Nel's New Day

October 8, 2013

Day Eight of the Government Shutdown: Congress Getting Paychecks

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:59 PM
Tags: , , ,

Last week, the House GOP sent this note to the people of the United States:

We have your economy.  If you ever want to see it again, pay very close attention.

You will agree to the following:

A one year delay of Obamacare. Drilling fossil fuels on public land. Tort Reform. While you’re at it, we want you to cut Medicare and Medicaid.

This is not a negotiation. Do what we say or we will shut down the government and default on the national debt.

Signed,

The House GOP Majority

After eight days of federal government shutdown, 70% disapprove of GOP behavior in their holding the country hostage. The shutdown costs at least $300 million a day: that’s almost $1 billion every three days. The shutdown can shave 1.4 percent off economic input. If the shutdown isn’t stopped within four weeks, it can cost the economy $55 billion through the loss of paychecks for furloughed workers ($1 billion a week); reduction in federal spending ($8 billion); shuttered national parks ($76 million); and billions in tax revenue.

The end result is an increase in the federal deficit. Because of the improving economy, the deficit was expected to shrink to its smallest shortfall since before the recession. Now the deficit reverses because of loss of tax revenue and the cost for agencies to implement the shutdown. The last Congressional crisis, over sequestration, resulted in a $4.5 billion in lost revenue, not to mention stagnating consumer spending from the mass furloughs.

A short shutdown history:

The House demanded last spring that if the Senate didn’t pass a budget, senators would not be paid. The Senate passed a budget in April, and, the House GOP blocked any negotiation 18 times. When the deadline of October 1 neared, the GOP made a series of demands to defund or delay Obamacare before passing a budget and keeping the government open.

Dan Froomkin pointed out the problems that the media have caused in its inaccurate reporting about the shutdown. The trend in journalism is increasingly neutrality rather than accuracy. As politicians become more extreme with little or no media criticism, they move farther to the right and become even more extreme. In their attempt to ride the middle of the road, reporters continue to veer to the right to avoid taking sides. MSNBC’s Chuck Todd claimed that fact-checking isn’t the job of a journalist, as if he only needs to be a scribe of what everyone says. As Froomkin wrote:

“The political press should be the public’s first line of defense when it comes to assessing who is deviating from historic norms and practices, who is risking serious damage to the nation, whose positions are based in irrational phobias and ignorance rather than data and reason.

“In the current political climate, journalistic false equivalence leads to an insufficiently informed electorate, because the public is not getting an accurate picture of what is going on. Blaming everyone—Congress, both sides, Washington—is simply the path of least resistance for today’s political reporters. It’s a way of avoiding conflict rather than taking the risk that the public—or their editors—will accuse them of being unprofessionally partisan.

“The shutdown is not generalized dysfunction or gridlock or stalemate. It is aberrational behavior by a political party that is willing to take extreme and potentially damaging action to get its way. And by not calling it what it is, the political press is enabling it.”

A response to Froomkin’s piece recommended that everyone should read Helen Thomas’ book, Watchdogs of Democracy? The Wanting Washington Press Corps and How It Has Failed The Public.

Radio host Mark Levin exemplifies the inaccuracy of the far-right when he said, “This is not the plague. It’s not riots and violence in the streets. There’s some inconvenience, not for everybody but for some people. Some people being furloughed. Some people losing their paychecks.”

He’s wrong, and he should have been called out for this falsehood. The almost 9 million mothers and families who lost their safety network may have gone to churches and private food banks for help, places that are already stretched far too thin to help others. Without money for those who use the safety network, supermarkets suffer great losses in income, and Medicaid spending shoots up because babies need food to be healthy. Other affected people are boat-owners, golfers, gun-purchasers, visa applicants, factory workers, employers who cannot use DHS’s e-Verify program, and people who expect tax refunds. 

Those who are not affected by the shutdown are people who are not veterans, students, or travelers. They need to grow all their own food and take no medications, have no illnesses and live someplace that is not not subject to any pollution. Hopefully, they live in a cave in case terrorists attack. They should have no stocks, savings, etc. in case the financial market decides to crash. They can’t own farms, and they shouldn’t want to purchase any real estate.  Forget owning small businesses–they have no way to get loans or sell anything.

After a few days of shutdown, the GOP figured out that government might be important and picked the most obvious pieces, trying to open those small pieces, even ones that they had fought in the past. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said, “We’re trying to ease the pain here.” The ones that they picked are national parks (people complained), cancer research (they have families with serious illnesses), veterans benefits (not having those looks really bad), and disaster relief (there might be a hurricane bearing down on Louisiana but no one knows because NOAA is closed down). Last week, GOP House members dressed in scrubs for a rally urging Democrat senators to provide temporary funding for the National Institutes of Health.

In 2011, Cantor threatened to withhold disaster relief funding without budget cuts to offset its costs, but last week FEMA became one of the seven more essential federal agencies that the House wants to re-open. This week, House Republicans plan to vote for temporary funding for Head Start after trying to cut the program by more than $1 billion in their budget. Many Congressional Republicans have also declared their aids as “essential” workers so that they can keep their offices open.

A major speaking point from House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has been to have a conference meeting to discuss how to open the government. His complaint is that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) won’t appoint conferees.  Two days before he started his complaining, however, Reid offered to do just that. Reid’s only condition was that the government re-open during negotiations. Boehner refused.

Tomorrow the House plans to vote on a bill to pay essential federal employees, those who kept working after the shutdown, during the shutdown rather than waiting until the end of the impasse. The House also has a new plan to solve the shutdown problem: a supercommittee of House and Senate members to work out a deal on reopening the government and raising the nation’s $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, which must be done within the next nine days. Remember the last supercommittee, that one in the fall of 2011? That one that resulted in the sequester using a hatchet to make program cuts?  As Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), a member of that supercommittee, said, “There was nothing super about it.”

To make the “supercommittee” even more of a problem, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) indicated that tax reform might be part of the discussion. “We disagree by a trillion dollars of spending and a trillion dollars of tax increase. … I think there is some ground between a trillion dollars in spending and a trillion dollar tax increase. For Republicans not to be able to identify that would be silly,” Sessions said. “We are going to stick to our guns, but it doesn’t mean that people have to deny each other the ability to talk.” A Sessions aide later clarified Sessions is not open to new tax revenue.

What could go wrong?

As blogger Eurobrat wrote:

“When the Republicans first started this shutdown mess, it was about defunding Obamacare.  Since that wasn’t going to happen, it then became about just delaying Obamacare.  Now it’s not about that anymore either, and most Republicans sound like they aren’t quite sure what it’s about, only that they want to get something out of it.

“So before the economy collapses and everything goes to hell, let’s give the Republicans that pony they never got from their parents.  Or a plate of cookies.  A gold star.  One of those participation trophies that says you lost, but you still showed up to the game, so yay!  A kiss on the boo boo to make it better.  An apology from Obama’s election campaign team for being too smart?  More Benghazi hearings, this time with cheerleaders?  Another copy of the President’s birth certificate?

“Is there a little holiday present we can give the Republicans to help end this insanity?  I can think of a lot of things, except for what they really want, which is to see the President impeached, tarred and feathered.  That ain’t happening, guys.  Take the pony instead.”

I’ll chip in for the pony.

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2 Comments »

  1. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    “They” don’t care ….. gather the masses and protest!!! Peacefully ….. SMH!!

    Like

    Comment by Dr. Rex — October 9, 2013 @ 8:24 AM | Reply

  2. Hey, they never intended hurting themselves!!! <>
    Reblog: http://hrexach.wordpress.com/

    Like

    Comment by Dr. Rex — October 9, 2013 @ 8:24 AM | Reply


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