Edge of Chaos is a political podcast starring Joe Ryan and Neurotoxin. Its aim is to have a free-flowing discussion of news and current events that also examines the empirical outcomes of public policy, avoiding biases based on ideology and policy intentions. Listener discretion is both advised and encouraged.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Government By And For the Ignorant

This is obviously a different take on the current, and ongoing, government shutdown than my podcast partner has, but it really is interesting that everyone ignorant enough to elect people to the federal government that have an avowed desire to eliminate that same federal government got exactly what they wanted in all this, and gave it to the rest of us as well. Only, as current reporting shows, this effort was not nearly as spontaneous and grass roots as it was made to be, and as usual very powerful, and very rich elites are behind the scenes pulling all the strings.

Koch brothers. Jim DeMint. Edwin Meese III. FreedomWorks. Generation Opportunity. Heritage Action. These are just some of the very powerful, and very rich, interests in charge of the government shutdown.
Current reporting shows that this was an effort planned, in part, the second Obama won re-election last fall, and really in part it was in some sort of planning stage since the 2010 election of Tea Party members to Congress. The plan for government to default, and for Obamacare to be held hostage against such a default, was always the plan. And as a minority of loons backed by a small elite cadre of Very Powerful Men holds the rest of us hostage with a giant gun poised to blow a hole right through our fragile economy, one must ask themselves, “where is there room for the ‘average American,’ the one who isn’t clinically insane, to have their say about how things should be run?” That is, at least in part, what the founding fathers wanted, right?

And it’s not like this shutdown is popular.
Current polling data shows that both parties are taking a substantial hit as all this mess unfolds, but the most notable shift has been the meteoric rise in negative sentiment against those of the Republican variety, who are being widely (and in my opinion correctly) blamed for starting all of this. Say what you will about the Average American’s intelligence, but this time it seems the majority of Americans, at least the ones responding to pollsters, hit the nail square on the head. One wonders if any incumbent is safe after this is all over. Believe me, the careers of a few Congressmen are not important to the rich elites. These people will have a soft landing in the private sector, and new toadies will emerge in time. Citizens United ensures the flow of money never has to stop, and allows anyone with enough loose cash to hold up the entire mechanics of government to make their own political point and get their way.

But what, to me, is most insidious about this is how people that seem to profess a distaste for “rule of the majority” can forgive such a small, strident group for roping the entirety of the Republican side of the Congress into this shutdown fiasco when a sizeable group of Republicans are ready to end the shutdown and have a simple up or down vote for a clean CR that would fund the government from anywhere from 6 weeks to one year, with minimal to no concessions from Democrats? Basically the Tea Partiers and their puppet masters have called the rest of their party chicken, and like Marty McFly they just can’t back down after being challenged in such a way. So, like in prisons or schoolyards, every Republican is holding the line behind these tea bagging loons if only to preserve their own manhood in public. Some way to run a government, eh?

So the shutdown drags on with an uncertain future ahead. Default may flush the economy down the toilet again and it may not. A deal may be forthcoming before then and it may not. Obamacare is certainly not popular, and indeed I count myself among its detractors, but it is far better than continuing to let costs skyrocket, and to let people languish, go bankrupt, and then die from preventable and treatable causes because they have no access to healthcare. We can debate these deficiencies later, when we have a functional government again. Oh, and about that 61% of Americans the Tea Party claims is behind them in this fight, the ones “opposed” to Obamacare? That 61% includes myself, and I along with many more of that same 61% do not want this shutdown, and would still rather have Obamacare than have nothing. It may be the least we can do but it’s at least doing something. And right now we’re doing nothing.


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