“THE REPUBLICAN WAY OR THE HIGHWAY” by Charles A. Archer: author of ‘Everybody Paddles’
The United States government was shut down for over two weeks straight with no signs of a Republican-Democrat resolution in sight. As republican politicians continued to disagree with The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the government also drew nearer to maxing out its $16.699 trillion credit limit. To reinstate the government, and keep the United States from defaulting on its credit, our divided political system must finally decided to work together; and decided to paddle forward as one unified system to avoid further economic calamity.
Why this happened?
Interestingly enough it’s President Obama’s healthcare reform which seeks to provide for everyone that has the house divided. Obamacare is not directly tied to the debt limit, but it is being used as a tool for bargaining. Some republicans believe Obamacare to be so appalling that it is worth a government shutdown to undercut it. So far, the republicans of the house have submitted two spending bill amendments to Obamacare despite knowing that any and all changes to Obamacare would not pass. During a recent press conference President Obama expressed his dissatisfaction with house republicans, “To all the American people: I apologize. You have to go through this stuff every three months. Lord knows I’m tired of it. But at some point we have got to break these habits … In negotiations, there’s give and there’s take. You do not hold people hostage or engage in ransom to get 100 percent of your way.”
As the government shutdown affected all federal employees in a big way. Military death benefits were halted, but were soon reinstated after a strong public outcry; meanwhile about 800,000 “non-essential” employees have been furloughed until such time as the government is reinstated. Republicans have halted the lives of so many of the American people because of their unwillingness to accept Obamacare.
What does Obamacare do?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, requires all Americans to have health insurance. The marketplace for the public to join with a medical insurer opened on October 1st, 2013, and no individual can be denied coverage nor will the cost of coverage be influenced by pre-existing conditions (although smokers will pay more).
Republicans that oppose the bill believe this to be an overreach by the government, and that it will also hurt employers.
Who was to blame?
President Obama and Democrats of the house will not vote in support of any amendments to Obamacare. Republicans of the house are fighting to limit spending that will support the healthcare reform. Republican motives are overwhelmingly political, and it appears as though they are putting their own agendas before what benefits the American people.
In a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press 52% of pollsters believe Obama is not doing enough to cooperate with Republicans; while 63% say it is Republicans that are uncooperative. Unfortunately, public opinion has done nothing to sway these politicians towards a resolution.
President Obama focused his entire campaign on change. By implementing positive change to our existing democracy we can become stronger as a people. A people that analyze new trends, support cultural change and amend pre-existing notions to better the American people. Of course all of this sounds good, but if it is not implemented we remain stagnant and behind in the times.
Some political analysts attribute this government shutdown to either the GOP or Obamacare, but fail to bring up the role of career politicians in our government’s inability to adapt to change. On October 11th 2013, the senior Republican in Congress, C.W. Young announced his retirement from the House at the age of 82 years old. His seasoned career embodies all that is wrong with Congress. Career politicians need to be challenged, and the Obamacare reform is just another example of their rigidity.
The founding fathers designed a political system for citizen politicians to serve for a fair amount of time, and then be replaced with someone well-informed, but also aware of the needs of the people at that current time. Congress is filled with men well into their senior years unwilling to make necessary changes; unwilling to work with our president and house democrats to see that people are able to afford proper healthcare.
A temporary solution to the long term problem would be for the government to be reinstated just to adjust the debt ceiling. This will solve the immediate problem, but leave the long term issues unanswered. Affordable healthcare is not a radical thought, but a realistic one, yet the president isn’t given the cross party support that is due. Instead, our government remains shutdown by uninspired politicians seeking to keep our society in the past. There truly is no one person that is at fault because when one of us decides not to paddle forward, everyone is at risk.