Sunday, October 06, 2013

The shutdown

In the US, the big news is the shutdown of the US Government. I was a US Government employee for 22 years and in that time the US Government shutdown about three times, but every four years or so when the budget was being debated, there was always the threat and worry about a shutdown. This made life a bit uneasy and uncertain for all Government employees.

The current Government shutdown is due to the budget not being passed by the deadline, but it is really due to the new Healthcare Bill called Obamacare. Actually it is an amendment to delay the implemenation of the Healthcare Bill by a year that has been tacked on to the budget by the Republicans that is the actual cause. In other words this is a political, even a philosophical difference, between liberals/Democrats, who believe in taxing the rich to pay for the poor, and conservatives/Republicans, who believe that the poor should pay for themselves. However, the Healthcare Bill has already been passed and so this is only the funding for it that is being used to hold up the whole thing.

It is now a "who blinks first" game between the Republicans, who are holding the whole of the US Government hostage to their political machinations and Obama and the Democrats who are trying to get their programs thru Congress. The problem is that the Republicans hold a majority in the House of Representatives. It is likely that most Americans will blame the Republicans for the mess and if the shut-down drags on (the longest one 17 years ago was for 3 weeks), then it is quite likely that the Republicans will feel enormous pressure to give in. If they do then they will likely end up losing the next election, and helping the Democrats to win.

Whether or not this will be viewed as a victory for Obama is unclear. In a situation like this noone really wins. The public regards the politicians as uncaring and self-centered and guilty of ignoring the public's needs, i.e. not doing their jobs. It only brings politicians and Congress into further disrepute.


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