The war isn’t over. It’s only a cease-fire.
Republicans have agreed to fund the federal government through January 15 and extend the government’s ability to borrow (raise the debt ceiling) through February 7. The two sides have committed themselves to negotiate a long-term budget plan by mid-December.
Regardless of what happens in the upcoming budget negotiations, it seems doubtful House Republicans will try to prevent the debt ceiling from being raised next February. Saner heads in the GOP will be able to point to the debacle Tea Partiers created this time around – the public’s anger, directed mostly at Republicans; upset among business leaders and Wall Street executives, who bankroll much of the GOP; and the sharply negative reaction of stock and bond markets, where the American middle class parks whatever savings it has.
The saner Republicans will also be able to point out that President Obama means it when he says he won’t ever negotiate over the debt ceiling.
“Will Work for Food.” How many times do we see these signs at most every street corner? For those of who are federal employees and who are also union representatives and officers, the time seems to be right for us to get out our Sharpies and make our own signs.
The last several years have seen my sisters and brothers in Social Security and other agencies continually being threatened with shutdowns and furloughs as a result of the lack of federal budgets or continuing resolutions, failure to raise the debt ceiling as well as the fiscal cliff. Now as of October 1, 2013 we are going to be shut down again.
In 1995, Social Security employees such as myself were called “non-essential” and sent home. After a press blitz, we were called at home told we were essential and should come back to work —
At the 1992 Republican National Convention, then Vice Presidential nominee Dan Quayle summed up his thoughts on taxing those with greatest wealth at higher rates with the line, “Why should the best people be punished?” This rare candor spotlights the beliefs still central in today’s economic policymaking.
Last week, House member Kevin Cramer (R-ND) invoked scripture to justify taking food from the mouths of babes, saying “If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.” His colleague, Rep. Steve Southerland (R-FL) similarly declared, “work is a blessing.” Clearly, the economy is intended as far more than an aggregation of what we produce, purchase, consume and invest. We’re meant to see it as an instrument to impose a particular morality: to reward the good and punish the naughty.
Republicans would go further and have us believe the economy is an angry and vengeful God.
On ABC’s This Week, Newt Gingrich and I debated whether House Republicans should be able to repeal a law — in this case, the Affordable Care Act — by de-funding it. Here’s the essence:
GINGRICH: Under our constitutional system, going all the way back to Magna Carta in 1215, the people’s house is allowed to say to the king we ain’t giving you money.
REICH: Sorry, under our constitutional system you’re not allowed to risk the entire system of government to get your way.
Had we had more time I would have explained to the former Speaker something he surely already knows: The Affordable Care Act was duly enacted by a majority of both houses of Congress, signed into law by the President, and even upheld by the Supreme Court.
The Constitution of the United States does not allow a majority of the House of Representatives to repeal the law of the land by de-funding it (and threatening to close the entire government,
It’s been 100 years since ideological conservatives joined with doctors and insurance companies to kill the first movement in the United States for what was then called “compulsory health care.” Now, on the eve of their epic loss, those who deeply hate the idea that we have a collective responsibility to care for each other are desperately trying to stop history’s clock.
Beneath the tested rhetoric from opponents like the Heritage Foundation and Texas Senator Ted Cruz about a government takeover or Obamacare killing jobs and the economy, we can find expressions of the driving force behind the right’s obsession. One telling quote is from Missouri State Senator Rob Schaaf, who declared, “We can’t afford everything we do now, let alone provide free medical care to able-bodied adults.” Another is the proud statement from Steve Lonegan, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in New Jersey, who told me in a debate on Obamacare at the FDR Library,