Well, I did my patriotic duty recently and watched some news shows and of course the main domestic topic is this week's posturing between the Republican House and the Democratic Senate over first, getting a budget and then, shortly after, additional debate over whether or not to raise the national debt ceiling.
The House, is its wisdom, again voted into the bill sent to the Senate, provisions that link any budget with parts that defund or don't fund the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The House had two members cross over party lines to vote for this one of which was our own Representative Matheson.
The commotion here is that the Senate already has put out the word that the bill is dead on arrival with the defunding/elimination language in it. Accordingly, this is where talk of 'shutting down' the government starts.
This talk then devolves into 'what if' scenarios if the shut down occurs, who is going to get the most blame and, more importantly, how well this pans out in next years election cycle?
The two leading senators who are leading the fight are Senator Cruz of Texas and our own Senator Mike Lee. They are both adamant that last year's House election results clearly indicate the country's dislike of the law and desire to if not a least revise it, repeal it. What they fail to remember is that same election also reelected the person they derogatorily named the law after.
My opinion is that Congress should first raise taxes $1 trillion to balance the budget and then discuss what benefits, programs, personnel, and services they don't want to start cutting back to reduce spending and hence our budget. This follows my ideal choice of first doing away with Congress. I acknowledge neither have a chance.
Besides the problems of not either passing a budget (we could and most likely will continue to pass 'continuing resolutions' to fund expenditures) or raising the debt ceiling, doing neither would cause, most likely, problems for the economy, a ripple effect in the lives of many citizens, and greater harm to our standing and creditability in the world.
These problems are caused, obviously, by Congress and have always been self inflicted. No matter how one feels about the operation of our government and how it determines those above listed expenditures, the one overriding fact is that all of them were approved by Congress in the first place.
Obama did not on his own pass the ACA nor did any previous president pass any law requiring the allocation of taxes to fund the law. My simplistic support for the law is based on the concept of shared cost. Like Social Security where the employee and employer contribute 50-50 to the fund. The law intends to have all contribute into the fund to pay health costs.
Republicans seem to look at health care as an option -- if you can afford a $50K or $500K home, your choice; a $20,000 or $60,000 car or truck, your choice; or a $25,000 or $125,000 post-high school education, your choice. Democrats seem to look at health care as a necessary -- a gallon of gas, a bag of groceries, utility bills, or city services for instance. Doesn't matter where you live or what you earn, those costs are the same for all consumers.
The "Memorialize Eisenhower, not architect" Standard-Examiner Our View editorial for Sept. 22, regarding the memorial, is a microcosm of the problem over money in government. Guess I was wrong but I always thought the US government never paid for or initiated monuments or memorials to those deemed worthy of such honor based on service to the country. The government approved and allocated space on federal property and too some degree paid for the maintenance, upkeep, and security of such landmarks but it was along standing government policy not to pay for the monument or design with tax payer monies.
Lo and behold, our good friend Representative Bishop is chair of the subcommittee that's overseeing this proposed memorial. Am I the only one that finds this ludicrous concerning the fight over our turgid budgets the last 12 years? Some $40M later just to come up with a design for the memorial as well as another $60M being already allocated by Congress and Bishop thinks it's a good idea to start over at another possible cost of maybe upwards towards $17M?
These guys that just got back from a month-long August vacation are now going to talk about a budget for the country? As my son would tell me when one of my projects would get overwhelming -- "nothing bad could happen here!"
There was a sign in the county recorder/clerk's office that read "you can't complain if you don't vote." Maybe George Carlin was right in reversing that saying -- "only if you don't vote do you have the right to complain." The point being you had nothing to do with electing the people that bear the responsibility of supposedly first and foremost putting the people's interest, safety, well being, and welfare as their main priority.
I'm getting close to what was referred to as the "golden years." That means Social Security, Medicare, retirement, etc. Every two years I hope someone, from somewhere, would get elected that could say the right thing, at the right time, to the right people, in the right setting, that will get my country back on the right track.
I'm getting close to giving up hope of this ever happening again in my lifetime and that's a disheartening, discouraging, and disappointing commentary to have going into my golden years.
Thompson lives in Ogden.