As I write, America is in the midst of a partial government shutdown. And there’s one major roadblock that’s keeping Congress gridlocked: Obamacare.
I find this very ironic. You see, the issue Americans care the most about isn’t Obamacare… it’s jobs. Yet jobs are taking an incredible amount of collateral damage from the healthcare law that the Senate and the president are so insistent on funding.
The list of companies cutting both jobs and benefits is long. Some recognizable names include United Parcel Service (UPS), International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), and Wendy’s (WEN). Community colleges, public school systems, and even state and local government agencies are cutting hours and jobs because of the unworkable monstrosity that is Obamacare. A report in Investor’s Business Daily claims that 16,500 hours of work have just evaporated for Americans.
But according to Obama and Senator Harry Reid, no adjustments can be made. Only the well-connected labor unions, large employers, and government officials who’ve already received exemptions can stay out of Obamacare. On the other hand, the little people (like you and me) are stuck.
Well, not totally stuck. You see, we’ve uncovered an incredible opportunity. It allows everyday people like you and me to invest alongside the political elite and profit no matter the circumstances on Capitol Hill (and let’s face it, they’re pretty dire right now). Political insiders have been making a fortune using this method, and they want to keep it a secret. But we found out anyway.
And this is where I get confused. You see, the U.S. Constitution established separate branches of government for a reason: to build consensus. If there’s no consensus, a policy shouldn’t be pursued. The nation has spoken, and it doesn’t want the negative effects of Obamacare. The House of Representatives has spoken, and it’s trying to represent the people’s wishes. But Obama simply refuses to negotiate. He and Harry Reid have made it clear: It’s their way or the highway.
Late on the night of September 30, in an attempt to avoid a shutdown, the House leadership appointed members to a conference committee to meet with the Senate. The Senate, on the other hand, refused to send anyone to negotiate. Faced with this type of arrogance, there was little that could be done. As I predicted, the government shut down.
Coincidentally, the government shut down because of Obamacare on October 1, 2013 – which was also the first day of the Obamacare exchanges.
And what about those exchanges? According to the best reports I can find, they’re experiencing outages and glitches in over 34 states. Better yet, you (like me) probably received a document from your employer outlining your “rights” under Obamacare. I tried to read through the lines of government doublespeak, and I’ve concluded that I get less care, I pay more money, and I can’t keep my doctor, as he’s chosen to exempt his practice from Obamacare. Some start to the Obamacare era.
With that in mind, I fear for a resolution to the shutdown that doesn’t challenge the status quo. I believe the forces fighting Obamacare need to stick to their collective guns and hold strong. If they do, Obama will be forced to come to the table at some point.
It’s disappointing that he’s stayed away thus far, but I’m not surprised. In fact, I’m convinced that Obama thinks he will benefit from renewed political crisis. He believes that the GOP will take the brunt of the blame if a prolonged shutdown leads to uncertainty or, worse, a renewed financial crisis.
If Obama wants a crisis – and his actions imply that he does – he’s a greater fool than I thought. He will not escape blame for this downturn. Bob Woodward of The Washington Post agrees. Yesterday morning on MSNBC, he stated, “Obama gets the blame if this confrontation spins out of control and leads to a renewed financial crisis.”
Now, I don’t believe it will; but I’ve never seen any president with this much unchecked arrogance. When President Bill Clinton was facing a government shutdown, his actions were the opposite of Obama’s. Clinton was at the table negotiating with then-Senator Bob Dole and House Speaker Newt Gingrich every day. He didn’t head out to the links and disappear like Obama. That takes a special kind of hubris.
This commentary originally appeared at CapitolHillDaily.com and is reprinted here with permission.