Budgets, borrowing, and government shutdowns.

Once again, the greatest nation in the world is on the verge (or over it) of demonstrating just how far we’ve fallen.  The issue: funding the federal government.

Here’s the problem as I see it:  Democrats and Republicans have different ideas about what the government should be doing and spending their money on.  Exacerbating the problem is the fact that they disagree on how much revenue the government should take in to pay for the various things they want to spend money on.

So now we have two problems:  how much money to take from the people, and how to spend it.

Republicans, as a general rule, tend to advocate for lower taxes for both individuals and business (large and small).  The idea here being that the more money individuals have, the more they will put it in the economy.  As a result, the corporations that end up with an increased demand for their products and services will use the money they have saved on taxes and earned from economic activity to hire more people to provide those products and services.  Those people, with jobs and money, will put it back into the economy.

And the wheel goes round and round: spending rises, employment rises, spending rises….

Conversely, the Democrats, as a general rule, tend to advocate for taxing at a higher rate and putting that revenue into programs that provide necessary goods and services to people that have no job or other limiting economic condition:  food stamps, WIC, housing assistance, unemployment, etc.  Less money in individuals’ pockets—removed by higher tax rates—doesn’t enter the economy, which prevents business large and small from needing or having the ability to add jobs, which prevents money from returning to the economy.

And wheel goes slower and slower: spending drops, employment drops, spending drops….

Now begins the name-calling portion of the fiasco currently entrenched in Washington D.C., which springs from these two opposing philosophies.

Democrats call Republicans “uncaring,” “heartless,” “war-mongering,” and “in the pocket of big business,” while Republicans call Democrats “tax-and-spenders,” “socialists,” “anti-business,” and “social activists.”

So where does that leave us?  With two groups—ostensibly adults—who have been entrusted with the governance of the greatest nation on the planet until this time, who cannot discuss the basic functions of government, or even discuss whether or not a proposed action is even a proper function of the government.

On the verge of a “shutdown” of the federal government, I have a couple of thoughts I’d like to share.

-The idea that the government will “shut down” is false.  A lot of government employees will not come to work or get paid, but the government (such as it is) will still function: Congress will meet, the President will still play golf, and the military will carry on with their duties, both at home and abroad—and they will do so brilliantly, regardless of what the Congress and President do.

-As one of the soon-to-be-furloughed government workers, I can say that this will hurt. A lot.  I’m not making $100,000 a year.  I make less than $50,000.  Hardly rich, by any stretch of the imagination, but somehow all government employees are all portrayed as lobster-eating, champagne-swilling millionaires.  Not quite.

-Funding the government as it related to this current “stand-off” is being held up mostly because of the Republicans’ stand on affecting some change or cancellation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which, depending on which side of the fence you’re on is either the greatest advancement in health care since penicillin or the biggest job-killer since EVER.  I’m no health care expert, but here’s what I know:  Having health insurance does not equal getting health care.  It is ludicrous to say that it is; it is akin to saying that just because you buy car insurance that you can get a car.  Dumb.  And to say otherwise is a lie.  Democrats are saying that Obamacare is “the law of the land” and that Republicans should just shut up.  (It has correctly pointed out that previous things that fell under the “law of the land” umbrella included slavery, women not having the right to note, prohibition, disallowing of an income tax, segregation, and traditional marriage.  All of those things now are no longer “the law of the land,” so to pretend that the “law of the land” is somehow immutable is laughable at best and disingenuous at worst.  What should be taken from these examples is that just because something can be done does not mean that it should be done.  This is something Washington D.C. seems to have forgotten in the last 200 years.

Now, do I think that this particular moment, this particular situation, is the ideal time to fight about Obamacare?  Probably not, but is there ever a “right” time to take on an unpleasant task?  Is there ever a “wrong” time to attempt to right a wrong?  So, for lack of another opportunity, I see why the fight is raging right now.  If not now, when?

-As for the upcoming debt ceiling issue, let me take issue with the President’s assertion that raising the debt ceiling is not the same as raising the debt; that it is simply agreeing to pay the bills that the government has already taken on.  How ridiculous is that statement.  Patently false and an outright lie to the American people.  And no one calls him out on it.  Throwing around the phrase “full faith and credit” like it means something to him.  What a farce.

America will pay its debts (accumulated by administrations past and present, Republican and Democrat), whether or not the debt ceiling is raised.  The only thing that NOT raising the debt ceiling will do is prevent the government from being able to BORROW more money to pay those debts instead of paying them out of collected revenues.  Raising the debt ceiling is the governmental equivalent of you or I having a full cable package, home alarm system, four cars, insurance, internet, best cell phones and calling plans, and scheduled vacations, all while supporting three kids in Ivy League schools and opening a new credit line to pay the bills that we don’t earn enough to pay instead of scaling back on what we spend, of prioritizing how we spend the money we make, and adjusting what we purchase accordingly.

Speaking of which, you know what else is currently the “law of the land?”  The debt ceiling.  Funny that, isn’t it?  Set by law, but we need to change it?  Hypocrites.

And you know what word I haven’t typed until right now?  BUDGET.  That’s right, we’re not even talking about a budget, because we haven’t had a budget in FOUR YEARS.  We have limped along from Continuing Resolution to Continuing Resolution, in violation of “the law of the land.”  Even during the first two years of Obama’s presidency, when the Democrats could pass anything they wanted, they didn’t pass budgets.  Take what you will from that little nugget of information.

 

I would go on, but frankly, I’m starting to get more than a bit upset about all of this.  Inform yourselves people.  If you blindly follow one party or the other, then you are doing yourself and your country a grave disservice.

If something doesn’t pass the sniff test, ask yourself why.

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