Monday, September 30, 2013

Silly Bits VI

The Government appears to be about ready to shut down today.  Since this is one of the silliest things that the government does (a statement which goes much further than I'm sure the two major parties would be willing to concede), what better time to talk about some of the Silly Bits involved where this particular shutdown is concerned.

Shutdown, Schmutdown ... big deal.  After all, we've shut down the government some 17 times in recent history, and for all the common sense that seems to make, the damn thing keeps coming back to life like the evil lead in a Zombie Apocalypse movie.  Besides, all the really cool stuff in Washington DC like White House tours, the parks, and the museums were shut down already because of last year's Sequester. (Or so they've told us.)  

I for one am suspicious about these so-called shutdowns.  They tell us that this one will not threaten the checks of soldiers or the elderly on Social Security, but could eventually threaten the processing of claims for both; all so they can keep the special subsidies for a medical plan for members of Congress and theirs staffs who are making far more than the average citizen.  We'll no doubt keep writing checks for foreign aid (a post in itself that will have to wait for another day); all to keep from granting the same one year delay to individuals signing up for the ACA through legislation that were granted by Presidential fiat to employers. 

Besides, it's getting hard to worry about the bad things that will happen from this government shutdown when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi already told us only last week that the government has cut everything it can already and can't cut more.  If that's the case, for all we know we might have been shut down already.   

Democrats want to blame Republicans for this potential shutdown, since it was their idea to shut down the government the last time in 1995.  Republicans in turn would like to blame Democrats, since it's Harry Reid and his party in the Senate that seem to have become the party of 'NO' lately in their refusal to compromise (or in many cases, even vote). A pox on both their Houses!

The truth is that Government is on the verge of shutting down because both parties are too busy posturing for position for an election that's 13 months away to have done their job for the previous 12 months.  Both parties require some media face time, good sound bites, and a jumping off point for fund raising.  So instead of doing one of the few things that they are obligated to do under the Constitution to perform, they ignore their fiscal responsibilities (and common sense) and square off on partisan lines at the last minute in such a way that any decision made must be ill-considered at best and a knee-jerk reaction at worst.

I've got an idea!  How about instead of passing a Continuing Resolution, we have them instead pass a law to hold a special election this November for ALL of those currently in office in both houses (regardless of the status of their term).  How about we make a 'very special' election' and not allow incumbents to run in it?  If your party gamesmanship is so important to that you continuously place it above your oath of office, take the bullet for it and go find another place to work.  If you're unable to perform the simplest requirements of the job you have, step a aside and allow us to find someone who will.

According to Democrats and some in the media, Republicans in the both houses of the national legislature should stop messing with Obamacare (The Affordable Health Care Act) because its law.  What a preposterous notion!

It's the job of members of the Congress to challenge laws when and if necessary, and to fix those that need it even after they're passed.  They've been doing this since the inception of this branch of government and as a result, we've seen things as foolish as the 'Jim Crow' laws of this nation redressed.

Of course, still waiting in the wings is the Debt Ceiling and yet another possible stand off .  You remember the Debt Ceiling; it's the limit of the government's ability to borrow money.  Now however, the President is out there on the stump telling us that the nation's debt is going down faster than it has in years.  Am I the only one that sees the logical inconsistency in this?  

If the debt is going down, why have we once again run out of money to borrow?  How is it that what we were told were the 'draconian cuts' of the 2012 Sequester have not prevented this from happening as threatened (promised)?  If we are so quickly again reaching the national credit limit however, shouldn't we be doing even more to bring in line the government's spending with it's revenues (like delaying a very expensive new government program like Obamacare)?

By the way, where does the $85 billion of government debt that the Federal Reserve purchases in bonds every month figure into this concept?  Call it Quantitative Easing or just the monthly bond auction, this government escapade doesn't even show up on the balance sheet.  Likewise, no elected official has to approve it, since this is the Fed's money and not really the government. (Like there's a difference?) This ruinous fiscal policy already has already led to devaluation of the currency and will eventually lead to some fairly massive inflation.  Such devaluation may some good for some in the stock market and those looking at the national debt we're worried about, but it won't do much good for anyone who earns and purchases in US dollars.

During the 2012 election, Presidential candidate Ron Paul held up a silver dime when talking about the current price of gasoline.  He reminded the nation that because of the changing worth of the currency in 'real goods', the value of the metal in what was a ten cent coin when minted was still enough to buy a gallon of gas, even at today's prices.  

As to the idea of a federal government shutdown itself, it should probably be pointed out that the real problem may not be whether it should happen or not; but this:

How did we let this government become "too big to fail" in the first place and allow the potential of its temporary shutdown to matter.   

The federal government long ago exceeded the limitations placed on it in the the Constitution.  This rampant overreach is as much responsible for the potential train wreck than anything else we're facing today.  Perhaps if so much money and power were not relegated to this bug-infested swamp on the Potomac River, we'd be cheering rather than fearing its potential of its temporary demise.  

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