The Government Shutdown of October 2013

Capital Building taken in April 2013.

Capital Building taken in April 2013.

Have you seen this Page blame one side more than the other for the insanity in DC this month? It was a carefully orchestrated event–to make Obamacare no longer opposable, to frighten those who are dependent on the government, to create donor lists for various politicians, to make lots of money on Wall Street for those betting that it wouldn’t default this time.

It has also heightened the divisions in this country, making it easier to control the population at large.

The Left was coming to many of the same conclusions that the Libertarians had arrived at a few years ago–this has renewed the revulsion that the Left has for Tea Party types. So that process of uniting against Fascism has been delayed.

The Left is circulating a petition to have signers of “blueprint to defunding Obamacare” charged with sedition under The Sedition Act of 1798.  From the petition:

Seditious Conspiracy as it pertains to the current shutdown of the United States federal government is defined in  18 USC § 2384 of the Criminal Code as:

“[T]wo or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspir[ing] to . . . by force . . . prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States.”

The Code further defines the punishment:

“[T]hey shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”

The Petition goes on to name all the public signers of the Blueprint as conspirators.  I agree–under the Law, this was and is sedition.  But so have been a lot of activities by both the Left and the Right over the years.

So what does this Blueprint have to say that is so Seditious?  (This posting documenting the Blueprint is dated February 14, 2013.  )

Action:

  • Conservatives cannot support a CR that is above the sequester level of $974 billion annually.  While many conservatives would prefer reprogramming defense cuts to other areas of discretionary spending (dollar for dollar cuts in the same year), the current sequester savings are better than none at all.
  • Conservatives should not approve a CR unless it defunds Obamacare.  This includes Obamacare’s unworkable exchanges, unsustainable Medicaid expansion, and attack on life and religious liberty.

A mere “date-change CR” is unacceptable.  Although the Obama administration and others will argue the CR is not the appropriate legislative vehicle to defund Obamacare, it is easily done through a series of appropriation riders.  Because the CR represents one of the best vehicles possible to delay the implementation of Obamacare, it must not be used to bargain on the upcoming sequester.

So, they are saying that Continuing Resolutions to keep government running cannot be funded above the Sequestration levels.  So why haven’t they agreed on a Budget during the time Mr. Obama has been President?  That would have resolved the issues of Continuing Resolutions, and given the Nation some sort of confidence that it’s leaders actually know what they’re doing.  Because the Republicans decided right from his initial inauguration that they were going to make his a failed Presidency.  They even announced it after they rewon the majority in the House.  And for those who think there hasn’t been a National Budget, they are available at the website of the Government Printing Office.

During the government shutdown, Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics testified before Joint Economic Committee.  He had some reasonable advice for Congress.

The impasse in Washington over funding the federal government and increasing theTreasury debt ceiling is significantly damaging the economy. Stock prices are grinding lower and consumer confidence is weakening. The economic harm will mount significantly each day the government remains shut and the debt ceiling is not raised. If policymakers are unable to reach agreement on these issues by the end of October, the economy will face another severe recession.
To resolve the budget impasse, policymakers should not add to the significant fiscal austerity already in place, which is set to last through mid-decade. Tax increases and government spending cuts over the past three years have put a substantial drag on economic growth. In 2013,this fiscal drag is as large as it has been since the defense drawdown after World War II.
Moreover, because of fiscal austerity and the economic recovery, the federal government’s fiscal situation has improved markedly. The budget deficit in just-ended fiscal 2013 was less than half its size at the recession’s deepest point in 2009. Under current law and using reasonable economic assumptions, the deficit will continue to narrow through mid-decade, causing the debt-to-GDP ratio to stabilize.
As part of any budget deal, lawmakers should reverse the sequester. The second year of budget sequestration will likely have greater consequences than the first, affecting many government programs in ways that nearly all agree are not desirable. A sizable share of the sequestration cuts to date has involved one-off adjustments, but future cuts will have to come from lasting reductions in operational budgets.
It would of course also be desirable for lawmakers to address the nation’s long-term fiscal challenges. Although the fiscal situation should be stable through the end of this decade, the long-term outlook remains disconcerting. If Congress does not make significant changes to the entitlement programs and tax code, rising healthcare costs and an aging population will swamp the budget in the 2020s and 2030s. Both cuts in government spending and increases in tax revenues will be necessary to reasonably solve these long-term fiscal problems.

Were the Democrats entirely innocent in this shutdown?

FULL Press Conference ▶ President Obama news Press conference statement on Government Shutdown: Day 8 10/8/2013

And I’ve continued to believe that Citizens United contributed to some of the problems we’re having in Washington right now. You know, you have some ideological extremist who has a big bankroll, and they can entirely skew our politics.

And there are a whole bunch of members of Congress right now who privately will tell you, I know our positions are unreasonable, but we’re scared that if we don’t go along with the tea party agenda, or the — some particularly extremist agenda, that we’ll be challenged from the right. And the threats are very explicit. And so they toe the line. And that’s part of why we’ve seen a breakdown of just normal routine business done here in Washington on behalf of the American people.

So perhaps, the government shutdown is the fault of those who signed the Blueprint.  And continue to harass GOP Congressmen into going along with their agenda.  But why is this such a big deal to the GOP that they are willing to shutdown the government and risk their re-election prospects?

This is not in dispute. What is being disputed is whether the punishments to the losers in the market system should include, in addition to these other things, a denial of access to non-emergency medical treatment. The Republican position is that it should. They may not want a woman to have to suffer an untreated broken ankle for lack of affordable treatment. Likewise, I don’t want people to be denied nice televisions or other luxuries. I just don’t think high-definition television or nice clothing are goods that society owes to one and all. That is how Republicans think about health care.

This is why it’s vital to bring yourself face-to-face with the implications of mass uninsurance — not as emotional manipulation, but to force you to decide what forms of material deprivation ought to be morally acceptable. This question has become, at least at the moment, the primary philosophical divide between the parties. Democrats will confine the unfortunate to many forms of deprivation, but not deprivation of basic medical care. Republicans will. The GOP is the only mainstream political party in the advanced world to hold this stance.

The maddening thing is that Republicans refuse to advocate the position openly. The more ideologically stringent ones couch their belief in euphemisms, like describing health care as a matter of “personal responsibility.” But even such glancing defenses are too straightforward for most Republican leaders. Instead they simply rail against the specifics of Obamacare and promise to “replace” it, without committing themselves to an alternative path to universal coverage.

This is the legacy of Ayn Rand.  Personal responsibility equated with the hatred of those “takers” who also have human needs.  The same idea that previous nations have held towards “useless eaters”.  It has infested the GOP and Libertarian Parties to the point that they experience cognitive dissonance when confronted with the very real human impacts of their policies.

The Democrats also need to understand that the common man identifies with the concept of “personal responsibility” because the combined effects of higher taxes, underemployment, and the Fed’s constant expansion of the money supply is that there is less and less real value for the money that man/woman and his/her own family is left to survive on.

We have reached a point in the USA where the Corporations and their ultimate owners actually de facto own our government.  Until the Corporations are reigned in and forced to pay their fair share and hire American workers at living wages, the common man/woman will continue to be impoverished.  Neither Party is addressing this–both have their hands out to get what they can from the Corporations.

Mr. Obama admitted this–that the people behind the Tea Party were making threats.  He also admitted that the Democrats are not innocent of this as well.  He did not come right out and name the Koch brothers–but the petition at the beginning of this article did.  The Koch brothers were the driving force behind Citizen’s United–the SCOTUS decision that has increased corruption to dizzying heights.

This information from The Center for Responsive Politics should shed some light on part of the issue:

Insurance: Top Contributors, 2013-2014

Contributor Amount
New York Life Insurance   $637,729
AFLAC Inc   $497,850
Indep Insurance Agents & Brokers/America   $422,000
National Assn of Insurance & Financial Advisors   $419,400
USAA   $350,106
Metlife Inc   $276,700
Liberty Mutual   $259,789
Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance   $259,150
Council of Insurance Agents & Brokers   $249,667
National Assn of Health Underwriters   $205,850
Blue Cross/Blue Shield   $205,501
American Council Of Life Insurers   $188,000
Travelers Companies   $182,000
National Assn/Mutual Insurance Companies   $150,500
Property Casualty Insurers Assn/America   $147,600
Cigna Corp   $133,790
Unum Group   $132,450
Nationwide   $128,550
Loews Corp   $124,200
Allstate Insurance   $119,200

Contributions to Democrats  Republicans  Outside Spending Groups

Insurance: Top Recipients

 

Top 20 Recipients

1 Hensarling, Jeb (R-TX) House $99,750
2 McConnell, Mitch (R-KY) Senate $99,500
3 Camp, Dave (R-MI) House $96,800
4 Cornyn, John (R-TX) Senate $89,800
5 Scott, Tim (R-SC) Senate $89,200
6 Boehner, John (R-OH) House $87,130
7 Tiberi, Patrick J (R-OH) House $83,200
8 Baucus, Max (D-MT) Senate $82,500
9 Kingston, Jack (R-GA) House $82,350
10 Booker, Cory (D-NJ) $79,650
11 Cantor, Eric (R-VA) House $78,000
12 McCarthy, Kevin (R-CA) House $75,500
13 Hagan, Kay R (D-NC) Senate $74,800
14 Royce, Ed (R-CA) House $69,250
15 Schock, Aaron (R-IL) House $67,450
16 Toomey, Pat (R-PA) Senate $67,250
17 Peters, Gary (D-MI) House $65,700
18 Roskam, Peter (R-IL) House $65,500
19 Warner, Mark (D-VA) Senate $64,450
20 Paulsen, Erik (R-MN) House $64,100

We are talking a lot of money to mostly GOP leaders. Is this a coincidence? Hardly. Until we the People do something about bribery and corruption in Washington, DC–this will be business as usual.

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One thought on “The Government Shutdown of October 2013

  1. You’ve made some really good points there.
    I checked on the net for additional information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views
    on this site.

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