Who needs the government? I mean, really? People don’t need to collect Social Security and the government doesn’t need to fund epidemic disease research. Or maintain national parks. Or engage in any sort of regulatory action. We’ve had great experiences with deregulation, right? There’s never been any sort of bad time that could have been avoided if somebody had said, “hey guys, this is a stupid idea and we’re going to regulate credit default swaps.” Nothing bad ever came from those, right?
But here we are, reliving 1996/1997 when we last had an impasse on governance causing many portions of the government to shut down. We’ve gone through debt ceiling debates, sequestration, et cetera, et cetera, and yet again we’ve got another winner. Yes, America, you’ve won another shutdown of the federal government. First one in over 15 years! And, like last time, this didn’t need to happen.
The politics on this are simple: after 2006, Americans gave Democrats 4 years of control on both the Senate and the House of Representatives. They passed the ACA (Affordable Care Act/Obamacare) and lost the House of Representatives in 2010. President Obama was re-elected in 2012 and Democrats picked up seats in both the House and Senate, increasing their majority in the Senate and narrowing the majority for Republicans in the House. In the interim, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the constitutionality of the ACA and it was affirmed as the law of the land.
Now, unable to accept their loss, it seems that a certain caucus within the House of Representatives would rather try to force a change in legislation whose effects have not yet been fully seen upon a Senate that is not going to agree to these changes and consequently allow the federal government to cease working in part, with places like passport processing (Dept of State), disease monitoring (CDC), and park police (Dept of Interior) – small, but important things – coming to a halt.
Members of this loud caucus keep telling us that the American people don’t want Obamacare, that it’s socialism, that it’s ever-intrusive government. That the President was re-elected, that the Democrats were given a larger majority in the Senate, that the Democrats gained seats in the House of Representatives, that polls show that a large majority of US would like to see the law come into full effect before enacting changes, defunding or repeal (http://www.forbes.com/sites/theapothecary/2013/09/30/new-poll-only-one-third-of-americans-support-repealing-defunding-or-delaying-obamacare/), all of that be damned.
This isn’t about governing. This is about people with power claiming to be representative of US trying to stick it to the President over a law that they once championed (Romneycare, baby!). And in the process, they’re sticking it to us, making absolutely clear that they have no interest in governing and ensuring a functional government that works for the people. And why? Because to them, government is bad and perpetuating bad action and general governmental incompetence through gridlock is the best way to prove their point.
And in so doing, in a completely screwed up way, they’ve won.