We have seen this movie before. We didn’t like the original or the previous sequels, and the current sequel, like most of them, is tiresome, predictable and unnecessary. Yes, we are in the midst of another government shutdown and are heading toward another crisis over the extension of the debt ceiling. As that noted 20th Century philosopher, Yogi Berra, is reputed to have said “Deja Vu all over again.”
Some people have commented that the current crisis is all about the defunding of Obamacare. Not true. Obamacare is a sideshow, an appetizer, the undercard. Even most Republicans know that any measure to repeal or defund Obamacare is DOA. The Senate Dems would block it, and President Obama would veto it. So, continuing to focus on it is a big waste of time. Senator Cruz and his cohorts have made their point. They have now reached the point of political diminishing returns. Polls show that most Americans agree that Obmacare is a seriously flawed law that simply will not work. I have delineated these flaws in previous blogs, and there is no need to repeat them here. I say, let it go. Once the (Un)Affordable Healthcare Act, AKA Obamacare, is fully functional, Americans will experience its flaws firsthand. They will then express their dissatisfaction at the polls in 2014 and 2016.
It is time to focus on the real issue, the debt ceiling, which is scheduled for extension on October 17. The debt ceiling extension is part of an ongoing battle between the supporters of big government, big spending, and entitlements expansion and those of small government, spending reduction, and control over entitlements. Depending on your political point of view, one can blame the GOP, the Dems, the Congress as a whole and/or the President or any combination of the above.
I choose to blame all of the above. This situation is yet another example of the dysfunctional Congressional leadership with which we have been saddled in recent years. These leaders of both parties simply cannot control the fringe elements in their own parties. They are incapable of building a consensus in order to get anything done. Instead of Ted Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Tip O’Neill, Everett Dirksen and Bob Dole, we have Mitch McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and John Boehner. Need I say more?
Lack of leadership is, by no means, limited to the Congress. President Obama, rather than trying to build a consensus through the bully pulpit of his office, has, instead, chosen to engage in partisan politics. It seems he is more amenable to negotiating with and granting concessions to Russia or Iran than Congressional Republicans. Can you imagine Lyndon Johnson or Ronald Reagan, among other presidents of recent vintage, acting this way?
CONCLUSION AND PREDICTION
I think we all know how this will end. Obamacare will stand, and there is will be a last minute deal to avert a default. Even Wall Street believes there will be a deal. Otherwise, the stock market would have declined substantially by now. The alternative is simply unfathomable. Perhaps, Obama will agree to delay the full implementation of Obamacare for individuals for a year like he did for businesses in order to work out some of the kinks, but that is as far as he appears willing to go. In the meantime, try not to be too bored as you watch the latest sequel unfold.