Try to imagine a beauty contest with only two contestants, both as ugly as Medusa. That is the case with the two scenarios of either Mr. Boehner standing his ground and refusing to reopen the government and refusing to negotiate a clean debt ceiling or eating the crow and opening the government with a higher debt ceiling. Right now you cannot win either way.
All non-essential offices of the Federal Government are closed and have been closed since 10-1-2013. Essential services are still functional as Social Security checks are still being cut and Medicare and Medcicaid are still open for business. Though nobody is prepared to stand on a soap box and speak formidably about this as an accomplishment, the real Thomas Payne trial of men’s [and women’s] souls comes on Thursday, 10-17-2013. On this date, a day which may very well live in infamy, the Federal Government must reach a deal on the debt ceiling or even the most essential of services will shut down (even if the government is reopened before this day), and America may be forced to default on its loans worldwide. This could result in America as a nation filing for bankruptcy, which will in turn have a domino affect on the world economy.
On the one hand, as appealing as affordable heath care is to anyone who does not have medical insurance, America clearly cannot afford to take on another program requiring funding and the implementation known formally as The Affordable Health Care Act branded for better or for worse as Obamacare is not an appropriate implementation with a budget surplus. Nonetheless, the cost of treating the uninsured is a problem too. Although I do not think Mr. Boehner’s plan to hold the government hostage to defund the program is appropriate or even in good taste, the alternative is no better. We cannot every year or every half-year or so solve the problem by raising the debt ceiling until the end of time. If we did that with our family budgets, we would have lost our homes thirty years ago.
As the calculating lemma supporting the Schoenhaus Theorem clearly states, once we reach the point where a government as minimal as it was in 1789 cannot withstand financially, power up the microphone on the fat lady’s podium, stick a fork in America—we’re done! We are not there yet, but the fastest way to get there is to just keep raising the ceiling for debt tolerance. It may be too late for a simple plan for the Ronald Reagan Republican ultimatum for responsible spending as even responsible spending requires there be money to spend, we can still limit government to military defense and caring for those who absolutely, positively, cannot care for themselves. As I have said many blogs and many moons ago, we must get the private sector to take over everything they possibly can. Furthermore, do we really need 435 congressmen? With the end of the baby-boom, we could save a ton of money just by reducing the size of the House of Representatives by concatenating congressional districts and paying fewer congressmen’s salaries.
Ronald Reagan was one of the greatest presidents in American History. Reagan always said shutting down the government is a direct defiance of law. “The full consequences of a default or even the serious prospect of a default by the United States are impossible to predict and not something to contemplate. Denigration of the full faith and credit of the United States would have substantial effects on the domestic financial market and on the value of the dollar and exchange rates and markets…”
That was great advice in the 1980s but it may be too late. I’m sure The Great Ronald Reagan is looking down on us from Heaven shaking his head in chagrin on the failure of common sense tactics to achieve manageable debt through responsible spending and a full understanding of what our Founding Fathers intended. Ronald Reagan may have been willing to compromise on affordable health care in his time, but now the priority is for the government to live, not inside its means, but below its means. The issue can be resurrected with a balanced budget and the necessity to maintain a balanced budget should lead us right back to the grass roots of it—the private sector.