Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Some People Just Want to Watch the World Burn


Update (3:25 p.m.) - Finally someone in the news actually asks the right question. "Do you hate Obamcare more than you love your country?"

Update: (2:30 p.m.) - House Republicans are literally considering skipping town after voting on their bill, presumably ensuring a government default over birth control. I honestly don't know if I could make this up.

Yesterday, the Senate agreed to a "bipartisan" deal, to reopen the government. You can clearly tell Mitch McConnell is excited in the picture on the left, if not possibly aroused, and I'm sure for Harry Reid this image conveys the most emotion he's shown since his teenage years. Under the deal, the debt ceiling would be extended until February, and the government would be reopened until January 15, with a budget conference on December 13 that will work out a longer term deal. This will have changes to the Affordable Care Act, but on minor issues that are not the ones House Republicans shut the government down over. That said, this at least lets Republicans save some face in their voters' eyes, by cutting down on what they see as "Obamacare fraud." Sure, it doesn't exist, but they have to get something, right? The changes do not affect the individual mandate, the medical device tax, or any other key provisions of the law.

Well, the House plans to reject this and do their own bill that's even more right wing. You know, the same thing that got us into this mess in the first place. Surprise! The House Republicans that started the shutdown just aren't ready for the party to end yet. Basically, they started the shutdown because they wanted to prevent the ACA, reneging on a deal that already existed to keep the government running. and they would rather see the country and world economy burn to the ground then not get a "win" out of this.




Now, I'll say it again. Republicans got the spending levels they wanted in the budget. This hasn't changed in the existing Senate budget deal. The Tea Party gets to keep the sequester they wanted (which the CBO estimates cost the country 750,000 jobs). And now, they are standing strong, ready to light the fuse if they don't get their way.

It's like a four-year-old, unfortunately. Tell a four-year-old he can play with hundreds of toys, but take one Hot Wheels car away and say he can't have it, and it will be the only toy he wants. Except, instead of playing with cars and Legos, House Republicans are playing with people's lives and dreams.

Eric Cantor is not amused with my analogies.

For the record, we're basically already assured to have severe economic cost to delaying the debt ceiling this long, even if we do meet the deadline of Thursday. In 1979, Republicans played similar games with the debt ceiling with Jimmy Carter. The delay in raising the debt ceiling contributed to a "glitch" that ultimately cost the United States $12 Billion it didn't have to pay. This was mostly overshadowed in national history by the Three Mile Island meltdown, so people don't typically mention it in discussing the debt ceiling.

And this morning, as the GOP pledged their suicide pact in private conference, they sang "Amazing Grace" in unison. Whether they realize that this song is primarily sung at funerals is unknown, but it appears they are ready to kill this country's economy over misconceptions about ACA they created for their voters. I leave with this Barry Goldwater quote, which is brought to mind by the singing of a Christian hymn before doing massive harm to the people by whom one was elected.


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