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US held hostage

October 4, 2013 - John Stack

My partner in Chevastack Consulting often says that both of the parties are to blame for most of the dysfunction in Washington, and NY. And, we agree that it is almost always the fringe elements, the far right and the far left, which make most of the commotion and problems. Most of us live in the middle. Very few of us hold views that are lockstep with our registered party affiliation. Those that do, again, are in the extreme minority. Then, there are times when it really is a whole party. The government shutdown is one of those times. Why would I blame a whole party? OK, I don’t blame a whole party. I blame the GOP in the House of Representatives. They are the ones with the power, therefore they are to blame. I can’t blame the GOP in the Senate, as mostly, they don’t have the power. Let me set this out as I see it. If a clean budget bill was sent to the House Floor, it would pass easily. But, John Boehner, the House Majority leader, will not allow a clean bill to be sent for a vote. I do place the worst of the blame on him. He can end this, all by himself. But, he is acting in complete self-interest. The minority of the House GOP is Tea-Party driven. But, they happen to have a ridiculous disproportionate influence. As Congressmen admit, they cannot vote for a bill they know is best for the country, because they are afraid the Tea Party will set up primary challenges against these legislators for not falling in lockstep with their plans. Boehner won’t set forth a clean bill because he feels it will be the end of his leadership. Does any of this sound like they are working for the American people? In the House, the Democrats can do nothing. There is no way they can affect what the House does. The GOP won’t work with them, or negotiate the budget with them. In this, as with the GOP in the Senate, the Democrats are held harmless. My friend Jason argues with me that it is completely the Senate Democrats who have shut down the government. He claims that the House did send over a bill which funded the government. Except, as he admits, it includes the poison pill of either defunding Obamacare, or delays it for a year. (The GOP will admit the only reason for a delay of Obamacare is so that if they win more seats in the Senate in the next election, they will gut Obamacare). Yes, a bill was sent. But, I’m not really sure why funding the government should proceed as a hostage negation proceeds.

Lets say a gunman takes you hostage. He says he will let you go, and not kill you, but you have to meet all of his demands. For whatever reason, you cannot or will not meet all of his demands. He shoots you. Whose fault is it that you were shot? According to the GOP, it is obviously the dead guy. The guy with the gun should be held up as a hero, as he actually gave you a way to survive, yet you chose not to live and almost blatantly asked to be shot. The hostage taker DID give you a way to live. You would not take that route, therefore you chose to die. The GOP has sent over a bill that funds the government. It also includes laws the Tea Partiers don’t like. So, if the Senate wants the government to be funded, they have to do as the hostage takers GOP demands. Therefore, the shutdown must be the Democrats fault.

Lets take this a different way. Lets say the House was Democrat controlled, and the Senate was GOP controlled. The House sends a bill to the Senate that funds the government. But, this bill also includes making the US Government pay for all health care. All abortions must now be performed for free, by all doctors asked, or they go to jail for 10 years. Also, all pistols are banned , and anything that can shoot more than one bullet a minute must be registered and held at a holding facility until the person has a valid use for it. Now, the Senate refuses to pass this bill, and the government shuts down (Putting 800,000 federal workers on furlough). To follow the GOP idea from above, they would also have to agree that my scenario would be the GOP’s fault also. I really can’t see what I’m missing here. Can someone enlighten me?


Article Comments



Oct-29-13 3:46 PM

1-Obama ran on the idea of healthcare reform in 2008 and won 2-The democrats had healthcare as a major part of their platform in 2010 and kept the senate. 3-Obama had healthcare reform as his signature legislation in 2012 and won

There is more than enough ample evidence to show that the voting public approves of obama's actions and prefers his ideas over those of the GOP.

People who spend their time bashing Obama for not negotiating or for forcing obamacare on everyone is outside their*****minds. Every time a D is in the White House, the R's shut down the government. They did it to Carter, Clinton, and now Obama. They cannot handle the fact that Americans picked the other guy. But "both sides are bad." Right...go crawl back under your rocks.


Oct-20-13 10:36 AM

Cool statistics.


Oct-19-13 12:07 PM

First, the Republicans’ shutdown statistics:

Presidents: 10 Senate: 9 House: 3 Avg. shutdown length (days): 14 And now, the Democrats’ shutdown statistics:

Presidents: 8 Senate: 9 House: 15 Avg. shutdown length (days): 5.6 More fun facts:

The longest shutdown was the 1995-6 shutdown under GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 21 days. After the 1995-6 shutdown, the Republicans maintained control of the House for the next 5 elections. The 2013 shutdown lasted 16 days – shorter than the 18 days Jimmy Carter shut down the government over a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier in 1978. Depending on if you go by Fiscal Year 2014 or the already passed Fiscal Year 2013, only between 13% and 17% of the U.S. federal government was “shut down.” Government shutdown statistics by party based on research published at the Washington Post and the Heritage Foundation.


Oct-18-13 11:28 PM

Yo, maybe if Obama would come down off his pedestal and talk to the GOP this all could and would be avoided. As far as defaults go, the US has twice defaulted. In 1812 under a Democrat, Madison and in 1979 under another Democrat, Carter. Maybe that's why the current Presidents mouthpieces refuse to recognize them.


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