What is this Shutdown About, Really? Republican Nuttery, Of Course

Like the last time the Republican Party pulled this crap, this government shutdown is all about right wingers having a hissy fit nothing more.

If you read the news at all, then you keep reading that “Congress” couldn’t “reach a deal,” or that “Washington” is somehow irretrievably “broken.” That’s a cop-out from a press corps that is increasingly useless. This isn’t about Congress or Washington, it’s about the current incarnation of the Republican Party. No one else. This is not a combined effort; it’s all on the one political party that doesn’t believe government can work, setting out to prove it.

This is about a continuing resolution. A continuing resolution is a bill that simply continues to fund the government for a period of time at previous levels. You should know what they are, because we have been living under them for five years. Perhaps you’ve heard, but our government hasn’t operated under a budget for about four years (this will mark the fifth). It’s not because President Obama doesn’t submit one; he does. He submits one every year. He submitted his late this year, and Republicans castigated him for it. Yet, here it is, the first day of fiscal year 2014, and they haven’t even considered it or debated it yet. See the problem? Republicans complain about everything, and do nothing.

Anyway, the continuing resolution is a boilerplate bill that authorizes the federal government to spend money at last year’s levels, which are essentially 2009 levels, since Republicans have forced the government to live on 2009 spending levels since 2010. Without the CR, the government can’t spend any money, and they have to shut down. It’s not because  there is no money in the Treasury. There is plenty of money. It’s because Congress, led by Republicans, won’t give them authorization.

Government shutdowns are more common in our history than you think – since 1976, this is the18th. But most government shutdowns were the result of broken-down budget negotiations, or delays in passing a budget on time. Even the 1995 shutdowns (there were actually two) had something to do with budget negotiations, although most of the problem had to do with Newt Gingrich’s ego. This seems to be the first time the government has been shut down in order to kill a law a political party doesn’t like. There is no spending issue here. There is no debt issue here. The reason Republicans are holding the government hostage is because they don’t want the working poor to have access to affordable health care, especially since it’s largely being paid for through a tax hike on the rich. They are also eager to kill it because they know it will work. It’s already working. Health care prices have stabilized already, and the law is just now ready to kick in. It’s not about being “fiscally responsible,” it’s about being petulant children, holding their breath until they get their pony. Or unicorn.

What everyone out there needs to know is, no matter what Republicans do, no matter how long they leave the government shut down, the Affordable Care Act exists, and it’s not going anywhere. It is simply not possible to stop the law, no matter what you do, until January 20, 2017, and only if a Republican wins the presidency and both houses of Congress.

And the longer the government stays on furlough, the worse it will be for the Republican Party. Consider; while the government is shut down and people who depend on government services are being left high and dry, everyone will be signing up for the Affordable Care Act Exchanges, and realizing they have choices and premiums that are much lower than they’ve been paying. And they will be realizing that the Republican Party is doing everything they’re doing just to kill it. That won’t sit well with anyone, except perhaps Teabaggers. And why should anyone care about them?

Last night, the worst Speaker in the history of the House, John Boehner,  tweeted the following:

First of all, Democrats did NOT shut down the government. The Senate stayed in session all night, and were fully prepared to pass a continuing resolution without any baggage, and House Republicans refused to deliver one. But more than that, the ACA is more than three-and-a-half years old, and you’ve had more than enough time to discuss its alleged failures. In three years, your House has yet to discuss amending the law, or debate it on its merits. No altenative plan has been presented. Last night was not the time to have a “discussion.” And you certainly don’t shut down the government because you keep making up your own rules and Democrats refuse to play by them.

The most truthful statement about the shutdown was given by none other than Michele Bachmann. She may be crazy, but she actually stated exactly what all of this was about:

“We’re very excited. It’s exactly what we wanted, and we got it.”


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