A clerk asked me Wednesday if I was ready for the big day, meaning Thanksgiving. I told her I have been too busy to give it much thought. I then followed up by saying I try to be thankful each day. The man behind me give me a loud and firm amen, of sorts.
Nothing against Thanksgiving Day as a celebration day for our blessings, but we should be thankful to God daily, if not multiple times each day.
Sometimes, the blessings flow so constantly we feel singularly blessed. There are trials in life, to be sure, but they don’t compare to our blessings.
70% of the Tea Party, by some estimates, say they like Medicare. Feel free to question that estimate. No doubt, a large majority of Americans do approve of Social Security and the range of benefits, delivered from Social Security. So, political theorists, calculate, that once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, it too, will have wide spread approval.
If so, the expansion of these entitlements would bring on a even higher public approval. And, the power of the check will manifest itself at the ballot box. Likewise, if politicians contract these benefits in any way, they will be met with scorn on election day.
Everyone agrees that entitlements, as presently structured, is on an unsustainable course. The trouble starts in 10 years or less with Medicare, and 20 years or less with Social Security. However, the power of the check demands the status quo’. Any political tinkering produces fear, and this fear is articulated among the recipients of the checks.
So, the check has power. It may be selfish power. It may not be well-informed power, but power none the less.
Once the decision is made to close the federal government, that means it’s closed; excepting services deemed “essential”.
For days now, Congressmen have been passing legislation, in the House, to open highly visible areas of the government, such as memorials on the Mall, etc. It would be a mighty stretch to say these are essential.
Here in our first district of Tennessee, the congressman representing the district wants to open the Great Smokey Mountain National Park and reimburse the state governments for picking up the tab. So, he along with others have presented legislation to that effect. If you pay back wages to federal employees and reimburse the states, acting as surrogates, what is the message of the closure? You can’t cherry-pick this government closure thing.
Congressman Roe represents the immaturity we find in Congress today. It permeates! It seems, most everyone wants someone else to pay the toll.
Of course, Roe can approach Nashville and North Carolina with a proposal, to act alone, as New Yorkers did with the Statue of Liberty. But, the federal government is closed.
If you read or listen to the national media, and believe them, you could walk away thinking all the fuss in Washington is pettiness. Not so ! While many of the Congress is fully capable of pettiness and selfishness; this dispute has foundations. Obviously, the dispute has offered tactical errors, on the part of the Republican caucus, such as the repealing or defunding of the Affordable Care Act. But, in the main, the dispute has been about the lack of money to fund the welfare state.
One side, wants to limit the welfare state, and the other wants to continue to borrow money without any substantive changes to the welfare state.
By the way, the only place to retrieve serious money is Social Security, Medicare-Medicaid, and defense spending. All of these have a powerful constituency, and active lobby.
As the shutdown precedes, the debate will rise above what the national media have been presenting to the public. As the debate elevates, more people will perceive the origins of our divisions, or at least those divisions that pertain to the welfare state. As the shutdown becomes longer, the debate will get deeper; and that should be a distinct disadvantage to the advocates of borrowing to maintain a high level of welfare spending.
From a practical standpoint the Republican caucus should have foregone the budget battle for another day, but made a stand on the debt ceiling. The proper stand would be, in my way of thinking, to extend the debt ceiling, unconditionally, for six months or so. At the end of this period, the Republican caucus and others, could issue an ultimatum, properly defined, that if substantive legislative changes to entitlements where not adopted in the set time; the debt limit would not be raised and the country would go into default.
When you listen to most pundits, politicians, and the mainstream media, there is one constant that stands out. This is the disrespect for the public. They all seem to say that you can tell them anything, properly framed to deceive, and the public will buy it. They believe the public to be that dumb. Insincerity is the only thing you can take to the bank.