Clash of Ideologies: Don’t Have Time For That

Michelle S. Lee ’16
Assistant Opinions Editor

Earlier this week, we saw the first shutdown of the U.S. government in 17 years. For months, there was disagreement in the House of Representatives over a fairly typical funding bill, necessary to constitutionally grant  government expenditure.  This particular bill elicited controversy because it included parts of the widely debated Affordable Care Act of 2010, colloquially known as Obamacare.  Republicans in the House passed many versions of the bill without access to birth control, among other provisions of the ACA, which were rejected by the Democratic Senate.

Republicans refused to budge until 45 minutes before midnight of Tuesday this week. Their call for negotiation was promptly denied by the Democrats, led by Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who famously stated, “We will not negotiate with a gun to our head.” In an unofficial speech, President Obama lambasted the Republicans for stalling the funding bill on the basis of removing insurance from the American people. The Republican Party, headed by Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), refused to pass the funding bill as it was.

What was underrepresented in the midst of this debate, however, was the Republican rationale for refusing to budge. Even though President Obama has called out the GOP for being overly radical, we have to keep in mind that the President isn’t budging either. That is not to say that the President is wrong to do so – after all, the ACA has passed the Supreme Court as constitutional.

The GOP believes that the financing of Obamacare will end up imposing more costs than benefits for the American public, and have brought up the debt ceiling as a means of leverage this past week. They have moved on from the Act itself and have argued about reducing government debt so as not to risk defaulting again. Democrats want to pass the spending bill as-is. The President has so far only been able to criticize the GOP and subsequently urge the two parties to make negotiations.

The two parties are both at an ideological standstill about the Affordable Care Act. Recent polls conducted by CNN have noted that though there is increased blame against the GOP (63 percent) for the shutdown, the American public is not happy with the Democratic Party either, with 57 percent opposed to their handling of the current shutdown. The public has a right to be upset, and it seems indicating our discomfort is the only way to express that we want this resolved.

From an economic standpoint, there is very little good that can come out of this shutdown, if at all. It’s safe to say that a lack of government expenditure will greatly reduce the quality of life for Americans dependent on any welfare systems, and that alone will reduce the consumption of goods that help our companies stay profitable. This crisis is only going to further impede the nation’s GDP growth for the quarter and quite possibly stunt growth for the foreseeable future.  When the government shut down, 800,000 nonessential personnel, including forest rangers, cancer drug testers and government analysts, were placed on unpaid leave, cutting consumption and draining currency from the cycle of American trade and market growth.

It will also begin to affect countries on a global scale if the shutdown is not resolved as soon as possible – less consumption in America means fewer imports, and that means fewer exports for trading countries. This in turn harms companies from other countries and creates a cascading domino effect on their trading nations as well.

It is an interesting debate to see the political philosophies of these two parties battle it out in a highly partisan, and highly publicized, event, but this is not the time for a spectacle. This is time to get our economy up and about, not a time to risk our financial stability and credibility in the international community. Stock market values are already beginning to slip, and as the weeks pass, our economy will slow down on an even larger scale.

Leave a Comment