Will the federal government shut down? Yes, no, maybe. But the question is: does it really matter?
The media loves to tell a story. Having disagreements, second-guessing and conniving players makes for good TV, for good radio and for the selling of newspapers. We are all too familiar with how the relevant players like to position themselves for a political win. For some politicians it seems to be just a game. Who outmaneuvers who, who blinks first, etc. Las Vegas has nothing on Washington when it comes to betting on the winning party. Now, even political reporters are hedging their bets on the shutdown.
Barring an unexpected agreement on the budget, the federal government will partially shut down as of October 1. It’s important to note that while many federal employees will have to stay home, those departments overseeing the safety and security of America will continue to be funded.
I don’t know which player will win, but in my heart I ache for America. This is a pain that Obamacare will not cure, because it is what actually caused it.
- Rosario Marin, Former U.S. Treasurer
We have faced this kind of brinkmanship so many times before that I find many Americans are fundamentally uninterested in this political theater. At the end of the day, the simple truth is voters elected their representatives, senators and this president to fix America’s problems, not to add burdens to their already difficult lives.
At the heart of the debate is the implementation of Obamacare. From the very beginning, five years and counting, Republicans have gone against this monstrosity of a law. They have repeatedly tried to eliminate it and have lost every time they have attempted. Now they thought they had an opportunity to defund its implementation through the budget process, which has resulted in a stalemate.
What I find most fascinating is the fact that President Obama himself has delayed implementation of part of the law many times. He has given specific waivers to different interest groups and has not kept many of the promises he made to Americans regarding their healthcare. Now that Republicans want to delay it for one year, all of a sudden he is not willing to negotiate. Accusations, name-calling, and finger-pointing is what this administration is known for.
I don’t know how long the partial shutdown will be. Clearly a short-lived shutdown will have no significant economic consequences, but a protracted shutdown for more than a month will have a very damning effect on an already fragile economy. Of course, aggravating this problem is the looming debt ceiling debate at the end of October.
To be certain, if Congress just continues to borrow more and more money, our perilous fiscal condition will be exacerbated. America should live within its means, just as America’s families do. Every fiscal-minded individual expects our government to do so.
In the end, I don’t know which player will win, but in my heart I ache for America. This is a pain that Obamacare will not cure, because it is what actually caused it. In Mexico there is a saying, “La medicina salió peor que la enfermedad” which means “The medicine is worse than the disease.” As we are witnessing now, Obamacare is worse than all the ailments it has tried to cure.
Rosario Marin was the 41st Treasurer of the United States and is co-chair of the American Competitiveness Alliance.