Thoughts on the possible shutdown

>> Friday, April 8, 2011

Hello all,

I've been out of blogging for quite a while now out of necessity, but I foresee possibly being able to take it up again on a regular basis (probably with more posts that are just "brain splats" with less attempt at polish) and because of that have a bit of the "blogging bug" at the moment. Consequently, I can't help myself and would like to offer a few thoughts on the possible government shutdown and related controversies.

First, I don't think it would be good for there to be a full shutdown of the government (or any shutdown at all, really, because negotiations that need to take place are the same whether they take place before or after a shutdown). By this I mean that the most core and essential functions of the government like the military, for instance, and any other essential functions that the two parties agree/should agree on, should be funded separately before and separately from less essential "functions" like funding Planned Parenthood, the EPA, National Endowment of Arts, etc, etc, etc. The problem with my viewpoint of course, is that the main sticking points seem to be entitlement spending, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and such. It's possible that within minutes a compromise will be reached on the main sticking points, but if they aren't the responsible thing to do would be to pass a few stop-gap measures funding the military and essential government employees and yes...keeping Social Security checks going out (at least at a reduced rate) and perhaps Medicare and Medicaid too, although if my understanding of the process is correct, IOU's can be issued to those programs (Medicaid and Medicare) which can be paid back at a later time (please correct me if I am wrong and you have the time). It's not right for the government to create programs for and by which people become dependant upon the government to buy groceries, pay the electric bill, the rent and such, and then suddenly cut that funding totally off before cutting off funding for such programs and departments such as Planned Parenthood, the EPA, the Education Department (the individual states can keep their own schools open) and so on.

Second, why are more people not seeing and calling out the Democrats on their "TEA Party" smokescreen? According to the Democrats, the only thing prevent a resolution of the budget debate is the TEA Party. I'm not a TEA Party guy and never have been. I've had a "polite" relationship with the TEA Party (for lack of a better description) and think it has it's good points and it's not so good points. So, don't mistake me as a hard line TEA Partier. Make no mistake though. Blaming the TEA Party for holding up all progress is an obvious smoke screen intended to conceal that the Democratic Party likewise is unwilling to make concessions. If they weren't refusing to make concessions then, logically, a resolution of some sort would already have been reached. Granted, according to the Democrats, their "principled" stands are in "defense" of the middle class and such, and the TEA Party's is about big business and "extreme" ideology, but it's not hard to see that they are as ideologically motivated as the TEA Party.

Third, when did it become wrong to be ideological? And...who isn't ideological? I don't have problem with ideology; in fact, I have my own ideology which happens to include a belief in the necessity of governing which from time to time may require that most hated of all things..."compromise"...on certain matters. I may disagree with other peoples ideology but I neither expect nor request that they scuttle it when they come to the negotiating table. I would only hope that the ideology of the individuals I'm negotiating with have some ground we can find in common.

Fourth, and finally, the Republicans have a smokescreen of their own. They keep calling for Presidential "leadership" in the budget negotiations, but the last time I checked the House of Representatives hold the purse and are primarily responsible for building and negotiating budgets. Does/should the President have a place at the table? Sure...and obviously he can veto a bill (which the house can then override with sufficient numbers) but House leaders are supposed to be at the head of the negotiating table when the budget is the matter at hand. The Executive Branch is supposed to be the third of four arms of government to weigh in on budget matters ( 1) the House of Representatives, 2) the Senate, 3) the Executive Branch, 4) the Judicial Branch). House leadership, both the majority leadership and the minority leadership, wanted their respective jobs. They got those jobs and are now responsible for them. Deal with it and be more careful what you wish for next time.

Clearly, everybody is posturing themselves politically, which is fine and necessary to an extent. But in this case most of the key players have been so focused on posturing BEFORE beginning negotiation (in anticipation that any possible compromise will be more unpopular than popular) that real negotiation has only recently begun, and that's a problem. Job security is very important to a politician. Oh! And the good of the nation too.

Ironically, the people with the greatest job security in the next election (outside of those who aren't up for re-election in 2012) will probably be those "ideologues" who actually stuck to their guns unequivocally, and rightly so. It's time voters more readily reward character and integrity in their elected representatives, which, btw, I think TEA Party voters will and have done, for which I applaud them.

God bless and veritas supra omnis!


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