The Other I

October 11, 2013

Which is the worsest?

Filed under: Just Stuff,Political thoughts — theotheri @ 7:08 pm

Like many others, I have been watching in stupefied horror as the House Republicans try to un-do legislation passed by an earlier Congress by holding the country hostage.

Some changes need to be made so that a minority is not again in a position to negate legislation which is already law because they don’t like it.  But that is for the future.  The question now is not just how to get government workers back in their offices again, but how not to avoid an even worse situation in which the United States defaults on its debts.

I have thought that Obama is right to refuse to compromise on Obamacare at this point.

But if it comes to it, and the choice is between defaulting on our debts and defunding (ie, essentially destroying) Obamacare, I think Obama should choose the lesser of two evils and make it clear that it is the Republicans who are responsible.

The health care being made available through Obamacare is essential for tens of thousands of seriously sick people today unable to afford essential medical treatment.  It is terrible to refuse to help them.  But the economic destruction that will be caused by default by a major economy whose currency is the reserve currency of the world will cause even more suffering and poverty.  It will last for years – some economists think the economic effects could last a generation.

And the loss of prestige and trust and leadership by a country that does not pay its debt because it is fighting over whether to provide health care for its sick will probably be permanent.

I’m finding it hard these days to be proud to be an American.  We seem to be betraying so many of our own basic principles of justice and responsibility.


  1. you are so right. The R’s met in January and decided to defund Obamacare (Republicans don’t care?) and to stop everything possible because they want to destroy the “Obama Presidency.” This was in a front page article on Sunday in the N”Y Times…and the week before in the Washington Post by a journalist who has appeared once (only once) on TV…too bad i forget his name.The R’s know they cannot win. The have lost most AFrican American and Latino voters, many women and therefore, they are determined to stop all progress…which they regard as socialism, big government, etc.They don’t believe we are responsible for climate change…they don’t want anyone to get an abortion…talk about controlling the wrong thing and worrying about the wrong thing…and; they have been supported by the bishops for 30 years…until a few years ago when the bps noticed the increase in poverty and the widening of the wealth and income gap. God/dess bless those bishops.Pundits say that the reason the R’s are so tough on the governemtn shutdown now is because Obama caved the last time…because he was responsible and caring…so now the bullies are stronger. Hard to know what to do…but I think the bullies will back down if O only gives some little cover …a fig leaf…so they can get on with it and pass the debt ceiling as well as open the gov’t again.We shall see.Hang on to your hat…Love,Beth

    Date: Fri, 11 Oct 2013 19:08:09 +0000 To:


    Comment by E Bastasch — October 11, 2013 @ 7:46 pm | Reply

    • Beth, you give me some comfort in knowing that there are others who find the situation as appalling and worrisome as I do. I am definitely hanging onto my hat. Maybe we should grab our trench coats and hip boots as well. D-day will be here in 5 more days. Do you think somebody will blink?


      Comment by Terry Sissons — October 12, 2013 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

  2. Can’t “compromise” on this without setting a precedent that makes all future legislation meaningless, as I understand. No congress has ever undone a passed law this way, and none should be allowed to do so. Otherwise any law is only a law if the congress chooses to fund it. The only way to overturn Obamacare,or any law, is to write and pass new legislation. The Tea Partyers can’t do that, so they have decided to hold the entire government hostage.

    I don’t know why Obama doesn’t invoke the 14th Amendment, which states clearly that the US government must meet its financial obligations in a timely fashion, period.

    Btw, I also understand Catholic bishops encouraged this crisis when they sent a letter to congress in September telling them to shut down the government by refusing to pass the budget (which the House itself voted to pass) unless Obama agreed to let employers who don’t believe in birth control be able to opt out of providing health insurance because it violates their “conscience.”


    Comment by pianomusicman — October 12, 2013 @ 5:02 pm | Reply

    • I am in total agreement that letting the Republicans get what they want would make all future legislation meaningless.

      The 14th Amendment option hadn’t occurred to me. Hmmm: could the President by-pass Congress on the grounds that what they *aren’t* doing is unconstitutional? But if he did, could he just give an executive command for the treasury to raise the debt limit de facto by paying our bills? I also didn’t know about the Catholic bishops interference. Like the Republicans, they can’t use a legitimate means to fight their case for what they consider a constitutional right to freedom of religion. Instead, it’s an attempt at raw coercion.

      I’ve read that if the government defaults on its debts, it is quite possible that social security payments will not be made. I can’t imagine even the Tea Partyers standing for that for long.

      It’s easy to be angry at their tactics. Unfortunately, I usually find anger and sarcasm to be generally self-defeating strategies for change. But I don’t have a clue about what most of us can do except contact our congressional representatives, which is feeling about as useless as getting angry right now. It really does feel like a crisis of potentially significant magnitude.


      Comment by Terry Sissons — October 12, 2013 @ 7:23 pm | Reply

  3. Just read this column summarizing the possible outcomes in relation to the current budget and default crisis in Congress. It’s worth reading. Though not exactly jolly.


    Comment by theotheri — October 12, 2013 @ 8:04 pm | Reply

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