If you’ve ever read any of my previous columns for The State Press, you probably know I lean to the right.
In January of this year, for example, I wrote about how our health care problems in this nation need more market-based solutions.
As you might have gleaned, I am so vehemently opposed to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional, I practically screeched in ideological frustration.
With House Republicans and Senate Democrats refusing to negotiate on any kind of Obamacare compromise, Americans are left with a government that has been shut down for going on two weeks.
Take a deep breath.
Not all of the government is shut down. Actually, only about 17 percent of government spending has stopped, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates: “This figure assumes that the government pays amounts due on appropriations obligated before the shutdown ($512 billion), spends $225 billion on exempted military and civilian personnel, pays entitlement benefits for those found eligible before the shutdown (about $2 trillion) and pays interest costs when due ($237 billion). This is about 83 percent of projected 2014 spending of $3.6 trillion.”
While proponents of some sort of federal apocalypse are obviously exaggerating, the 2013 shutdown does present America with a question: What happens now?
Will Congress ever compromise?
As a registered Republican, I am caught off guard by my party’s inherent divisions.
Opposing Obamacare funding is not a good political move. The longer this shutdown drags on, the more uncertainty is cast over America. Initially, there is only a 0.3 percent loss predicted; the longer the shutdown, however, the more hurt this will bring.
House Republicans will have to eventually cave. A CNN/ORC poll indicates 46 percent of Americans blame the government shutdown on the GOP.
The Weekly Standard, a right-leaning publication, disagrees with me. In eight points, it lists reasons why the government shutdown won’t hurt Republicans. However, they’re wrong.
What’s unique about this rationale is that the Weekly Standard seems to think that because Obamacare is unpopular, this means Democrats do not have the upper hand, politically speaking.
The fact remains that if people start losing their jobs and forgoing their paychecks because of this Congressional stalemate, they won’t care much about the impending implementation of Obamacare.
Let’s flip this on its side just to be sure: How is this a “win” for the GOP? What does the party possibly expect to gain from this?
Think about it: Obamacare is U.S. law, and some of its funding is already etched in stone.
At most, then, what the GOP is doing is a political circus in which the GOP makes a public point regarding Obamacare before it fully becomes implemented.
That’s fine, but the longer this lasts, the worse off America becomes.
From a more conservative perspective, I’m as frustrated as anyone else that the government passed this law. I do not like it or its implications.
The solution, however, is not to hurt America while damaging the reputation of your party. Eventually, when the GOP does cave, things will revert back to a sense of normalcy.
This may not — and probably will not — turn into a crucial issue in the next presidential election.
So, House Republicans, let it go. This battle was lost for us the moment the Supreme Court justices betrayed the Constitution.
We should now focus on issues that have not yet reached a federal resolution. Let’s put our time and effort into legally trying to win back seats in Congress and pass legislation that modifies the federal government.
Instead of slowly killing the federal government, let’s legally shrink it.
Reach this columnist at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @sean_mccauley.