AGAIN, I TRY TO TAKE NO SIDES.
But sometimes the facts compel me to write...
"It is what it is" reese
If is difficult to monitor all the websites that cover the lack of progress in Washington, but it is clear nothing has happened over the weekend.
There was a report about a Senate Democrat deal that would delay a new tax on medical equipment to end the shutdown. That failed.
There was talk of a back door effort by Republicans and Democrats to force a vote on ending the shutdown, But that doesn't do anything about the debt ceiling crisis. And it doesn't seem to have gone anywhere.
It might be a good time to review the twin calamities Washington has gotten us into.
The Government Shutdown: It boils down to this. Washington must adopt a budget to pay our bills. The budget usually starts in the house, goes to Senate, and then goes to the President for final approval.
Washington shutdown because the House didn't approve a budget. It could or would not pass a budget because about 78 members of the House with affiliations to the Conservative Tea Party caucus would not vote for a budget unless they could force some changes to the Affordable Care Act or Obama Care. Without their votes, the house entered the shutdown in stalemate.
There is some evidence this morning that if a vote were taken this instant, enough moderate republicans and demcrats would agree and pass a no strings budget, ending the shutdown. However under the rules of the house, House Speaker John Boehner and only Speaker Boehner decides what gets voted on and what doesn't.
The Team Party members want a one year delay in the The Affordable Care Acts start. They also demanded a big new tax increase on medical equipment that helps pay for the Affordable Care act be eliminated.
The Senate (which is run by Democrats) and the President (who is a Democrat) said no.
This is why.
And as I write this, I know that some Republicans will get angry over the facts.
The Affordable Care Act is the one thing President Obama can point to as a major accomplishment. He isn't going to walk away from it.
Having written that, here are the facts. The Affordable Care Act was passed in the House. It was passed in the Senate, and it was signed by the President. It was challenged by people who didn't like it, and the US Supreme Court said it was legal and constitutional.
That is how America works.
Here is a review of that process.
People unhappy about the Affordable Care Act write that is is tyranny and people can't afford it, and this, and that, and the other.
It is law, and nothing will change that.
Here in America, majority rules. If you don't like it, you're in the minority. You lose.
I live in Sand Lake and have to pay income taxes in Grand Rapids. I don't even have a vote on the matter. I don't like it, but I am in the minority.
People write or will post in response, we should vote them all out, or fire them all, or drive trucks around the Capital and make life uncomfortable.
Well, you can't just fire anyone. But you can start a recall election. Feel free. I will sign your petition. You can vote them all out. The election is next November. I will see you at the election booth. You can drive trucks around the capital and make life uncomfortable. If you can do that, don't tell me you can't afford insurance. I can barely afford to drive my truck to work and back. I surely can't afford to drive a truck around Washington all weekend.
As the casual observer I am trying to be...
Because of the shutdown, this story got very little play. There wasn't room on the news or the time to cover it.
The launch of the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance exchanges has been an unqualified disaster. Computers weren't ready, systems have crashed, and by the tens of thousands people couldn't get through. And it was so predictable.
It was government trying to BE BIG and it does that so poorly. I saw this coming miles away.
If the opponents of the Health Care Act had been wise, they wouldn't have made a peep, they would have let nature take it course, and they would have spent this week crowing...
"We Told You So".
Most of the people don't like the Affordable Care Act won't have read this story this far. They will go back to spouting nonsense and tyranny and generally not contributing to the discussion.
I will respond to them like this..
That's jaw flapper. That's a little joke for all of us who read this far and take this thing seriously enough to try and understand what's happening.
I will keep that up until I get in trouble and they make me take it down.
I decided to pay close attention to this a few weeks ago when I realized The Affordable Care Act was going to become law, that insurance companys would begin to advertise to get more customers and the radio station, and I could make money off it. That is what we do right?
Let's turn around attention to
THE DEBT CEILING.
The Debt Ceiling is the amount of money congress must borrow in order to pay the bills for things the country has already bought.
Congress is like a college kid with a first checking acount or credit card. It writes more checks or charges more than it has. For college kids it's usually only a few hundred bucks. For Congress it's better than 16 trillion dollars.
We owe the money and people want it back.
There is a general misconception that most of our debt is owed to China. That's not true. Most of the debt is owed to people in Europe. They buy American Treasury Bills. Those investments are IOU's that promise America will pay the money back with interest. The American treasury bill is the most secure financial note in the world and has been for years. It doesn't pay a ton of interest, but you can retire with a fist full of American Treasury Bills because you know the money will always be there.
Now the Tea Party Caucus is threatening to refuse to lift the Debt Limit unless Democrats agree to cut spending on other things.
Most Tea Party Members dream about cuts to what are called entitlement programs. Those programs "entitle" some Americans to monthly checks.
Tea Pary Conservatives demand a balanced budget and cutting entitlement programs would go along way towards acheiving that goal.
The programs you will hear about in the next four days are Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. There are many others, but lets review those huge government obligations.
Social Security. We all pay into social security (unless we are paid under the table and cheat everyone else.) Essentially Social Security agrees to invest the money you must send in during the years you work, and then sends you a monthly retirement check (based on how much you sent in) for the rest of your life.
It has problems to be sure. But that's the gist of it.
Medicare is a government health insurance for old people. Again, you send money in, and when you retire the goverment will cover your health care costs. Yes it has flaws, but that is how it works.
Medicaid. Medicaid pays the bills of poor people that they can not pay themselves. Yes there are flaws, but that is essentally how it works.
There are many many other entitlment programs, and people will line up on both sides and shout, this program should be cut, or that program should be expanded.
In my case I am 59 years told. I start getting my social security and medicare in a few years. I don't consider them "entitlement programs" any more. To my way of thinking, I have paid into both funds since I was a teenager. I am not entitled, I am owed. You may not change the rules now.
I am also a veteran, and while I need nothing today, the government did make certain promises when I enlisted back in 1972. I kept my promises, and if needed. I expect the government to keep it's promises. I am not entitled, I am owed.
So what happens if the debt ceiling expires on the 17th.
I am no expert,
but USA Today ( which seems to be fair and down the middle of the middle of the political spectrum) talked to people with big bank accounts, big homes, and a lot more education than me.
"A failure by Congress to raise the nation's debt ceiling would cascade through the economy, increasing borrowing costs for consumers and businesses, chilling credit markets, driving down stocks and killing jobs."
Frank Keating the CEO of the American Bankers Association says "It will cover our entire economy and impact all Americans," "These impacts would not be easily reversible. The repercussions could linger for years, providing a constant drain on our economy."
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics says the Treasury Department has said it will run out of borrowed money on October 17 unless Congress votes to raise the nation's $16.7 trillion debt limit. Missing that deadline by even a few days likely would shave about three-tenths of a percentage point off fourth-quarter economic growth.
NOW HERE IS THE REALLY BAD STUFF..
Zandi says the nation would be plunged into a severe recession if the impasse extended even a few days past Nov. 1, as the government struggles to issue Social Security checks, make payments to Treasury bond holders and meet myriad other obligations. Millions of jobs would be lost, the nation's credit worthiness would be damaged even if the government continues to pay interest on Treasury notes while defaulting on other obligations.
Keating says "The nerve-rattling chain of events would begin with investors demanding higher interest rates on Treasuries to offset the higher risk of default". "That would drive up interest rates broadly, including mortgage rates."
"Meanwhile, the value of Treasuries and related securities would plummet, leaving banks, which hold $3 trillion in such assets, with far less capital to lend for everything from mortgages and car loans to business expansions."
The 2011 debt ceiling standoff in Congress — when lawmakers reached a last-minute deal to avert a crisis — cost taxpayers $20 billion in higher borrowing costs.
"If the U.S. government defaults this time, the harm is likely to be measured in hundreds of billions of dollars. "
If you'd like to see Reese go nuts let my 401-K collapse again. I've been working hard and taking alot of chances to get it back to where it was before the crash of 2008. With a tremendous amount of sacrifice will have it to retirment goals when 65 arrives. If that crashes again because of someone else's political goal, I would be ruined.
There are some people who have been saying in the last few days that the government has daily tax payments coming in and it can pick and choose which bills it wants to pay and not pay others.
In my opinion, those the kind of people who drive trucks around Washington all weekend and expect to change the world.
So that's where we stand this morning. I suppose I could have posted nothing new and let it go that that. The truth is, a tore a tendon or something in my elbow putting up wood in August and it keeping me up at nights. if you respond to this story and say "Hope your elbow is ok" it will be gratifying to know you read this far.
As a Bears fan, I hope Cleveland wins today.
Shoot, I just remembered.. Now I have to post pig skin picks