The Shutdown: Questions to dispel the smoke

In Washington, diversionary tactics are always in order. Why would the perpetrators want us to grasp something like the limited government shutdown now starting its second week? Let’s rise to the challenge of getting beyond the smoke.

What’s the real question?

Is the shutdown in the national interest?

No, our country is looking absurd and now China is able to posture as the concerned citizen doing its best to uphold the international capitalist system. At least, one can get a laugh out of the irony, but it’s an expensive laugh.

Are the sponsors of the shutdown doing this to save money?

No, it has already cost extra money to plan, and will cost more when the government reopens, including eventually paying a lot of federal employees for when they haven’t been working (sort of like the agricultural subsidies for urban farm owners that Congress is so fond of).

Was the shutdown caused by Obamacare?

No, the Affordable Care Act has been the law for 3 and a half years (president Obama signed it on March 23, 2010). It didn’t do this all by itself. If it had, the shutdown would have happened in 2010.

Aren’t public officials, such as members of Congress, expected to uphold the law?

That is what Gov. Corbett and his allies are saying to oppose the Montgomery County Register of Wills issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. If that’s what they think, Republican legislators like local specimens Gerlach, Meehan, and Pitts should just get over it and move on with accepting the law and protecting the country’s reputation and financial standing.

Doesn’t Congress have the right to change its mind?

Normally, a law passed by Congress remains in force unless overturned by the courts or superseded by a new law. The reason this case is different is that the US House is trying to sabotage the law by holding up money, not through the time-honored legislative process.

So is the shutdown caused by political maneuvering?

Yes, in a word.

Is the system of checks and balances created by our Founders now moribund?

Well, it doesn’t look good. As many have said, most seats in Congress are safe now due to gerrymandering and huge financial backing from individuals and lobbies who have a lot to gain. So the “representatives” have everything to gain from playing to their sponsors–unless more Americans pay attention and vote.

Doesn’t the majority of the US House of Representatives recognize the need to fund the government?

Apparently, based at least on what they have been saying the last few days, they do–that’s the irony of this whole thing.

So why don’t they vote to reopen the government?

Because one man, Speaker of the House John Boehner, won’t let them vote on it.

He’d much rather talk about Obamacare.

About politicswestchesterview

Nathaniel regards himself as a progressive Democrat who sees a serious need to involve more Americans in the political process if we are to rise to Ben Franklin's challenge "A republic, madam, if you can keep it," after a passerby asked him what form of government the founders had chosen. This blog gives my views and background information on the local, state, and national political scenes. My career in higher education was mainly in the areas of international studies, foreign languages, and student advising, most recently at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, from which I retired in 2006. I have lived in West Chester since 1986.
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