Obamacare. How can he not? It has his name on it.
My hope is that Obamacare turns out to be the greatest, most efficient government program ever. My best guess is that it will be a train wreck.
But either way, let Obama and the Democrats own it.
Threatening to bankrupt the government to stop Obamacare smacks of two wrongs trying to making a right. It just doesn’t happen.
I’ve seen it happen time and time again. One party or another gains control and goes crazy, passing dumb policies that eventually get them in trouble with the voters.
Then the pendulum swings the other way, the other party takes control and we repeat the process.
These things always have a way of shaking out in the end, but wouldn’t it be nice if politicians once in a while could just go for right and wrong instead of right and left?