But, John, Don’t You Have Anything to Say About the Government Shutdown?

Oh, I’m pretty sure most of you know how I feel about it. At this point, saying anything about it feels almost redundant. For those of you who don’t know, just imagine me rolling my eyes at the House GOP so hard that I’ve bruised my optic nerve. That’ll do it. I might say more about it later, but for now: Dumb. Just dumb.

I will note, however, that healthcare.gov, the site to go for the latest information about the ACA and how you can participate in it, is actually up and running just fine. If you’re curious if (and how much) money it will save you on medical insurance, you should go check it out. I’ll note we are fortunate enough to have pretty good insurance through Krissy’s work, so this isn’t something that affects us directly. But I know lots and lot of people — freelance writers in particular — for whom this could be a useful thing. Whatever your politics, consider your financial bottom line. It’s worth seeing if it will work for you.

83 Comments on “But, John, Don’t You Have Anything to Say About the Government Shutdown?”

  1. I am writing a story where Senator Ted Cruz gets his teeth punched straight down his neck just because of this debacle. Also, I am eagerly anticipating the next election cycle. Here comes the Tea Party butthurt!

    Scalzi ftagn.

  2. I think expecting the makeup of the GOP to change during the next election cycle over this is perhaps the result of not paying attention to how we got in this mess in the first place. The Tea Party people _love_ this – they delight in it, and thanks to gerrymandering, they’ll probably not lose a single seat in 2014. The ‘purity test’ they have to pass in the primaries virtually guarantees the only changes you’ll see will be to move even farther right. :(

  3. “Whatever your politics, consider your financial bottom line. It’s worth seeing if it will work for you.”

    I have a friend who has no insurance and is refusing to even go check out the prices… due to his principles. I just shook my head at him slowly and sadly.

  4. tyger11: “The ‘purity test’ they have to pass in the primaries virtually guarantees the only changes you’ll see will be to move even farther right. :(”

    At this point, I’m convinced the Overton Window has shifted so far right, it is completely off the frame of the house now. >.<

  5. California Covered was getting hammered earlier this morning, presumably by millions of outraged people who didn’t want to sign up, but it seems to be working fine now.

    I look forward to the day when some mindless protester is seen carrying a “Government Hands Off My ACA!” placard.

  6. This whole debacle as turned me off politics in general, granted I became disillusioned a while ago. We’re is my socially liberal, fiscally conservative party? I recognize the need for the ACA, (voted against Obama twice) so why doesn’t the GOP work with the Dems and make it work? It’s law, negotiate on the fixes not the funding. Aarrggghhh!!!! … Rant off.

  7. I noticed in the replies to one of your tweets a couple people claiming that the problems the healthcare.gov site was having with traffic was due to some sort of directed effort by opponents of the ACA. Apparently they’re gonna “leave a window open” at the site. ‘Cause that’s just how Anonymous’s DDoS attacks work, don’tcha know – you get a bunch of your buddies to open a browser tab in Internet Explorer. *eyeroll*

    I suppose they think their staging some sort of modern day Boston Tea Party. Which got me thinking: what exactly are we celebrating with the Boston Tea Party? A bunch of ostensibly adult colonists behaving like petulant children in the second most racist way they could imagine? At least what they did could actually be kinda considered public disobedience, insofar as it was illegal and not merely annoying.

  8. @illmunkey: is your friend willing to pay the penalty/tax for not getting insurance, too?

    If I wasn’t getting insurance through work, I’d be checking out the exchange myself, but I’d wait a couple weeks, for it to settle down and the most obvious bugs are fixed. Open enrollment for coverage effective 1/1/2014 (the first day of ACA coverage) is through 12/15/2013, so there’s no need to make any decisions today, this week or even this month.

    John, the next/previous links are still showing up for me as the background color for the page and are therefore invisible.

  9. Ozzie –

    I keep thinking of starting a California Conservative Party – to be nationalized as a American Conservative Party – which fits the “socially liberal, fiscally conservative” definition. With the objective being to nuke the California Republicans, demonstrate that non-Tea-partiers can win, and then go national.

    My wife threatens me with great bodily harm. She’s probably right.

  10. GWH: your wife is correct, but it’s a lovely idea. People who want to save money and yet not demonize women, gays, and brown people? Why, that’s most of the folks I know!

  11. @DocRocketscience

    Which got me thinking: what exactly are we celebrating with the Boston Tea Party? A bunch of ostensibly adult colonists behaving like petulant children in the second most racist way they could imagine? At least what they did could actually be kinda considered public disobedience, insofar as it was illegal and not merely annoying.

    Puh-lease. The King’s representative (the Governor) could and did imprison, torture or deport any commoner without anything resembling modern due process. This was funded in no small part by the taxes obtained from various imports, including tea, which colonial-owned ships were forbidden to import without paying the King and parliament, in which they had no representation whatsoever. As John Oliver sarcastically noted, comparing the escalation of the British Empire’s tyranny to the ACA is beyond laughable. Now Gitmo…

  12. The place where you live may have pretty sunsets, but you have a crazy orange Congressman there.

  13. Lurkertype: People who want to save money

    Funny thing about health care reform is that if it were implemented correctly, we’d all save money. Rather than have so many people without insurance skipping preventative care and waiting until they need the emergency room, rack up a hundred thousand dollar medical bill on an ER visit that they can’t pay, which goes to the hospital, whcih gets passed on to the rest of us, we’d all be covered, we’d all get preventative treatment, we wouldn’t wait till we’re going into cardiac arrest at 3AM with a couple days in the ER, and we’d all save money in the end.

    That’s the whole point of Progressive Politics: Working together, we all save money.

    The point of Conservative Politics as played out in DC these days seems to be this: Drown government in a bathtub and we’d all be rich with the taxes we don’t have to pay.

    Of course, we would each have to have our own firetruck, ambulance, police car and an armored tank in our driveway, because if you really shutdown government we’d have to make sure we protect ourselves on an individual level, but somehow we’d be swimming in dough.

    How anyone can take current American Conservative Politicians seriously these days is beyond me.

  14. I’m having the same problem with the previous articles links not being visible. I’m using Chrome, if that makes any difference

  15. People who want to save money and yet not demonize women, gays, and brown people? Why, that’s most of the folks I know!

    That’s a party I’d take seriously. And that’s no joke.

  16. @Greg: Oh, I agree completely — my problem with the President is he’s not progressive enough, but I also realize what a huge handicap he’s working against, led by OGH’s Rep who’s about the color of the background accents here.

    A Conservative party that realized the value of a safety net and didn’t cater to the 1% and special interests would be great… but the closest thing we have to that right now is the Democratic Party.

    As the neo-cons have dragged everything further right, the Republican party is a shadow of its former self. We had big tax rates under Eisenhower (who warned us of the military-industrial complex), and Nixon signed the EPA and OSHA into law, while also proposing something very like the ACA and supporting the ERA. Neither of them would win a primary today, they’d be far too liberal.

  17. In the end, this is all good news. The repukes are fighting this because they know when Obamacare goes into effect, it’s game over for them, 2014 is going to be a landslide for the Democrats. Let me even go further, the House will revert to the Democrats, and finally sanity will run the country. The American people will realize just how badly they were being ripped off by the medical/corporate/insurance cabal, and how much better they will have it now. Finally, the people will get the health care they deserve, and the corporate interests of the rich will finally have to pay their fair share.
    Remember this day, this is history, America will never be the same.
    It only gets better from here!!!

  18. I’m off today, and for some time to come, because of your worse-than-useless Representative Boehner. I work for EPA, 95% of whose employees are furloughed. I actually have stuff to do, but I’m forbidden by law even to check my e-mail.

  19. We need a constitutional amendment making a shutdown of the federal government illegal, punishable by imprisonment and stripping officeholders of their legal standing to hold any elective office, forever.

  20. You may have other things to do yourself, but could you send that gamma rabbit with the mallet from the other day over to Washington for a bit? They can either use it knock some sense into your representative, or hop into the speaker’s chair before anyone can stop them and use the mallet to gavel the chamber to come to order and vote on a straight-up, clean continuing resolution. Either way, a lot of us would be most grateful.

  21. @ Theophylact: I’m with you. Boehner is a moron. While those shitwits figure out where their spines are, I advise you to go get a part-time job somewhere. With luck, you’ll be able to go back to the EPA when Congress gets fired in the 10,000 Liberal March of 2017 (if the hypothetical future scenario in the story that I’m working on comes to pass).

    @ David Gustafason: YES!!! YES!!!!!!!!! YEEESSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ted Cruz would be permabanned from public office! I would pay any and all money that I will ever earn over the course of my life to see that arrogant fucker get thrown out on his smarmy ass.

  22. @Bruce: Ah ha ha ha ha ha. No. Not willingly. And that is going to be an interesting conundrum I wonder how they’re going to need to solve (which really is a totally different, off-topic discussion).

  23. You want to shut down the government, GOP fucknuts? Shut down yourselves. Defund your own gamey asses if it means so much to you, tools.

  24. There is another potential reason for the obstinacy: so far as those who’d (probably) like to institute a modern feudalism in the US, a non-functioning government is an asset.

  25. My favourite part of the shutdown? The part where CONGRESS STILL GETS PAID. That’s right, congressional salaries are exempt from government funding cuts (just the actual reps and senators, though–their aids are totally screwed). The extent to which the incentive structure in the current US government seems designed to create dysfunction is mind boggling.

  26. This is a service announcement for anyone who’s as stupid as I am: You do not want to do an image search for the term bruised optic nerve, without quotation marks and no filter on your search. Those who are smarter than me have figured it out, by themselves without trying or needing to be told.

  27. I used to be a registered Republican (yes, it was a long time ago). On Twitter this week, I created the following hashtag. #WhyIWillNEVERVoteRepublicanAgain

  28. Theophylact, I’m not sure which group I feel the most upset for: people like you who are forbidden to do any work (and who likely will not get paid for this unwanted time off) or those who are required to work (the “exempt” or “essential” ones) who also will not get paid until this mess is over (if then) but have to work anyway. But who still gets paid, regardless of how long it lasts? The armed forces, because of a special law that Congress passed yesterday, and I don’t begrudge them. (Veterans, however, are SOL.) And the members of the House and Senate themselves, because of the 27th Amendment to the Constitution. That’s right, most of those responsible for the shutdown won’t lose their pay. Their staffers will, and I’m sure every other person working in the halls of Congress.

    I think the members of the House and Senate should donate their pay during the shutdown–at least to pay their own staffs and the people who are keeping the lights on, water running, etc.while Congress works on fixing this–which they’d damn well better be doing, day and night. Those Senators and Congresspersons should shut themselves in their chambers and stay there until they have worked through this. Somebody can feed them coffee, tea, water, fruit juice, sandwiches, salads, and maybe cookies, and enough protein should be provided to keep their brains from suffering from protein insufficiency, which would make them dopier than they already are. Beyond the most basic of amenities, they should be made to feel the consequences of this as much as possible now, while everyone else is, not when the next election rolls around.

  29. Should you ever feel the desire to discuss the current situation, I for one would very interested in hearing about how your neighbors, a non-zero number of whom presumably voted for Boehner, are responding to it. I live in a very liberal area and keep my media diet to the “knows when it’s a dystopic hellscape” sort, therefore leaving me with little access to Real Republican VotersTM .

  30. “…healthcare.gov [is] up and running just fine.”
    Up, yes. IME, not running – Sign up fails at the three security questions, because the three drop down lists for selecting a security question are empty, and the workaround of click the first select-a-q.-box, -down arrow key(DA)- -tab key- potato -tab- -DA- -DA- tomato -tab- -DA- -DA- -DA- flubber wasn’t useful.

    I feel a little bit of sympathy toward the furloughed workers and am uncomfortably numb about the shenanigans of oh fuck it. (Not “it.” Them.)

    I really need to make a pumpkin custard pie.** With brown sugar, butter flavor flavor, cloves and fresh butternut squash. Oh, so lovely is a butterscotch with a hint of cloves pumpkin pie. Now, what ice cream. Vanilla is fine for a canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice one but, * Oooh Butter Pecan ice cream for the ala mostest goodest.

    *Butter Brickle would also be good, and I may need Ritalin.
    **Or start thinking of that current orange back ground as amber=beer colored.

  31. @BW – At the moment, I trust my agency and my contracting company enough to wish that I could work, even if pay was delayed. I have _shit to do_. I have trains of thought going, which I’m just supposed to halt, as if that’s even possible. I hate that I’m not allowed to do my job while a small group of jackwads draw lush and flowing paychecks for refusing to do theirs.

  32. It seems to me that a man like Boehner, suffering from what appears to be chronic jaundice, could be a little more sympathetic to people needing a doctor. On the other hand I thought he did have a point about big companies getting delays in the law that mere peasants don’t get. Either way, the issue doesn’t justify trashing the economy.

  33. @illmunkeys, by 2015, he’ll either get assessed a penalty or have his tax refund reduced, maybe even with his 2014 return, depending on his employer.

    I personally think that fewer Republicans will be voted out next year than many liberals expect/hope for, simply because there are many districts and even states that have such large Republican majorities they’ll re-elect the incumbents unless they’re convicted of some serious crime. I wouldn’t be surprised if Boehner runs unopposed again.

  34. @Megpie71: Even though I disagree with about half of your model, and vehemently so with one small part, that was kind of brilliant. Of course, like many a CS student, you’ve forgotten to check the compiler for code-gen deficiencies and you’ve overlooked the systemically insecure networking protocols that make the problem global (in a programming variable sense I mean, of course). I try not to have the cynicism borne of having lived and worked for years inside the Beltway, but what the media and analysts present tend to have only the most passing of resemblances to what really transpires in and around the Capitol. Don’t worry, the USA will keep chugging along. You can’t get rid of us that easily :)

  35. And of course the so-called “liberal media” is mostly still presenting the story in a “balanced” way, which evidently means giving facts and bullshit equal weight.

  36. I work for a state agency that is heavily Federally funded. Our mission, the thing we are supposed to do with all those Federal dollars, is to help the citizens of our state. My bureau spent all day today figuring out what it is that we have to stop doing for those folks because the Federal funds have been shut off.

    None of the end recipients of those Federal dollars are government workers. They’re just everyday folks trying to get back on their feet, trying to learn new trades, work with disabilities, trying to support themselves – the very thing the right wingers say they *SHOULD* be doing.

    But we can’t help them do it until the Republican Party pulls its thumb out of its collective asses and allows normal functions to resume again. And meantime, all those folks that desperately need a hand up to gain economic independence are thrown right back to square one. And, by the way, they’re not spending money or contributing to the economy, either. Which is also what the right-wingers say we should all be doing.

    I wish I could be optimistic that the next election cycle will see these cretins get the boot. But the reality is that they have done such a spectacular job of jerrymandering purple states like the one I live in that I don’t see any real possibility of the House going Democratic. They’ve managed to shoehorn the state’s slim Democratic majority into a few carefully contrived congressional districts, keeping huge swaths of the state red by virtue of the traditionally conservative rural voters. And I very much fear that shenanigans like that are going to keep the House full of rabidly xenophobic rich old white men, who, having gotten their piece of the pie, are determined not to let anyone else have a share.

  37. Yeah, so glad that Democrats never doing anything stupid…… Ouch I pulled an eye muscle while rolling them.

  38. From what I can determine, my current plan doesn’t exist anymore. That company offers a “do nothing” plan, which will cost me an undetermined amount more (at least 20% + a 50% hike in drug costs for tier 2 and 3 drugs + $800 for a health club membership + “additional or larger fees that may be required by the government”.) Oh, and two drugs I’ve taken for over a decade are now not in the formulary at all, and they have no generic equivalents (not that generic psychoactive drugs ever seem to work the same; there are chemical and bio-chemical reasons for that, bookkeepers.)

    They’ll experiment on me, trying cheaper drugs that didn’t work the first time. Or the second.

    Gee thanks. Glad some of you are getting a great deal. Guess I’m back to going to presentations for the next two months.

  39. So you lost an election, Obamacare got stripped of a proper single-payer option because you wouldn’t go along with it, you lose another election, you lose in the Supreme Court, you pass 42 futile attempts to defund it, and you still have the temerity to bleat on and throw a temper tantrum because you can’t win elections.

    Oh, and by the way, didn’t you say “repeal and replace?” What’s the replace part, dying quickly?

    Well, that’s mature. Unfortunately we’re stuck with a huge mass of Republicans who are gerrymandered into safe seats, so there will be continued stupidity for, well, pretty much until the blue states get fed up of sending our federal tax dollars to support your theocratic dumbass little states. Thank Dog the Senate is still in Democratic hands. Thankfully the Tea Party loons meant that the Democrats kept some states they should have lost (Harry Reid?)

  40. Obamacare never had a proper single payer option. The president never proposed it, and went on record that it wasn’t an option. And that is the single biggest failing of this bill. It is essentially a gift to massive insurance corporations. The notion that this bill is somehow progressive, or that the president is some kind of liberal is preposterous on it’s face. This is a right wing bill from a center-right president.

    The only reason the Teatards keep screaming “LIBERALZ SOCIALISM” is because it gets repeated by the giant corporate media outlets that dominate information distribution.

    We should have single payer. We should have had a president with the spine to at least argue the case for it. Instead, we are going to be stuck with this abortion of a law for another generation.

  41. OldBrownSquirrel – Scalzi’s congresscritter may be a crazy orange color, but he’s one of the less crazy Republicans. Not “Mike Castle” level of “less crazy” (Castle lost his primary to Christine “Not a witch” O’Donnell, giving Delaware a solid win for a Democrat who at least used to call himself socialist instead of a solid win for a moderate Republican), but much less crazy than Ted Cruz.

    Greg – The actual conservative strategy is to get right-wing crazies yelling about drowing government in a bathtub so that the party’s corporate sponsors can sell the government a lot of bathtubs.

    I have a full-time job at an old-fashioned company, so I have employer-provided health care, but our enrollment period starts this week, so I get to find out how much they’ve jacked up the employee share of the cost this year. (Hasn’t been pretty the last couple of years, and the retiree medical plan that used to be really good has mostly morphed into a Medigap insurance plan.) I’ll leave the California ACA website alone for a while, since it supposedly was overloaded today, but it’ll be interesting to compare the rates once the rush is over.

  42. My sympathy in the shutdown is with the sick men, women, and children who are being turned away from NIH clinical trials, and with the mothers who will have problems buying food because their WIC benefit is gummed up. (And that’s a benefit that can’t be easily used to buy anything but basic food items. No cheetos, beer, and cigarettes.)

  43. “Scalzi’s congresscritter may be a crazy orange color, but he’s one of the less crazy Republicans. ”

    Unfortunately he doesn’t seem to have the spine to actually stand up to the crazies, so the crazies run riot.

  44. Sounds like you should roll your eyes at the Dems as well. At least the Republicans are offering solutions to bring the guv’ment back up, whereas the Dems are acting like bratty little children who take their ball home if they can’t get their way.

  45. I find this whole thing…bemusing. If it’s any comfort the UK right currently appears to be doing its best to dismantle our healthcare service – which has been one of the best things about this country – but they don’t have to shut down government to do it. That’s because they’re in power.

  46. I always liked Charlie Pierce’s categorization of the Republicans as “feral children.” I can’t put my hands on the post where I first saw it, but Google tells me he’s used the phrase several times since then.

  47. John Mark Ockerbloom–The Gamma Rabbit Hand Puppet is here with me at Union Station working frantically to minimize financial obligations that will be incurred by my Agency during the shutdown. But once that’s done, we’ll no longer be “essential,” and a quick trip up the Hill to protest before he heads to the Scalzi Compound sounds like fun.

  48. @megpie71: I just saw a meme that suggested rebooting the country in safe mode would imply booting it with no guns and universal healthcare :P

    Oh, oh, it’s a different kind of “safe”.

    As a few others mentioned. The gerrymandering is beyond the point of absurdity. It would be nice if the government could get together on at least fixing the government, but then they’d have to play fair and something crazy like things-would-get-done would happen. Gerrymandering, campaign finance reform, waste, corruption. These are the types of things I imagine real republicans would love to see fixed.

    And by “real”, I mean the ones not in office today, but the normal Americans that identify as republican (or maybe used to identify as republican before it became the anti-American, anti-society, anti-science, anti-education party).

  49. @Jerome – Amen. As a European, whenever I hear of Obama being called a Socialist, I just sigh. He’d be out on the right wing of any non-US political system (UK, Australia, most of Europe), not just center-right.

  50. @ Chris: You know, Greece calls their Nazis “Golden Dawn”. We call ours the Constitution Party. In Greece (hardly the most liberal place) the fascists are highly controversial. Here, they’re treated like adorable crazy uncles.

    America is one giant conservative hell-hole. If things don’t improve by the time I’m out oc college, I’m moving to Sweden.

  51. @Zero: I’ve got to slightly disagree about the Republicans. The Republican party, as a whole, seems to be still following Gingrich and Rove’s dictum of politics being solely about the acquisition and retention of power through any means necessary. This is the logical outcome: all the gerrymandering, vote-rigging (alleged), repealing the Voting Rights Act, and now the government shut-down is to retain power at all costs, using the Tea Party as their last bastion of populist will (even though that movement is burning out as we speak). They know that, on the wheel of history, their part of the rubber is about to hit a very rocky road. So they’re trying to keep the wheel from turning, no matter what happens to the rest of the car.

    In a sick way, I support the shutdown, simply because I want this meme to die, not because I think government doesn’t work, and definitely not because I like seeing my friends in government (and business) suffer. As a liberal, I can work with conservatives–there’s usually something like love of the land, or responsibility, or working towards a more liveable future that we agree on. What I can’t work with is a bunch of power-hungry demagogues, because they’re no more interested in governing than Smaug is interested in investing his hoard in raising a sustainable crop of tasty dwarves and hobbits.

  52. At least the Republicans are offering solutions to bring the guv’ment back up,

    No, they’re not. Saying “give in to all my demands” is not a solution.

  53. What I can’t work with is a bunch of power-hungry demagogues, because they’re no more interested in governing than Smaug is interested in investing his hoard in raising a sustainable crop of tasty dwarves and hobbits.

    And not one of them is as awesome as Benedict Cumberbatch. Then again, Benedict Cumberbatch is right up there with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen (the latter of whom is currently leading thirteen dwarves and a hobbit against him).

    Saying “give in to all my demands” is not a solution.

    Technically, it is a solution. It is not, however, a good, workable, rational, or even non-nonsensical solution. It is the solution that you do not even go to when World War Three is about to break out. In practice, it is not a solution. It is only a solution on paper.

  54. Anyone who thinks that anyone of the 537 top elected officials is blameless in this mess needs another think, John. As long as Liberals claim that Conservatives are at fault or vice-versa, either they’re lying or naive. .

  55. Jon P Ogden: The worst mistake Obama has made (and he’s made it repeatedly) was trying to bargain in good faith with the Republicans. Time and time again he’s done it, giving away the store in the hopes of an agreement, only to have them ask for even more at the last moment. Perhaps he’s finally realized that he’s been negotiating with himself all along and has at last decided to stop. We can only hope so.

    The false equivalency of “they both (or all) do it” poisons any attempt at rational discourse. No, it’s not all a matter of opinion.

  56. I don’t envy Bohner.

    And he can’t offer a clean CR, yet. He would fracture his party, probably loose his leadership and the House would still be in chaos 2 weeks from now when we’re breaching the debt ceiling and looking at economic shutdown.

    He can save things–and loose his job and retire, by offering a clean CR and debt ceiling–but any action that fractures the House Republicans before the Debt ceiling vote is chaos.

  57. Theophylac. I am afraid your claim that a man who has repeatedly announced that he will NOT bargain in good, bad, or any other kind of faith has done the exact opposite is a perfect example of the kind of rabid party-over-country thinking that has brought us to this mess. Boehner is to blame, Obama is to blame, Reid is to blame. Those who cannot see that see nothing.

  58. @Eric Mills (“My favourite part of the shutdown? The part where CONGRESS STILL GETS PAID.”)

    Weeelll…I certainly can understand a frustration with the House’s members getting paid to do a piss-poor job, I’m not actually certain that they’re less deserving of their wages now than they were yesterday, or last week, or last month. From a technical standpoint, members of Congress remain “at work” (ahem) during the shutdown. Like other “essential” workers who haven’t been furloughed, members of Congress will get paid because they are still coming to work and still (nominally) doing their jobs.

    Witholding the salary of members of Congress during the shutdown would be a largely symbolic gesture that is likely to carry unintended messages and consequences. In an oh-so-twisted way, a congressperson would be justified in thinking, “Okay, now that I’m not being paid, I can justify not working very hard toward a solution.”

    It would encourage all kinds of delightfully deceptive comparisons and false equivalences. It lets House Republicaans off the hook by letting them claim that they are suffering nobly for their cause. (“By giving up my $3000 per week, I’m making a big sacrifice – a BIGGER sacrifice – than the person who stops getting their pittance in food stamps. We’re all in this together!”)

    It would further cement Congress as a playground for the independently wealthy. Any potential ‘working-class’ or ‘middle-class’ candidates would know that in addition to the costs of running a campaign they would also be at risk of random salary interruptions. Losing a week’s or a month’s pay during a shutdown isn’t going to seriously affect or harm most members of Congress–just the few who aren’t comfortably part of the 1%.

    Finally, it would tend to make members of Congress even more dependent on political donations. If they can’t count on the government to pay their own salaries (or the salaries of their staffs), then they are going to be looking for handouts from donors–lending even more influence to the right-wing machine that brought us this shutdown in the first place.

  59. @G.B. Miller: Yes the Republicans are offering all sorts of solutions, like postpone the ACA, defund the ACA, force some federal employees to use the exchanges, but take away the 75% subsidy that the rest of the federal employees get (which is comparable to the subsidies employees of large company get), fund just the 3-4 bits of the government that the Republicans know will look good if they vote for it and the Democratic don’t because they want an across the board CR. It’s all gamesmanship, and the real question is whether the Republicans will be able to convince any independents that the shutdown (and the failure to increase the debt ceiling, if that happens in two weeks) really wasn’t their fault. I’m biased, but I think the majority of population already believe it’s the Republican’s fault, Obama is not going to back down, and this is not going to sway anyone who isn’t already a member of their core constituency.

  60. Lurkertype: my problem with the President is he’s not progressive enough

    I’ve said this before, Obama is one of the nicest moderate-right-of-center presidents we’ve had in a long while.

    Jon P Ogden: Boehner is to blame, Obama is to blame, Reid is to blame. Those who cannot see that see nothing.

    Right. And if my grandmother had wheels, she’d be a wagon.

    The people who are most vehemently saying “everyone is to blame” are the people most to blame. “Everyone is to blame” is just another variety of the “lets not play the blame game” nonsense. And the only people buying that are the people who very much want to believe they’re not to blame for the very mess they created.

    So, no. Not buying it.

  61. Damn it, Greg, you got to everything important before I could!

  62. “People who want to save money” – I get a little tired of the false meme that conservatives want to save money and liberals don’t want to save money. The difference between people who are fiscally conservative and fiscally liberal is WHAT we want to spend/save money on, not who wants to save or not save money.

  63. John – what I’m curious about is whether you ever bother to write to Boehner about stances he takes with which you disagree (that is, if you are the “write your Congressperson” type) or if you’ve just given up? I know I stopped bothering to write when I had a right-wing ideologue as a Congressperson because the generic “I didn’t bother to read what you said beyond just the topic and I’m sending you my pat and insulting response which explains why my views are right and your views are wrong” response letters I’d get just raised my blood pressure that much higher.

  64. Dear GB,

    I call bullbleep.

    No, the Republicans are not “offering solutions.” What they are doing is demanding that a game that is done, negotiated out, over with, finished, and adjudicated be PLAYED AGAIN, because they didn’t get what they wanted the first time.

    That is not how the sausage gets made, not if you want a functional government, for any definition of functional you like. You don’t get to cry, “Do-over!” once it’s done. You move on to the next issue.

    The ACA was hammered out over years of negotiations, compromises, votes up and down and finally court challenges. Anyone who imagines it wasn’t, or that every single faction with every imaginable point of view wasn’t holding a hand at that table, wasn’t paying any attention. Good, bad, or ugly, it’s what it is.

    There are spoiled childish brats in the room, indeed. But it ain’t the folks saying, “It’s a done deal, so grow up.”

    pax / Ctein

  65. John, the next/previous links are still showing up for me as the background color for the page and are therefore invisible.

    Oh, is THAT where they went? I was trying to figure out why they had disappeared.

    [Insert obligatory joke about gov’t shut-down being responsible for lack of links]

  66. @drmeow — that’s why I deliberately phrased it that way. Everyone wants to save money!

    Liberals think we need less pork-barrel spending, less kickbacks to big business, etc. and so do sane conservatives (which the Republicans seem to have so few of). Maybe a little less on the things that blow stuff up and a little more to the people who operate them, which, again, is a position most decent people hold.

    @NLCoolJ :) same here. They’re still there if you mouse around, just invisible and hard to find. Kinda like reasonable conservatives! Hi-yo!

  67. Liberal and conservative fiscal policy isn’t that different. It’s just a matter of who the “responsibility or die” requirement is aimed at: individuals or corporations. Conservatives think throwing money at the “lazy” poor is a waste; liberals think continuing to prop up poorly managed companies is.

    The conservative mindset is still stuck on a supply-side model of economic growth that simply doesn’t work anymore, because it doesn’t account for the massive shift from individual or board ownership of companies to a wide-pool shareholder model. In the shareholder model, companies are required to make as much short-term profit as possible, even if they have to screw their long-term growth (and the overall economy) to do it. This is what has given us a system in which shareholders reward failing companies that turn a profit by cutting staff, instead of requiring them to fix the reason they’re failing in the first place.

    Liberals, on the other hand, recognize that the consumer is the true cornerstone of a growth economy, and since consumers are also workers, that means that companies have to invest in workers if they want consumers to buy their goods and services.

    I hear conservatives argue that we have to funnel money toward the top so owners will expand their businesses and therefore create jobs. Only problem is that businesses cannot legitimately expand in a demand vacuum. You can open all the new stores and factories you want, but if there’s no one making enough money to buy what you’re making and selling, you’re going to fail. Companies don’t create jobs; consumers do.

  68. Most people don’t know this, but government employees who are still working and NOT furloughed will not be paid if the shutdown lasts past the next pay cycle. There is no revenue to pay them with. They will get IOUs. Now they will get paid, but it will be late. Personally, I would not show up if I was not guaranteed to be paid on time.

  69. I want to know how the Republicans ever convinced anyone that they’re ‘fiscally responsible’. From Reagan on forward, every Repub administration has found ways to jack the deficit to new levels – _Clinton_ was the one who actually managed to reel it back a little.

    But now there’s a blah-uh, Democrat in the White House, and suddenly they’re all about cutting every budget everywhere (that isn’t producing bombs or jails).

  70. @Consumer Unit 5012 – “…every Repub administration has found ways to jack the deficit to new levels…”
    I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a deliberate political tactic. That it *could* be deliberate first occurred to me while I was reading Dominic Sandbrook’s modern history of Britain. Then, because I’m a glutton for punishment I made my way through David Kynaston’s similar series, and because the idea made such a lot of sense, it started to nag at me slightly.
    It’s a tactic that works extremely well for a right of center party, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out the hows and whys. If you use up all of the money (mostly by handing it over to your wealthy friends), then the government that follows can’t possibly put into effect any of it’s subversive commie pinko ideas, because it simply can’t afford to do *anything* except try to repair the finances. This exact scenario was the undoing of Wilson’s government in 1960s Britain. It would also appear, from all the evidence, to have been the undoing of the first Clinton administration (which, as I’m sure everybody remembers, inherited such a dire fiscal situation that it was basically forced to surrender to “The Market” and forget all about doing anything with healthcare.)
    If it wasn’t so outrageously effective *as* a tactic and if it didn’t keep happening over and over again in the exact same way then I’d be more willing to believe that it’s a repeated accident. But… no. it isn’t incompetence and stupidity. It’s a tactic.

  71. At least as interesting, though, is to spend a little time considering what else might result if “Using up all the money” is a deliberate tactic. It’s essentially a method of defunding the government itself, so that when the finances become *truly* dire, well then even the socialist scum over there will have to start cutting all of those hateful government programs. Austerity now! No money! No choice! See? You can get rid of government even when the other party’s in control! Easy!

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