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Tom Hall

Obama-Democrats won't hesitate to shut down the government

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So in other words they are unwilling to pass a budget unless they get their own way. The same cannot be said of Obama because the ACA is already the law.

"Already law"? Congress exists for the specific purpose of changing the law.

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Yeah; I don't buy that whole social security argument for spending even more pretend-money.

You can't cheat the law of identity. A is A and we're broke; if we continue to ignore reality then the consequences will only become more severe.

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"Already law"? Congress exists for the specific purpose of changing the law.

 

Right, for these purposes there are 2 methods of changing the law.

 

  1. Changing it by normal negotiation, ie give and take.
  2. Threatening a shutdown/default if you don't get your own way.

The Republicans had their chance to defeat the ACA using method 1 and they failed because they didn't have enough votes. Number 2 is not acceptable and they will and should be punished for using it.

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Right, for these purposes there are 2 methods of changing the law.

  • Changing it by normal negotiation, ie give and take.
  • Threatening a shutdown/default if you don't get your own way.
The Republicans had their chance to defeat the ACA using method 1 and they failed because they didn't have enough votes. Number 2 is not acceptable and they will and should be punished for using it.

Okay, for starters, I assume you're admitting that the whole thing about Congress trying to change "established law" or something that is "already law" or something the SCOTUS has said is constitutional, etc. are just empty spin?

As I said in an earlier post, describing the GOP's tactic as "shutting down the government" is also spin. They have already passed everything else. As of about a week ago, if the whole of the House of Representatives had gone home, it was still completely in the power of the Senate and President -- using bills sent by the House -- to fund all of government, except Obamacare.

Also, about a week or more back the GOP changed their position, asking for just two things related to Obamacare. If the Senate and President were willing, we would have everything open and government funded, but a 1-year delay in the individual mandate (not in Obamacare subsidies), and a reduction in health-care benefits to people employed within the Congress itself (a silly gimmick but one that is easy to work around). The Senate Democrats have insisted on shutting down the government rather than accept these two things.

It's just negotiation, and to characterize it as anything more or less correct than what the Dems and the president are doing has no basis in reality. You might personally think the GOP should roll over and play dead even though we have a President who acts like he's on a 365-day campaign, and shows no ability to win friends among people who disagree with him: a skill which many presidents, both Democratic and Republican have shown in spades.

If I were Obama, with his values, and his belief in Obamacare, I would refuse to negotiate too. Like him, I would let 15% of the government shutdown and bet that the GOP will be remembered as being against Obamacare, when -- a year from now -- voters think about it positively. However, I would not kid myself that the GOP is doing anything other than negotiating: within its own ranks, and with me.

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Also, about a week or more back the GOP changed their position, asking for just two things related to Obamacare. If the Senate and President were willing, we would have everything open and government funded, but a 1-year delay in the individual mandate (not in Obamacare subsidies), and a reduction in health-care benefits to people employed within the Congress itself (a silly gimmick but one that is easy to work around). The Senate Democrats have insisted on shutting down the government rather than accept these two things.

 

Aren't Republicans just grasping at straws here with these proposed 'concessions'?

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Aren't Republicans just grasping at straws here with these proposed 'concessions'?

One -- the cut in subsidy to Congressional employees -- isn't really fair.

Delaying the mandate doesn't seem like much -- but, perhaps they hold out hope that it will be a chink that they can keep digging at, and widen. Perhaps they hope they can keep an anti-Obamacare vibe going, and push a few more such concessions (over the next year or two), ending -- in their hopes -- with saying the law has to be revised radically.

It could also be more political than substantive. It could be that one part of the GOP is establishing itself clearly and unambiguously as opposing Obamacare, with everything else being tactics. If so, its a risky bet, because it will hurt them if voters end up liking Obamacare by 2016. If they're thinking politically, they're probably betting the opposite: that they can say "we told you so!"

Edited by softwareNerd

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It's just negotiation, and to characterize it as anything more or less correct than what the Dems and the president are doing has no basis in reality.

 

Threatening to shutdown the government unless you get your concessions is just another form of negotiation? Just as a person who threatens with a pistol is identical to a person who threatens to blow up a nuke? That is what a debt default would be - its the nuclear option. There are no higher stakes. You mention that the Dems are just as much at fault because they can concede a couple of things and the whole thing would be over. Well if I threaten you with a nuke and you refuse to negotiate under such a threat then the possibility of nuclear annihilation is your fault for not conceding things to me?!

 

Is it just that you don't see a default as having disastrous consequences and therefore see it as a viable negotiating chip?

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Threatening to shutdown the government unless you get your concessions is just another form of negotiation?...

For the third time... ... the GOP did not threaten to shut down the government any more than Obama and the Democrats did. The same with default.

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For the third time... ... the GOP did not threaten to shut down the government any more than Obama and the Democrats did. The same with default.

 

Yes they did. As soon as they tied passing a budget to defunding of the ACA.

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Yes they did. As soon as they tied passing a budget to defunding of the ACA.

 

This relies on the assumption that Republicans knew the Democrats wouldn't fund the rest of the government if there was no funding for the ACA. How many times will we navigate this circle?

Both sides appear willing to shut down the government over this. To lay the blame entirely on one side is sports-fan politics. How a given person feels about this issue seems to depend entirely on his or her view of the healthcare law. But have no fear; I think I've found a solution to these debt limit/government funding antics: Don't pass laws on slim majorities that are likely to be so hated that they will not be funded 2 years later.

Edited by FeatherFall

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Representative democracy is supposed to be messy.  It is supposed to be hard to pass laws and there is so supposed to be conflict to insure no one gets there way so we don’t end up with one party rule.  Minority parties are supposed to throw a stink and drag the majority onto concessions.  Laws should be hard to intact and there should be conflict if people don’t like it. 

 

It’s not like the States are in opening rebellion like they did against the Fugitive Slave Act and threaten to lock up officials who tried to act on Federal Laws they nullified.  As far as political tactics go this Country has seen worse and will again. 

 

The truth is we need to start having this debate.  The debt is one big ass can and we keep kicking down the road.  One day it’ll be too big to kick then there will be a default and it will be far worse than this one, which would still be terrible since we didn’t deal with it decades ago when it would have been easier. 

 

That being said, taking it this far in the wrong way is a sign of poor leadership to be sure, and both parties are at fault.  Previous Presidents have been able to work with Congress to get what they wanted, when they had the fortitude to do so.  Reagan and Clinton did so famously with a hostile Congress I might add, and those Congresses got what they wanted through a President they didn’t support too.   

 

As for “Conservative Objectivists, I’m still trying to figure out which Walt Disney Film that came from before I comment. 

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Imagine a Republican president had a package of tax cuts which were unfunded (for example George Bush Jnr).

 

Small point but that is a trap and an easy one to fall into. 

 

Taxes are stolen wealth from tax payers.  The Government does not "pay" for tax cuts no more than a criminal does not have to "budget" his bills around his thefts.  It only works if you accept the lifestyle of the criminal as the norm.   The process works like this:

 

Step One: The Government stops stealing money from people

Step Two:  The Government sets up moral systems of revenue that is voluntary and fee based

Step Three:  The Government spends within it's means like any other adult

 

Don't fall of the "funding" trap.  It implies the money belongs to the Government collectively and that it has to justify giving it to people, not the other way around. 

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As near as I can tell, this marks a new sort of political "invention". It was invented by the Republicans this year--but who invented and used it first is apropos of nothing: like a nuclear weapon, once you invent it, you can't uninvent it, and your enemies will use it too.

 

Using this loophole, a simple majority in one of the houses can essentially repeal any legislation they want by defunding it. (If the demos were clever they'd offer a "compromise" budget that removed ACA but also removed all of the plum projects from every t-party congressional district as well as all Federal aid to those counties and watch them squirm).

 

The question everybody's asking is, where are we going with all of this?

 

From a high-level, our system of government was in a sense designed to create gridlock. We need two houses of representatives and the president to all agree before we can do anything. This was fine when this only applied to new laws. Now it applies to all existing laws too, and now we need agreement between the three to even have a government at all.

 

Hence the reason lawmakers didn't use weapons like this before: the damage to the greater whole far outweighed the specific legislative victory. The understanding was that voters knew this, and would punish lawmakers for pulling stunts like this even if they agreed about the policy. We'll see what happens this time.

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This relies on the assumption that Republicans knew the Democrats wouldn't fund the rest of the government if there was no funding for the ACA. How many times will we navigate this circle?

Exactly! In fact, even the term "defund" is spin. The GOP funded everything other than Obamacare. And, they even backed off that position a while ago.

More importantly, the discussion about the details of how the two teams are posturing misses the broader picture: raising a stink and making threats that are sort of serious-sounding, but not quite... ... this the way a democracy negotiates internally. The broader negotiation here is about levels of spending, taxation and deficits.

In the U.S., the math does not work on entitlements. The problem is: there is no crisis. The U.S. can run up debts for a long, long while before things get hot. Without a crisis, the majority of voters remain disengaged. Without a crisis, anyone who proposes a solution will be bashed. In 1978, entitlement math was fixed in a way that would last a few decades: primarily by raising taxes.

Recently, the Simpson-Bowles commission suggested raising taxes, cutting benefits and adding more redistribution as ways to make the entitlement math work. Paul Ryan and Rand Paul put forward their own proposals. The President did not put forward a comprehensive proposal of his own, but he offered to cut benefits slightly by using a different cost-of-living adjustment. He also insisted that this should be coupled with more redistribution, by making Medicare "means-tested".

The entitlement discussion ties into the broader question of acceptable government debt-to-GDP ratios. The last time the GOP threatened on the debt ceiling, we ended up with "sequestration", keeping some control of a few government expenditures. That was after a lot of kicking and screaming, for a pittance of cuts. The funny thing is that both sides need all this fighting: that's the only way both sides can feel they're not giving in to the other.

So, now, we're back in a helter-skelter. The GOP is going to back off the ACA issue (which Cruz et al raised) and go back to insisting that something be done about the debt-level. Not much will happen this time either. In fact, some nutty Democrats are suggesting that they fight back and insist that the sequestration be undone too. Even if nothing much is done, all this keeps the issue of debt-levels front and center for a while longer.

Hopefully, some day we'll get a President from one of the parties who will craft and sell some compromise on entitlements that everyone can accept for another 3 or 4 decades.

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Hopefully, some day we'll get a President from one of the parties who will craft and sell some compromise on entitlements that everyone can accept for another 3 or 4 decades.

Way to deflate the balloon! Now what are we going to get angry about?

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Way to deflate the balloon! Now what are we going to get angry about?

We need to develop the ability to get angry at things that are remote and abstract ;)

[For instance, your generation is unlikely to get 100% of what social security currently promises. Some of it is water under the bridge. Yet, with each passing year of inaction, a little more of what you produce is redistributed away. I reckon it is tough to be mad about something so remote. If I were an activist, I'd need to overstate the problem so that people will stir themselves.]

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This relies on the assumption that Republicans knew the Democrats wouldn't fund the rest of the government if there was no funding for the ACA. How many times will we navigate this circle?

Both sides appear willing to shut down the government over this. To lay the blame entirely on one side is sports-fan politics. How a given person feels about this issue seems to depend entirely on his or her view of the healthcare law. But have no fear; I think I've found a solution to these debt limit/government funding antics: Don't pass laws on slim majorities that are likely to be so hated that they will not be funded 2 years later.

 

If the Republicans didn't know this, whose fault is that? Its the most obvious thing in the world that the Dems are not going to give up the ACA in return for the Republicans not destroying the economy.

 

You'd have to be a moron to agree to that, and a double moron to think your opponent would agree to it. If you disagree with me, then tell me what the Republicans were offering in return for not funding the ACA? The fact is that they are offering to not destroy the economy. Which is the dumbest offer I ever heard.

 

Please reply with what you think the Republicans are offering.

Edited by Kate87

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Please reply with what you think the Republicans are offering.

The GOP is hardly asking for much that is substantial. In contrast, Obama says he is simply not going to negotiate at all. Obama pretends that he will discuss things if the GOP first raise the debt-ceiling, but we know this is bull. All he does is run his 365-day campaign vilifying the GOP. In tone, he is no different from the most rabid tea-partiers.

Thanks to the last time the GOP stood firm, we got the sequester. No thanks to Obama, who complained and vilified them for it. In this context, it is quite natural that the GOP will try to use the one or two places where it can force Obama to talk to them. Now, he's says he won;t negotiate at all. I don't know what options he leaves the GOP now, except to pass short -- say two-month -- extensions so that they can keep up the brinksmanship until Obama starts acting sensible.

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Kate: It amuses me that you would compare the momentary dormancy of a small part of the government to armed robbery.

It is not amusing that you continue to spout such cliche bromides and support them thusly.

You're on an Objectivist website; give Atlas Shrugged a try. Not to understate things too much, but there's a lot you could gain from it.

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The republicans offered nothing because congressmen are not paid to haggle over their constituents; they are paid to represent and that is what they've done.

Do you think it's good to have so many restrictions and legislation that the economy suffers when deprived of permission? Or is it something natural, like a spotted owl, a bum or a gun?

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The GOP and Dems in the senate have laid out terms of a deal that gets government funding through and extends the debt limit, both for some months. And guess who tagged on a change to Obamacare: the Democrats! They want an exceptions for unions that get above-average health-plans from their employers. Hypocrisy from the Democrats now?

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If the Republicans didn't know this, whose fault is that? Its the most obvious thing in the world that the Dems are not going to give up the ACA in return for the Republicans not destroying the economy.

 

You'd have to be a moron to agree to that, and a double moron to think your opponent would agree to it. If you disagree with me, then tell me what the Republicans were offering in return for not funding the ACA? The fact is that they are offering to not destroy the economy. Which is the dumbest offer I ever heard.

 

Please reply with what you think the Republicans are offering.

I don't think they are offering anything, nor do I think they should. That premise is flawed. What were the Democrats offering when this started? Please reply with that.

 

Edit: The reality here is that the Democrats know their healthcare law is so unpopular that they had one and only one chance to pass it, back when they controlled all branches of government. Because they know they'll never get another crack at something this hated, they refuse to negotiate. The Republicans knew this bill was hated, and despite that they flinched. They are now negotiating. I predict that once the spotlight is turned away from who "wins or loses" this negotiation, the Democrats will agree to a few very minor tweaks to the law to fix some things that are bad for everybody in exchange for tweaking it a little in favor of their political allies (see SoftwareNerd's above post). The Democrats will claim victory in having convinced abusive Republicans not to "blow up the world economy" (As if!) and the Republicans will claim victory in "repealing part of the healthcare law." 

Edited by FeatherFall

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For what it's worth, two of the branches are definitely for OC, and the assumption is that the third branch would be for it if a small minority in Congress would allow a vote. As to what is "popular" and not, it's not a good idea to consider anything but what these elected branches do as your guide in this context. Remember that Democrats got a lot more votes overall but Republicans have more seats because of gerrymandering. Yes, OC might not poll well right now because of the all-out media blitz by one side, but one would assume that a counter-blitz would turn the votes the other way.

 

Moreover, while many people may not like this new law, many of them would not agree that repealing it is worth blowing our government to bits in order to repeal the law. It's only a tiny minority of people who think that--but they are procedurally running the show right now.

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