|It really is nothing new|
|Written by News Desk|
|Friday, 04 October 2013 16:21|
It's Monday afternoon and the opposing forces in Washington, D.C. are still at polar positions regarding federal spending. This is really nothing new, at least the battle is not new. It isn't new because the opposing forces have chosen to live this way, after all, without the struggle, neither could survive.
The budget battle and its fiscal deadlines are automatic re-matches. If the Democrats and Republicans cannot find the right props to stage a dramatic heavyweight fight then they can always use budget deadlines as an excuse to "meet after school."
So what if the government must shut down because the fight on the school yard cannot decide the winner? Neither party really cares about that. What do they care about? Winning the fight, that's all. Whoever is viewed as the winner instantly gains an extra step on the other in the next election cycle.
By the time I send this newspaper to press a lot could change, but I still suspect the government will be officially shut down on Tuesday and Wednesday if not longer. The foundation of the Republican argument is Obamacare. To win the budget battle would be to kill Obamacare, either in whole or in part, or to defer its beginning, which will mean the stage will be pre-set for another battle down the road probably at a critical fiscal deadline. The Democrats, having control of the senate, are determined to stay firm and hopefully force a GOP surrender on the Obamacare issue. The nation is truly divided on the issue regardless of both parties making claims that the people do or do not want the health care law. What's the real truth? The people probably do not know what they want because of the massive confusing legislation and the excessive amount of conflicting information. The other truth is that both political parties lie like hell.
Let me reiterate that the real prize is to be seen as the winner in the eyes of the American public. If you don't think this is the real goal then consider what happened the last time we had a true shut down. According to NBC, the government has shut down 17 times since 1976. The last time was in 95-96 and it lasted about three weeks. That was when Newt Gingrich, as Speaker of the House, and President Clinton clashed over spending. The Republicans were seriously beat up and were blamed for the shutdown and the victory helped elevate Clinton's ratings. Clinton was re-elected without much of a fight and he even slipped past the Monica Lewinsky scandal and an impeachment trial. There is no doubt in my mind that the battle with Gingrich and the GOP gave Clinton enough popularity surplus that he could have gotten by with much more, and that's hard to image as many lies as he told when he was in the White House.
Some people ask what a shut down means. I guess the best answer is that a lot of folks are furloughed from work without pay and we only keep "essential' workers and "essential services." One needs to watch all news and read all papers to even get a slight idea of what goes and what stays. I gathered up a few details to give you an idea and some food for thought. The Department of Justice says it only plans to furlough about 15% of its 100,000 people. Health and Human Services (HHS) says it will furlough about half of its employees. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) said it will furlough 96% of its workforce.
Naturally a prudent person looks at some of these numbers, especially HUD, and asks, you mean 96% of its people are non-essential? Why do the taxpayers pay for so many people that are not essential? And that's a debate we will continue to have forever.
Another topic, and a sad one. Millbrook lost Miss Anne Thweatt last week. She had been living at an assisted living facility in Montgomery. We will miss her, and her community spirit and service. Ann helped to promote The Indy when we started in 2003 and was one who always tried to find a positive story for us to tell. She was a very unselfish person who loved our community deeply and we will miss her.
ARIS Reading Road Book Club members Kate Busby and MaKayla Savage browse audio books available through the Millbrook and Wetumpka Public Libraries.
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