Tuesday, October 01, 2013
Shut it down!
"We" at Unforeseen Contingencies are not bothered in the least by the alleged shutdown. Back in 2011 "we" opposed the battle over the debt limit that threatened to "shut down" the government. So far as our chief analyst (me) could see, in that case there was not much to be gained yet a great deal at risk since conceivably a sovereign debt crisis might have been triggered -- in other words, the U.S. might have failed to fully pay interest on its massive and growing debt. The threatened shutdown did not seem to be tied to any serious proposal to end deficit spending, so there were no benefits to balance the threat.
This time is different. Republicans in the House, along with a few in the Senate, tried omitting funding for PPACA/Obamacare from any continuing resolution (you know, "continuing resolution," to fund the federal government in lieu of an actual budget). When that failed in the Senate, House Republicans responded with a funding bill that exempts everyone from Obamacare for one year... fair enough, especially since Obama has illegally legislated by handing out over 1200 exemptions to the law. Note that currently the Republicans aren't even proposing to end Obamacare!
Unforeseen Contingencies has no hesitation supporting a shutdown over this issue. This "shutdown," and possible sovereign default, is tied to a real issue. Obamacare is, effectively, a death sentence against the American economy -- if fully implemented, it will do great harm. It places enormous costs on businesses and will depress entrepreneurship and economic growth. It will also lead to spiraling increases in government expenditures. If left in place, it guarantees a sovereign default. So go ahead, shut down the government if that's what it takes to stop the damned thing -- there's nothing to lose.
The arguments leveled against Republicans range from bizarre to deeply dishonest. For example, there's the argument that PPACA is "the law" and that SCOTUS 2012 decision plus the re-election of Barack Obama settled the matter. That's bizarre for at least two reason. First, Congress has full authority to refuse to fund something. The Constitution grants this power to Congress and to no one else. Congress has the legal authority to fund or not fund -- it is cloud cuckoo stuff to argue that Congress can't refuse to fund Obamacare. Even more bizarre, the PPACA as it exists today is not the law Congress passed. Never mind Justice Roberts' rewrite of PPACA to claim it involves a tax (which Congress explicitly denied at time of passing the bill)... Barack Obama has issued over 1,200 exemptions to the bill, effectively rewriting it. So too has Kathleen Sibelius, who has failed on multiple occasions to follow the law, with no consequences at all. In both cases, illegal executive branch fiat has replaced the PPACA. Whatever the thing is that Obama et al. want funded, it is certainly not the law Congress passed. There's nothing legal or Constitutional about what Obama has done, and the House ought to be passing articles of impeachment against the dictator-wannabe in the Whitehouse.
Other arguments are simply cynical and dishonest. For example, there's the claim that opposing PPACA is equivalent to terrorism or an act of war. Yeah, right, just like everyone who disagrees with Obama is a racist. To the contrary, those who make this argument reveal in themselves a totalitarian streak that brooks no dissent. And yes, that means that Obama and Congressional Democrats are latent totalitarians, as are their Republican friends such as Senators McCain and Graham. If they keep insisting that disagreeing with them is criminal, it's reasonable to think that criminalization of disagreement is in the back of their minds... or perhaps even on their 'bucket lists.'
Regardless, I can see no argument at all against the shutdown, nor for why Republicans should offer the unconditional surrender Obama and Reid demand. I'm surprised that the Republicans have put up even this much fight. But any fight is good, anything to derail Obamacare is good. Most of what the government does now is unnecessary or a waste, or positively destructive, so by all means shut the damned thing down!