Now that we are ten days into the Government shutdown, we might have heard from everyone who has an opinion about Obamacare, the debt, entitlements, extortion, refusals to talk and so on.
The GOP believes Obamacare is directly related to everything which gives them the right to bring the government to its knees. The Democrats claim they are being extorted, that the people have spoken time and time about the healthcare reform law. They also cite that the republicans have dragged their feet this year over the budget and have no room now to complain.
Unquestionably the US debt is staggering. While Obamacare is less related to the budget battle since the healthcare law would be funded anyway--at this point in time, still it is directly related to the federal debt and our abilities to maintain ourselves as a nation. The question to me should be: how much political capital do the republicans gain or lose by making Obamacare failure the "holy grail".
It probably is true that John Boehner could call a vote on a clean bill and it would pass the House by a close margin. It probably is also true that the US Senate could bring a vote on delaying Obamacare which might pass, although most pundits believe it would not.
So, where does that leave us today as consumer confidence drops dramatically due to the government meltdown and as the country is on the brink of economic cataclysmic disaster, if not a drop in our credit ratings.
I know you haven’t asked, but here’s my take anyway:
Let’s agree to open up the government. Then, let’s cut a short term fix. We have no real options. We need to cut the budget drastically and/or raise the debt limit. There must be a good mix of cuts and revenues. We simply cannot default.
But, in doing so, it is time for us to go after our own sacred cows? Social security, entitlements, and all of those subjects that we know must be reformed, must be targeted.
And, yes, we must look at our entitlements and get serious about reform. But, then, there are other entitlements that often go unmentioned such as tax breaks for religious institutions, for corporations, for the rich and all of the other tax subsidies we never want to admit. In terms of the religious institutions, why should they be exempted from paying tax, especially since it appears most of them are violating the law by engaging in government. Yes, they do the lord’s work, and they are absolutely needed. However, the truth is—all of us can make arguments in favor of our favorite bovines (figuratively speaking, of course). If we go after Obamacare, it is time to go after how others care too. Put everything on the table, everything. It is time for mass sacrifice, whether we like it or not.
While we're at it, isn't it time we add more taxes on gun sales and cigarettes? They don’t kill in their passive state, but they do so when lit up. Their very ubiquitous presence in our world is taking a toll on the weakest of us all. We should protect our right to own and use but we should reasonably balance those liberties against the damages we cause when we enable them.
Then, let’s talk about making some really radical changes. It is time to radically punish parents who have kids out of wedlock. It is cruel to make innocent kids suffer. But, the parents must pay the penalty, not society. Sounds racial, I know. But, the white kids are having babies at an ever-increasing rate and the truth is, the government cannot afford it. Daddy government is simply out of money.
Now, that I probably have peeved off everyone, my overall point is this—our great-grandparents and their kids have sacrificed to make this country great. Tens of thousands of our men died in service. Tens of thousands of our women sacrificed their careers to rivet our nation during those urgent times.
We, the beneficiaries, have become weakened and spoiled as we all want the perks and we can make a legitimate case for protecting each one of them. But, now is the time for each one of us to really show that we can come together as a country as did our predecessors. The truth, we are our greatest enemies. If this country fails, it is due to our own collective greed, laziness, impulsivities and demand for government conveniences, special interests and bailouts.
Our fragile economic state is is not a republican versus democrat issue. It is an American people issue.
It truly is time for all of us to drop our partisan weapons. It is beyond time that every one of us digs into ourselves and honestly ask-- what do I really value and have every right to keep, but, must give up for the greater good.
If history has proven anything, it is that right now, we cannot govern ourselves at all. Government is not broken, we are. We are now at war to maintain our nation’s very soul, yet we don’t even know it or want to know it. We are asking our neighbors to sacrifice, not us. We insist it is their fault, not ours.
That mentality will simply prolong our nation’s misery until we can no longer make a real difference, ever again.