Who is [really] responsible for the U.S. federal government shutdown?

Before I say anything on this issue, I want to make it clear that I have no bias or interest in Obamacare. My medical provider is the VA, and because of my age, I also qualify for Medicare if I wanted to leave the VA medical system. No matter what happens to The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, I will still have healthcare.

The easy answer to the title of this post came from Calvin Woodward and Jennifer Agiesta writing for the Associated Press, but to discover what it meant in more detail I had to do some fact gathering.

Woodard and Agiesta said, “More than 4 in 10 Republicans identified with the tea party and were more apt than other Republicans to insist that their leaders hold firm in the standoff over reopening government and avoiding a default of the nation’s debt in coming weeks.”

There it is—the answer to who is really responsible for the shutdown.

A Pew research poll in 2012 found that about 35% of registered voters are Democrats, 28% Republicans and 33% are Independents.  I’m one of the Independents. I can’t stand either party so I refuse to register with either one.

That means 11.2% of registered Republican voters are in control of the shutdown due to what they think is true about the national health care program known as Obamacare that has been plagued from the beginning with claims, rumors, lies and exaggerations.

If we crunch the numbers, we soon discover that there are more registered voters than the number of people who vote.

In 2012, the US Census reported that there were 206,072,000 Americans eligible to vote, but 146,311,000 were registered and 131,144,000 voted in the 2008 Presidential election.

That means about 16.3 million Americans are yanking the rest of us around because they want it all their way based on faulty, mostly misleading information. Subtract 16.3 million from the total population of the United States and you get a better idea of how small this group is.

Obamacare may not be the best national healthcare program for some Americans [since Americans that already have health care can just keep the same health care plan and change nothing], but I’m also sure this national health care program will not destroy America.

Meanwhile five-percent of the U.S. population is making sure the shutdown continues by using blackmail against the leaders of the Republican Party. This blackmail works because the leaders of the GOP fear losing too many votes in the next election.

And the GOP is counting on the short attention spans and worse memories of most Americans—the independents like me who vote—to have forgotten all about who was responsible for this shutdown by the next Congressional elections in 2014—more than a year away.

So, how about a summary profile of those 16.3 million Americans responsible for the pressure that led to the federal government shutdown.

“The Tea Party movement is best understood as a new cultural expression of the late-20th century Republican Party,” said Steven J. Tepper, associate professor of sociology at Vanderbilt and associate director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy at the university. “Compared to the Republican Party, Tea Party supporters are more likely to support libertarian principles.  But virtually every other characteristic of Tea Party supporters – from demographics to political and social attitudes – matches the profile of Republican supporters.” Source: Vanderbilt.edu

In addition, A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that Tea Party supporters tend to have conservative opinions not just about economic matters, but also about social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In addition, they are much more likely than registered voters as a whole to say that their religion is the most important factor in determining their opinions on these social issues. And they draw disproportionate support from the ranks of white evangelical Protestants.

Conclusion, a few Americans think they have the right to dictate how the rest of us should live. Benjamin Franklin once said, “Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God,” and “It is the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins.”

The Founding Fathers of the United States despised democracy. In the beginning and for more than a century the United States was not a democracy—it was a republic ruled by a political system known as a plutocracy. But in the early 20th century, changes in voting laws and the structure of the U.S. Senate turned the United States into a democracy from the plutocracy the Founding Fathers created.

Do you think the tea-party movement should be the tail that wags today’s American democracy?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine, Vietnam Veteran and English-journalism teacher.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy that started life as a memoir and then became a fictional suspense thriller. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.

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4 thoughts on “Who is [really] responsible for the U.S. federal government shutdown?

  1. “…since Americans that already have health care can just keep the same health care plan and change nothing],…” . PLease get your facts right. This is simply not the case. Thousands are losing their existing plan …. and will be forced to apply for O’care. So many of us will NOT be able to keep our plan, and / or keep our doctor. We are forced to buy “upgraded”/ unnecessary plans that cost more, plans that many of us dont even need.

    • Be specific. Without the exact numbers and reasons, there is no way to know how many are going to see changes of this kind and if these changes will benefit them or be an increased burden in the long run. But there is one thing for sure that we know, change in inevitable.

      So, to check your claim, I did a bit of hunting from reliable sources to see what’s really happening in detail and to do that I had to avoid any sites that even smelled of Obamacare critic or the Koch brothers who will lie, lie, lie and misrepresent the facts at the drop of a snowflake or raindrop.

      And Kaiser offered an explanation that I trust because I don’t think Kaiser is controlled by any element of the Tea Party or the Koch brothers.

      In fact, I think your reaction is more of a knee-jerk reaction because many people just don’t like or trust change of any kind and the critics of Obamacare are doing all they can to stir up that type of fear.

      For example, my wife pays for her own health insurance out of pocket. Her current policy through Blue Shield costs her about $400 a month and that is only if something catastrophic happens to her. This plan does not include an annual physical or include prescriptions or doctor visits. The deductible is so high she would have to pay ten thousand dollars out of pocket before the insurance kicked in and then it was capped at a level that would never pay for a health crises such as long-term cancer care that includes surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy. Basically, her current health insurance plan covers her for an auto accident or falling off a ladder with minor injuries. In fact, after you read this policy, it’s easy to see it favors Blue Shield because they can’t lose money but they are willing to take about $400 a month from my wife.

      And this was the best health care plan she could afford at that price.

      Under the new system, she has learned that her costs will go up between $100- $200 a month and the coverage will be much better. She says it will be worth it. Under the old system, to get similar coverage would have cost her much more than what it will be.

      ___________________________

      Kaiser says, Health plans are sending hundreds of thousands of cancellation letters to people who buy their own coverage, frustrating some consumers who want to keep what they have and forcing others to buy more costly policies.

      The main reason insurers offer is that the policies fall short of what the Affordable Care Act requires starting Jan. 1. Most are ending policies sold after the law passed in March 2010. At least a few are cancelling plans sold to people with pre-existing medical conditions.

      By all accounts, the new policies will offer consumers better coverage, in some cases, for comparable cost — especially after the inclusion of federal subsidies for those who qualify. The law requires policies sold in the individual market to cover 10 “essential” benefits, such as prescription drugs, mental health treatment and maternity care. In addition, insurers cannot reject people with medical problems or charge them higher prices. The policies must also cap consumers’ annual expenses at levels lower than many plans sold before the new rules.

      Anyone who is interested in knowing the facts instead of falling for the fear tactics of Obamacare critics and the PR campaign paid for by people like the Koch brothers may want to read the rest of the Kaiser piece to learn the whole story.

      http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2013/October/21/cancellation-notices-health-insurance.aspx

      In conclusion, what will be the final outcome? How many people will see their costs go up compared to the total? How many people will have health coverage compared to before and after? Of course, those who will complain the most are probably those who live above their means using credit cards to get through each month and can’t afford an increase in monthly expenses without going deeper into debt. Those who live below their means will probably have few problems meeting the increase in expenses but I’m sure some of them will groan and moan anyway.

      Change is inevitable with this plan but not for people my age who are eligible for Medicare or are military veterans who use the VA for medical care as I do.

      For more information on the facts and numbers, I suggest you click and read any or all of these posts at Fact Check.org and stay away from conservative media and talk shows:

      http://www.factcheck.org/tag/affordable-care-act/

      You may also want to see what Costco is offering. All you have to do is fill out the information to quickly get a quote from a company known for its cost cutting that also pays its employees a livable wage with a traditional retirement plan unlike companies in the fast food industry and Wal-Mart.

      https://www51.aetna.com/iqs/costco/aimquote.do

  2. I really resent being jerked around by other people’s agendas. As a senior, the ACA doesn’t directly affect me either … Medicare has its own issues and they are bad enough. It still pisses me off.

    • Same here. Small obsessive, powerful, political/religious groups driven by special-interest agendas important only to them are dangerous to the rest of us. These groups always remind me of the Nazis in Germany under Hitler; the Soviets under Stalin and the Chinese under Mao or Chiang Kai-shek. If you get in their way, you end up on a hit list and are soon eliminated and silenced. By their behavior and actions, it is obvious that they do not respect anyone who doesn’t believe what they believe and that they despise and have no respect for the rest of Americans who do not belong to or agree with their elite groups. Some of them want to turn the United States, into a theocracy. Others want to turn it into a conservative plutocracy.

      I’m sure that if the tea party movement had its way, women and minorities would lose the vote.

      Polls have discovered that “Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public … The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.”

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