Opinions

Government Shutdown Has ‘Shut Down’ Nation’s Hope

It appears to not just be Justin Verlander who’s throwing shutouts this fall.  On October 1, the beginning of 2014’s fiscal year, Congress couldn’t agree on a federal budget to pass.  The House of Representatives, mostly controlled by the Republican Party, attempted to pass a budget that would essentially strip funding of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.  The Democrat-run Senate couldn’t agree on passing the budget, and because Congress needs bipartisan agreement to pass anything, the government was shut down for sixteen days.

President Obama recently signed a bill passed by both houses that would reopen the federal government and lift the debt limit.  In the meantime, many government agencies and federal employees were furloughed, and most were doubly recompensed by both the states and the federal government.

The biggest debate now is who is at fault here?  Which side is right and which side is wrong?  And most importantly, will this happen again?

In order to answer the first question, let’s look at Obamacare. It’s not an evil, corporation-ruining law like the GOP suggests.  At the same time, it’s not a well-made law–hardly the altruistic lower-class saving plan the liberals think it to be.

If not enough people enroll in Obamacare, premiums will rise (like they already are) to ridiculous levels, and it would be much easier to just pay the fine of $95 or 1%. Plus, half the states refuse to integrate Medicaid, despite initial promises that it would be federalized.  Also, because businesses are responsible for paying 60% of insurance costs for their employees, businesses are cutting hours for their workers to part-time.  So ultimately, people are working less, making less and ultimately, insurance will not be affordable.  The system can and most likely will fall apart, so are the Democrats willing to listen to reform?  And will the Republicans give reasonable reforming plans without stripping the Affordable Care Act of its integrity?

Who’s at fault?  There is a lot of blame to go around.  When the healthcare law was passed in 2010, it was steamrolled through a Congress with both a Democratic House and Senate.  Nancy Pelosi said about the 1,200 page bill is that “you need to pass it in order to see what it does.” A few years later we now have a Republican majority in the House of Representatives, and they want to repeal Obamacare. Now it becomes an issue of which party is more stubborn:  the Democrats who love Obamacare and wish to keep it the same regardless of its major flaws, or the Republicans who are acting like children, refusing to do anything until they get what they want?  The incessant bickering between these two parties is tearing us apart as a nation. The fact that nobody is willing to come up with a level-headed approach to reforming a flawed law with the potential for good is sending the country down the drain.

This is Congress’s problem. And it has come to the point where another government shutdown will happen again within months.  Our policies attempt to solve present problems without thinking about the next generation. As a potential politician of the next generation, I ask myself: Will we be able to fix our present mistakes, and the failures of our grandparents’ generation as well?

Both parties hate each other and refuse to compromise.  With any given political issue, the Republicans take one side and the Democrats take the other. But either stance is inevitably contradictory. For example, how can you be pro-life if you support the death penalty?  At the same time, how can you be against the death of criminals but support the death of innocent, unborn children?  It’s illogical.  This is what politics has become.  No middle ground, you are either radical or hypocrital. What is wrong with moderation and open-mindedness?  Our nation was founded on compromise. We have become so prideful and stubborn in our beliefs that we’re running out of time. What happens when both sides don’t give in and time has run out?  They crash, and the government shuts down again.

Sources: Forbes.com, CNN.com, Healthcare.gov

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