The House of Representatives finally just passed an 11th Hour Deal to end the federal government shutdown and to temporarily raise the debt ceiling until early 2014. They voted in favor of the bill 285 to 144. It is sad that we have to act like this is such an amazing deal, when it is Congress merely doing their job and also doing their job quite abysmally. They have essentially “kicked the can down the road” on the debt ceiling. Instead of allowing the debt ceiling issue to be resolved for the near future, there will be another mind-numbing, bruising fight on the debt ceiling in February 2014. But President Obama held firm on not caving on his signature law, his health care law. President Obama had the political capital to be able to protect the Affordable Care Act with his re-election victory in 2012 in which he campaigned on his signature law, and also because the Supreme Court held up the law. Hopefully the GOP realizes it is time to give up on trying to revoke the ACA.
During the protracted political battle of the last two weeks, the GOP often tried to defend their position to the media by spinning the whole “Obama-care is ruining our economy” angle. The GOP tried to spin it as positioning themselves as a white knight saving the beleaguered American public from the “devastating” effects of Obama-care. Oh, please. I am so sick of hearing this. It is a basic human right for people to have access to affordable healthcare. The fact that so many Americans are uninsured in the richest country in the world is a complete failure of our nation. We have to work to fix this for our people. So the Affordable Care Act is an attempt to try to right this wrong. And while there may be some short term economic pain for small business owners, I think that the corporations posting record profits could stop complaining about how “they can’t afford Obama-care.” I somehow think they can find the funds out of their record profits to help their workers get access to basic services. I am so tired of the way that Wall Street acts like the Affordable Care Act is the reason for a sluggish economy and tepid employment numbers. When they were the ones who are responsible for crashing our entire economy in 2008 and then blamed our President for the sluggish economy. Also, I think that when Americans get access to healthcare, productivity also increases, which increases profit for the business community. They should be doing everything in their power to get their own employees taken care of. Because it is also in their own interest.
The media has speculated endlessly about the political fallout implications of this over two week long spectacle of a government shutdown. But as Nate Silver said recently in an interview: “The media is probably overstating the magnitude of the shutdown’s political impact. Remember Syria? The fiscal cliff? Benghazi? The IRS scandal? The collapse of immigration reform? All of these were hyped as game-changing political moments by the news media, just as so many stories were during the election last year. In each case, the public’s interest quickly waned once the news cycle turned over to another story. Most political stories have a fairly short half-life and won’t turn out to be as consequential as they seem at the time.”
He has a valid point. Perhaps we cannot assume this particular government shutdown will have a sizable effect on the 2014 Midterm Elections or in the 2016 Presidential Race. But then, maybe it will. When certain voters don’t get a paycheck, they tend to remember that. And maybe voters will tire of brinksmanship as a style of governing? We can only hope.