The Government Shutdown or the Government Showdown?

It’s a simple concept. When a business loses money, the owner makes cuts. Without reductions, the business will usually accumulate debt and face the specter of bankruptcy. Although governments and businesses are somewhat different institutions, they do have an important similarity: neither should pursue lavish new spending programs when they are drowning in debt. And our government has debt. Nearly seventeen trillion dollars of debt.

Subscribers of Keynesian economic theory argue that government spending is a key method to recovering from a recession. These resolutions create inefficiencies in the market. When something gets broken, sticking duct tape on it is a short-term solution; it doesn’t solve the problem. This seems to be a common theme among the United States government policies. And as reiterated by the Congressional Budget Office, decreasing the debt is a primary focus since the Federal Reserve will not retain low interest rates forever and the continuance of a vulnerable financial situation is the worse position the United States could be in. Yet, until Wednesday, October 16th, the United States was shut down- a split Congress fighting over spending programs despite the threat of default on a growing debt.

While the majority of this problem rests with the current administration’s spending levels, the public still blames the Republican Party. The Republican Party isn’t at fault. This battle was only another along the road to reforming the government and its overspending problem. While the American public doesn’t necessarily pay attention to the many tactical battles that are fought each year between the two ideologies, they do exist. The Republicans have fought to stop overspending throughout Obama’s administration- seeking a more fiscally responsible government. The only difference between this battle and every other is that this one is a “government shutdown.” This fight is not merely about Obamacare; it is a battle against excess government spending of which Obamacare is but one example.

The attack on the Republicans by both campus and national media over the shutdown for this behavior is unjustified and the real focus should be on the irresponsibility of our government leaders. The government shutdown was beneficial for the Democratic Party. According to a CNN article, the 53% of the public blames the Republicans for the government shutdown. How could it not look bad for the Republicans? They fought a battle to cut services from the government to control spending. Free services to the public are getting slashed. Not only do the Republicans look bad for proposals to “slimdown”, as Fox News refers to the shutdown, the media with the help of the Democratic leadership has aired more than enough propaganda against the Republicans. In fact, the hypocritical nature of what is determined essential vs. non-essential quite clearly shares similarities with propaganda. Services, such as the World War II monument in Washington D.C., which cost little to nothing are closed simply because it causes an inconvenience for the American people. Jason Smith, a representative in the House of Representatives, stated that it “cost more money to barricade the monuments than it would to keep them open.” The iRoots organization estimates that towns and governments surrounding monuments and parks lose about thirty million dollars per day during government shutdowns from tourism, which is certainly a higher cost than their maintenance. Websites, parking lots, private businesses on federal land, and jogging paths are all closed simply to exacerbate the shutdown’s public effects, not because they save costs. Closures like these seem to be a common theme through most of the government shutdown policies used to “save money.”

The Obamacare conflict, one of the tactical battles the Republicans are fighting, is just an example of the desired tightening on government spending. The New York Post recently released an article entitled “The Obamacare Fight Has Only Begun.” This is true. According to the New York Post, 54% of the American public dislike President Obama for his health care reforms. The Obamacare “solution” has been the root of the extreme partisanship in this country as President Obama and the Democrats have refused to negotiate on countless deals in the name of defending one piece of legislation. It’s a symbol of the mess in this country. Obama’s blind determination to force its survival despite popular objections is merely an echo resulting from the initially flawed concept. On June 5, 2008, during his campaign, Obama said, “In an Obama administration, we’ll lower premiums by up to $2,500 for a typical family per year… We’ll do it by the end of my first term as President of the U.S.” Not only has President Obama failed to accomplish the health care reform he promised, but to add insult to the injury of the American voter, premiums have actually increased. Forbes Magazine released an article that stated Obamacare will, in fact, increase health tcare spending for an average family of four between 2014 and 2022. But Obama doesn’t stop there either. On July 6, 2012, during his second campaign, he stated at a rally, “Your premiums will go down.” Ironically, the Washington Post, a famously liberal newspaper, gave this quote a “Three Pinocchio:” meaning the statement was a lie. Even the liberal media have recognized Obamacare’s hypocrisy. According to the New York Post, it forces young Americans to purchase health care but concurrently discourages self-sufficiency by allowing them to remain on a parent’s health insurance plan until age twenty-six. It mandates employer coverage but hampers employment due to increased cost. And in ten years, it will still leave thirty million people uninsured. As if this wasn’t enough, the website has experienced significant problems. From increased costs to perverse incentives to implementation issues, Obamacare is a mess and is both a practical and symbolic enemy of responsible government spending.

During the shutdown, the Republicans were justified in opposing Obamacare and elevated spending levels. Paul Ryan, the Republican Vice President elect from the 2012 election, wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal stating that this predicament branches from Obama’s inability to “come to the table.” This moment is a time to “pay down national debt and jump-start the economy.” It’s time for the government to start making cuts, like any business would do in economic loss. On October 17th, another deal was passed extending the debt ceiling, as was expected. This is the exact opposite of progress. It’s time that the government halted its spending and balances its responsibly, even if it meant cutting down on programs. Time and time again, we see our government’s poor budget management driving the United States into crisis. By fighting to stop this reckless overspending, the Republicans are fulfilling the duty for which they were elected and thus justified to use government shutdown as a political tactic.

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