But before I get to those — by Kevin Drum of Mother Jones . . .
. . . did you hear Kentucky Senator Rand Paul on “Meet the Press” yesterday? From the transcript:
. . . I realize I’m not going to get my way [in killing Obamacare entirely]. But we do control a third of the government. People did elect us to fight. Sixty-one percent of the people in Kentucky voted for Romney. Seventy percent don’t like ObamaCare. So the thing is, is I’m supposed to go and fight to make bills either less bad or make them better if possible. So I think it is my job to stand up and provide oversight for legislation. It’s precisely what Congress is supposed to be doing.
It’s worth noting that the House is one-half of one third of government; and that only a minority of House Members want to use the government shutdown this way — so Senator Paul is in the minority of one half of one third of the government.
He acknowledges that the Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress, signed into law by the President, ruled Constitutional by the Supreme Court, and reaffirmed by the outcome of last year’s presidential election. It’s the law. But the people of Kentucky have been made to believe it’s a bad law (as they were once made to believe Iraq attacked us on 9/11 — it didn’t — and that “by far the vast majority” of then candidate George W. Bush’s proposed tax cut would go “to people at the bottom end of the economic ladder” — it didn’t — and that tobacco wouldn’t kill their loved ones — it did) and so Rand Paul is just trying to save them from it.
What’s unusual about Congress modifying laws?
It’s not [Congress’s] obligation once something is law to never change it. For example, in 1983, we changed social security. It’d been around 50 years and the age of eligibility was 65. We changed it to 67 because social security was going bankrupt.
See? After 50 years Congress changed Social Security — albeit in an orderly, rational, bi-partisan way — and now that Obamacare has kicked in this week, and we’ve had . . . well, maybe not the same 50 years’ experience with it, but close to a week . . . he wants to change it by threatening to bring down the government and possibly the entire world economy because it’s just that important to the people of Kentucky that they not have affordable health care.
As detailed here in the New York Times, the Republicans were planning to shut down the government all along. That’s why they refused 18 times to negotiate the budget in an orderly way these last six months — they wanted a crisis.
It is so dishonest, so thuggish, so irrational, so unpatriotic — even the Wall Street Journal isn’t buying it.
I could go on, but Kevin Drum does it better (as does Elizabeth Warren, whose by now widely-viewed clip I’ll link to tomorrow):
By Kevin Drum
At its core, the dispute over the budget and the debt ceiling isn’t complicated at all. But it is full of misconceptions and urban myths. Here are the 10 facts worth remembering past all the obfuscation:
Democrats have already agreed to fund the government at Republican levels.
Despite what you might have heard, there have only been two serious government shutdowns in recent history, and both were the result of Republican ultimatums.
Democrats in the Senate have been begging the House to negotiate over the budget for the past six months, but Republicans have refused.
That’s because Republicans wanted to wait until they had either a government shutdown or a debt ceiling breach as leverage, something they’ve been very clear about all along.
Republicans keep talking about compromise, but they’ve offered nothing in return for agreeing to their demands—except to keep the government intact if they get their way.
The public is very strongly opposed to using a government shutdown to stop Obamacare.
Contrary to Republican claims, the deficit is not increasing—it peaked in 2009 and has been dropping ever since, declining by $200 billion last year with another $450 billion drop projected this year.
A long government shutdown is likely to seriously hurt economic growth, with a monthlong shutdown projected to slash GDP in the fourth quarter by 1 percentage point and reduce employment by over a million jobs.
No, Democrats have not used debt ceiling hostage taking in the past to force presidents to accept their political agenda.
This whole dispute is about the Republican Party fighting to make sure the working poor don’t have access to affordable health care.
Quote of the Day
Probably the greatest harm done by vast wealth is the harm that we of moderate means do ourselves when we let the vices of envy and hatred enter deep into our own natures.~Teddy Roosevelt, 1902
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