If there’s one thing the House GOP leadership is good at doing, its creating a crisis where none should exist.
The current ploy is to defund or delay the implementation of the Affordable Care act in exchange for avoiding a government shutdown.
This, of course, is a non-starter with the President and the US Senate…which means that if no bill is passed through the House without a defunding or delay of the landmark healthcare law, non-essential portions of the government will shutdown until one is passed.
How long that would take is anyone’s guess.
Apparently, Republicans are more interested in playing politics than governing…a fact that should have been obvious in the 40 odd previous votes to repeal the law and the statement by House Speaker John Boehner that “Congress ought to be judged by how many laws they repeal”, which, by the way is zero. You can decide whether that is a good or bad thing.
In the wake of the 1995 and ’96 government shutdowns, the political cost for the majority party at the time was the loss of seats, though not their majority. But economic conditions were very different. Unemployment was lower, and growth was higher.
This time, we’re not in as strong a position, and the economic impact will hurt more if the government does shutdown.
The reality of a shutdown, even a short one, is the loss of a lot of growth, and tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people losing income. These are mostly regular people, doing regular jobs, that just happen to work for the Federal Government. They are, in effect, being punished for serving their country…a reality completely lost on the GOP majority. A reality they don’t seem to care about at all.
Current GOP orthodoxy holds that all workers should be thankful that the ownership class has allowed them to make any kind of income, whether in the private or public sectors. This is where that whole “makers and takers” rhetoric from the last Presidential election cycle naturally leads.
Understanding this, makes it easy to see why both damaging the economy at large, and potentially causing financial ruin for people who made the mistake of wanting to serve their country are no big deal to GOP v.2013.
The long-term impact of both this ideological position and policy decision to artificially constrain economic growth through inaction is founded in the politics of damaging a President more than representation of constituents…or anything else.
History has not been kind to people who put political self-interest over the needs of a nation.
So it seems that we’re in for at least two big fights (budget and debt ceiling) that don’t need to be fights except for the purposes of political expedience. These fights will include things that don’t need to be included (primarily the Affordable Care Act) and will be framed as a means to curb deficit spending, which is down at its lowest level since the previous administration.
A prolonged shutdown, due to both issues will cause a lot of harm to both the economy by creating unnecessary uncertainty. The uncertainty thus far has hurt markets…which are more a measure of sentiment than the overall economy, by taking some 200 points from the Dow Jones Industrial Average, in the past 5 days alone (a loss of 1.2%).
It would seem even GOP paymasters understand that a shutdown isn’t good for them in the real world.
But according to the current GOP, all that matters is an ever increasing list of pie in the sky conditions that help the mighty few and hurt the many, to make a President look like he’s not doing anything…which is actually what the House leadership is doing.
It is the definition of madness.