, Newburyport, MA


October 5, 2013

The shutdown's real battle


Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist, a guest on Barry Armstrong’s “Financial Exchange” on WRKO this week, explained that while the media enjoys painting the Republicans as “at war,” they are in fact “in agreement” on major issues like school choice, welfare reform and Obamacare; their differences are on strategy.

As I write this, the Republican House has offered a compromise: Pass the continuing resolution (short-term budget) that both branches have agreed to, delay the individual mandate in Obamacare just as Obama has delayed the business mandate, remove the generous health insurance subsidy that members of Congress have been given by Obama. The Senate has so far rejected any compromise.

I’m afraid that simply delaying some aspects of Obamacare would mean another year of recession as businesses continue to avoid having the number of employees that will force them to comply with this expensive mandate. Yet, immediate implementation could drag so many Americans off their existing health insurance into the subsidized government exchanges that they become dependent, like many welfare recipients, on Big Government to take care of them forever.

Another strategy could be for House Republicans to fund one essential part of government at a time, sending each funding proposal to the Senate, letting Harry Reid continue to refuse any compromise. That, too, makes it obvious which party is shutting down the government to get its own way.

Have you noticed that different polls show different public opinion on the new health care law? There is some indication that the public responds differently if it’s called “Obamacare” than if it’s called the “Affordable Care Act.” As CNBC put it, Obama’s name “raises the positives and the negatives.”

Of course, ObamaCare is no more likely to be affordable than Social Security or Medicare (see liabilities above). Even without it, Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, has been arguing that the budget itself contains out-of-control spending. “The big spenders say sequestration has cut government to the bone, yet this restraint is helping to heal our economy by reducing the debt — and deferred taxes — on future generations. And in terms of waste, we’ve just scratched the surface ...” Coburn notes that the Senate version of the budget violates the sequestration agreement and begins adding to the deficit again.

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