In what has become one of the more bizarre exercises of the Federal Government, the Congress approved an agreement that will re-open the government and avoid a massive default and all of the domestic and international crisis that would have brought down upon us. Over the objections of a small group of Tea Party congressmen the House voted 284-144 to fund the government operations until January 15th, allowing the Treasury to borrow normally as it would anyway until February 7th, though they could buy an extra month if necessary.
So who won and who lost? The American taxpayer and small business owners were the biggest losers in this latest scenario when you consider the government shutdown cost the economy approximately 24 billion dollars (according to Standard & Poor’s. In her article on swampland.time.com dated October 17th, , Eliana Dockterman breaks down the economic costs.
- About $3.1 billion in lost government services, according to the research firm IHS
- $152 million per day in lost travel spending, according to the U.S. Travel Association
- $76 million per day lost because of National Parks being shut down, according to the National Park Service
- $217 million per day in lost federal and contractor wages in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area alone
- Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2013/10/17/heres-what-the-government-shutdown-cost-the-economy/#ixzz2igb4PeGz
It is quite ironic that Tea Party legislators, who have always given lip service to small business were at the heart of this shutdown which has caused nothing but financial problems to small businesses across the country. One could make the case that they too were big losers in this exercise.
Ted Cruz, the Congressman from Texas who has lead the shutdown of the government in an attempt to force the stalling of the Affordable Care Act,
has become the poster child for the sort of extortion that the Tea Party favors in this battle with the President. Mr. Obama in the end would have none of it and the Republican fringe crawled away with tail between legs, threatening yet another attempt to disrupt the government and Obamacare a few months down the road. Cruz is the very public face and voice of the shutdown strategy that brought the nation to the edge of default and left the Republicans with their lowest poll ratings ever..a circumstance not lost on the more rational wing of the party in the person of people like John McCain, Peter King and even the master architect of the neo-con worldview Karl Rove.
Adding injury to insult, Cruz and his cohorts accomplished nothing in their silly efforts to halt the implementation of the new health-care law.
Even after this debacle Cruz returned home to Texas and received a hero’s welcome. According to Karen Tumulty writing for WashingtonPost.com, “Cruz has been greeted as a conquering hero, with a round of triumphal public appearances and welcome-home rallies such as the one that Alford attended Monday night in Houston, which was hastily arranged by the King Street Patriots tea party group. Even more extraordinary is the degree to which the freshman senator — who until 2012 had never run for public office — has quickly remade the Texas Republican Party in his own image.”
Former President Bill Clinton had this to say a few weeks ago on ABC’s THIS WEEK program.
“I’ve never seen a time– can you remember a time in your lifetime when a major political party was just sitting around, begging for America to fail?” In defense of President Obama’s position, Clinton continued “If I were the president, I wouldn’t negotiate over these draconian cuts that are gonna take food off the table of low-income working people, while they leave all the agricultural subsidies in for high-income farmers and everything else,” he said. “It’s chilling to me. The entitlement spending is going down as the unemployment rate drops and the economy grows. Half of the deficit’s already disappeared. The rest of it just seems almost spiteful.”
I couldn’t agree more. Why are these people, who allege they are the champions of the “little people”, doing everything they can to cut programs that are beneficial to the average folk, and while at the same time doing everything possible to line the pockets of the already wealthiest Americans? Aren’t these wealthy donors the very people that the Tea Party was formed to rail against in the first place? Something has gone very wrong with this movement. And when it comes to the Affordable Heathcare Act, why this obsession with somehow defeating a law already passed, and already Supreme Court tested, to keep the poor and lower middle class people from obtaining healthcare? The president who championed this legislation was elected not once, but twice. It is quite obviously the will of the people that affordable healthcare be within the reach of ALL AMERICANS and not just the privileged few. Moderate Republicans have already started running for the hills and away from these extremists realizing that their anti young, anti gay, anti women and anti immigrant sentiments stand in the way of them ever winning another national election.
There is a serious problem with the finances of this government. Most reasonable thinking people can understand that. The government needs to streamline it’s operations and it’s many departments. It needs to clean up agencies and programs that do not work. A reasonable budget compromise must be made. The wealthiest Americans simply need to pay a few more percentage points in income taxes, as they have done all through our modern history, and there needs to be realistic cuts to the defense budget and a few social programs. This is not a vague and nebulous cloud of confusion. It’s really quite clear. The time has come for both sides to sit down and negotiate a lasting, workable budget solution that doesn’t endanger millions of families, doesn’t waste money on useless departments and legislation, trims the defense budget, tightens controls over welfare eligibility and takes an even handed approach. Tax loopholes for huge corporations that are essentially paying nothing also need to be examined and updated.
We need term limits for Congress. Elected officials should be allowed 12 years and then out you go…back to a normal civilian life amongst the people. I am convinced that part of the problem is the fact that lifelong politicians are clueless about how the real people live and what they have to deal with in their everyday lives. I also think that the “golden parachutes” that follow them out of Washington similarly need to be examined and trimmed.
Is this really such an impossible task? Rather than wasting time and money posturing, making speeches and basically getting NOTHING done, it is time for the leaders of this country, and I use the word loosely, to come together and make the best choices for the country…not their political friends, not their hometown donors, not the wealthiest or the poorest, or even those in between. We need good clear choices that work for EVERYONE. Then and only then can the Congress and the President can claim a true victory!
- The GOP Establishment’s Bid to Push Back the Tea Party Insurrection (theatlanticwire.com)
- US shutdown: Most see political wreckage, but the Tea Party is convinced that it won American Way (dnaindia.com)
- Petition Demands The End Of Ted Cruz In The Senate (PETITION) (addictinginfo.org)