Shutdown for Dummies

 Posted by at 14:44  Politics, Republicans
Oct 022013
 

A fellow by the name of Josh Wimmer posted the following on his Facebook. It is about as clear and as true a summary I have seen anywhere on what is happening right now with the U.S. government. Read it. Share it.

1. This shutdown is not happening because both parties won’t compromise. This shutdown is happening because Republicans in the House of Representatives have refused to pass a budget bill without a bunch of amendments tacked on to it, chiefly amendments nullifying Obamacare.

2. Obamacare is not directly tied to this budget bill in any way. It is a separate piece of legislation, already passed and signed into law back in 2010. The House Republicans are just saying, “We don’t like this law, Obamacare, that was already passed, and because we do not have the votes to repeal it in the manner laid out in the Constitution” — they don’t; they’ve already tried to repeal it 42 times, yes, that is true, 42 times — “we’re going to instead DEMAND that the law be repealed or delayed, or else we won’t pass this budget legislation necessary to keep the country running.”

3. Again, Obamacare was signed into law, in the fashion laid out in the Constitution of the United States, in 2010. It was not, like, laid down by martial law, unless you think a bunch of congresspeople and senators voting for a bill counts as martial law.

4. Also, the president behind Obamacare was reelected in 2012. Also also, in 2012 the Democrats retained control of the Senate, and House Republicans actually lost the popular vote, but stayed in control of their chamber because of shrewd gerrymandering. All of which is to say: If Americans hate Obamacare so much, how come they reelected Obama and voted so strongly for Democrats.

5. Remember that in 2012, the Supreme Court, led by a conservative chief justice and majority, upheld Obamacare’s constitutionality, except for one part. (And that part is kaput. The president is not trying to enforce it with UN troops and black helicopters. It’s why we don’t have a state-run health exchange here in Wisconsin.) So, to sum up: Obamacare was not only enacted according to the rule of law in this country, it also survived scrutiny by the highest judiciary body in the land, which is in the hands of the opposition party.

6. The point being: None of this is to say whether Obamacare will be good or bad for the country! It is only to say that it was passed according to the rules, and it’s been legitimized by our top court and implicitly by citizens who voted to reelect the president whose name it bears. Socialist tyranny, it’s just not.

7. What the House GOP is pulling right now — “Get rid of Obamacare or we’ll shut down important services and risk a global financial catastrophe by not raising the debt ceiling” — this is not politics as usual. This is extortion. They are a minority; even plenty of other Republican legislators think that what these guys are doing is absurd and dangerous (and this will likely become more clear the longer the shutdown goes on). If these guys want to get rid of Obamacare, they should go out and campaign and get more senators and a president elected. That is how democracy works. AMERICA, Y’ALL.

8. A note on the debt ceiling: Voting to raise the debt ceiling is not voting to spend money that the U.S. doesn’t have. Congress *already voted* to spend that money. The debt ceiling is a bizarre, redundant device, and we are basically the only country that has one. (Denmark has one, but it’s just a formality and has never been a point of controversy or contention.) Essentially, it’s like if your dad went out and bought a lot of stuff with his credit card, but then he had to ask your mom if it was OK for him to pay the credit card off. The money is already spent. If your mom says no, then your dad is failing to honor his obligations, and his credit rating (and your mom’s!) is going to be trashed. The difference on the larger scale is that if the U.S.’s credit rating is trashed, the whole planet’s economy could take a massive hit, because we are, you know, a global super-power.

9. Again, this is not about a lack of compromise on both sides. The House GOP is demanding that the president and congressional Democrats just undo their chief legislative victory. And it was a legitimate victory! And frankly, Obamacare is something that a lot of Americans *want*. Those Americans are real citizens, too. So this is like if your dad and your mom and you and your sister all vote to go to Olive Garden one Thursday evening, but your little brother wants to go to Applebee’s, and so instead of just accepting that he won’t always get his way and planning a stronger case for Applebee’s for next Thursday, he flips out and runs outside and slashes all the tires on the car so you guys can’t go anywhere. Except, again, much crazier, because instead of just one family it affects millions of people and could also set off an economic calamity of titanic proportions.

10. Let me be clear: I do not hate Republicans. My dad is a Republican! I am a small businessperson! I go to church! I LOVE CHRISTMAS. This is not about name-calling or hating on anyone, and frankly, I do not expect to change anyone’s mind about any of the proceeding details. But I am tired of the notion that both parties are equally to blame for our troubles; it has surely been true in the past, but it’s not right now. (And it is entirely possible for ALL POLITICIANS TO BE AWFUL and for ONE OF THE TWO PARTIES TO STILL BE CONSIDERABLY WORSE.) Believe me, I would love nothing more than to see a revitalized Republican party, with views that I might disagree with but which were not straight-up lunacy. IT WOULD MAKE MY DUMB INTERNET FIGHTS A LOT MORE INTERESTING.