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Hot Topic: Readers weigh in on government shutdown

Spoiled children

Our representatives in Congress have once again acted like spoiled children!

Their job is to run the government and to compromise. Now the government must shut down. They have failed miserably! Anyone with sense knows going in that you try to represent the majority of your constituency. However, people think differently. Our system is great because good ideas come from both sides. Their job is to argue for what they believe, but then give and take. It’s childish to say “It’s all my way, or the highway!” Love of country should supersede partisanship! I hope this situation can quickly get resolved, and that they learn from this.



Crisis is Manufactured

My husband, Paul Hodes, was a U.S. congressman for four years. In that time, I got a crash course in how the government actually works. What is happening now with the government shutdown is that the members of one party, the Republicans, are using the highest-stakes bill they have, the continuing resolution to fund the government, to force a showdown over their key legislative goal, to defund Obamacare. This crisis has been manufactured for political grandstanding. Is this a responsible way to govern?

Recently there was a story on NPR about the Pentagon preparing for the shutdown. What a colossal waste of time and resources, not to mention sending a message of instability abroad at a time of vital international cooperation. My brother-in-law is a career military officer now working as a civilian consultant for the Army. He has already given up six days of pay due to the Republican-enforced sequestration earlier this year. Do Republicans think that defunding Obamacare is more heinous than shutting down the government, putting citizens out of work and creating shakiness in the markets and abroad?

Our government was founded on the principles of tolerance and respectful compromise. Rigid ideological brinksmanship is not in the best interests of the voters who elected representatives to work on their behalf. It has weakened our ability to solve pressing problems and undermined what little faith people have left that their government, our government, can help us move forward.




Let me get this straight: Because they believe that Obamacare will ultimately hurt the economy, a faction of the Republican Party is willing to shut down the government, which is sure to hurt the economy. Let us hope that more logical thinking prevails and that extremists like Sen. Ted Cruz are never in the position of having our nation’s nuclear weapons at their fingertips. This is one registered Independent, small-business owner who is watching this very, very carefully.



Lead by example

Our president does not understand that in order to have a majority of Americans follow him, he needs to lead by example.

This is the case with Obamacare. Malia, Sasha, Michelle and Barack need to immediately enroll in an exchange. The Obama family needs to demonstrate how the system works and accept only those benefits which Obamacare provides. The same goes for every member of Congress and anyone given an exemption.

In the private sector, policies and programs are not rolled out until they are completely tested and vetted. It would be excellent validation for those who supported the law to test it for three years to ensure that Obamacare is “affordable,” that you can keep your doctor and that the rest of the rhetorical talking points are valid. Instead we are hearing the words from the president like “political brinksmanship” and “obstructionism” when describing Republicans. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said: “With a bully, you can’t allow them to slap you around.” Look who is talking! The House of Representatives represents the “people,” and each representative must vote his or her conscience as related to the will of the people. We can expect that Democrats and Obama, with assistance from the press, will bang the drums of politics and point the finger of blame. It is a sad state of affairs when a slight majority bullies everyone else over ideological belief that health care is a “right” and then turn the tables on those who are interested in doing the right things.



out of touch

Obamacare, the Affordable Care Act, has been law for three years, and last year was substantially upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Republican extremists, and those in their thrall, have relentlessly tried to sabotage its gradual implementation, including the current brinksmanship which threatens to cripple an already gridlocked government. If you think they are doing so out of conviction that the law is counterproductive and bad for America, I’d ask you to consider a broader perspective:

Two programs come to mind: Social Security, and Medicare. Both were adamantly opposed by conservatives. Predictions that they would wreck the country and cripple to economy were commonplace. Both are now recognized as among the most effective ongoing government programs in our history. And both were progressive, Democratic Party causes.

When Affordable Care also succeeds, it will further demonstrate how out of touch the Republican Party is with the needs of the typical American family. Republicans realize this, and will do anything to avoid allowing this to happen, including sending the country to ruin. We are the only industrialized country without some kind of universal health care; it is time to let Obamacare succeed, and for the 99 percent of us who are not rich to reap its benefits.



We didn’t ask for a national health care law

I am so tired of congressional officials saying we can’t shut down government just because a law (Obamacare) isn’t right.

Well, we didn’t ask for a national health care law, but some politicians felt they would gain more votes by giving us a bill that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said we had to pass in order to know what’s in it – then we found out it isn’t properly written.

Now, why can’t they set the law aside until it’s right? After all, we elected them to make sure laws are right.

Our founders said all laws must be simple enough for the common man to read. They also said Congress shall never be exempt from any laws.

Time to elect those who will make laws not to get re-elected but rather for the good of the country.




Imagine if the New York Yankees, having lost its bid for the playoffs this year, threatened to shut down the league unless it was allowed to continue to compete with the Red Sox in postseason. What an uproar there would be in Red Sox Nation! Even the Evil Empire, however, is able to shed a few tears, honor its departing heroes and get ready for next season. That’s because they are professionals.

Sadly, House Republicans are not professionals.

Instead of shutting down the government, they should be preparing for next season. If they feel Obamacare should be repealed, make the argument in the 2014 midterm elections and let the people decide at the ballot box.

That’s how a democracy works. In the meantime, allow the business of the nation to continue. That’s your job. Man and woman up!




Here we are again, another crisis. Ever wonder how we got to a place where the government was threatened, regularly, with shutdowns and threats not to pay our bills? You do know that raising the debt ceiling is not authorizing new spending, but authorizing issuing Treasury bonds, the preferred investment across the global economy? You realize we need to pay what Congress – the ones who authorize spending, by the way, not the president – has already spent? That part isn’t being mentioned in the media you see and hear?

Crises generate fear, and lots of emotion. They cut off reasonable dialogue and discussion. We do things that turn out to be dreadful mistakes.

Let’s not make the error of letting our Social Security be cut in the name of solving a made-up crisis! Let’s not let our safety net programs be made hostages in a made-up standoff. It’s our government. Demand that it be run for our benefit. There’s an election next year. Are you making plans to vote? Are you looking for candidates that will serve you? Or will you let the crisis-mongers win and then wonder where that truck that ran you over came from?



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