It’s hostage season
There is a growing movement coming of the Tea Partiers in the Senate and the House to shut down the government unless the president agrees to defund or, at least, delay Obamacare — something the president will never, ever, never do.
As the begin this silly charade, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. The government is funded until September 30.
Obamacare open enrollment begins on October 1. On that day an estimated 26 million middle-class Americans will begin to discover that they are getting tax credit subsidies to help them pay for their health care. Even Republicans recognize that once this happens, this law is never going away.
2. This is completely unnecessary and unwanted.
The deficit is down about 45% from what the president inherited in 2009. The sequester is in effect and is killing up to 700,000 jobs. 57% of Americans either want more money for Obamacare or want to wait and see how the law does as it goes into effect. Given those two choices, only 36% want to repeal the law
3. The rich will be spared.
Republicans refuse to consider getting rid of any tax breaks for the rich — including the break for corporate jets, the carried-interest break that allows hedge fund managers like Mitt Romney to pay tax rates lower than nurses, or the tax break for owning a second home.
Also keep in mind that the reason Republicans really hate Obamacare is that most of the subsidies that will help the middle class buy insurance are paid for by a tax that will only hit the richest 2%. That tax goes into effect on January 1, 2014.
4. Working people and the enviroment will suffer — more.
Instead, Republicans are demanding huge cuts to programs like SNAP that feed the poor and an 80% cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which will “eviscerate” the lakes’ cleanup, according to Todd Ambs of Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition.
5. The Tea Party is running the show.
This sort of sabotage governing has the support of only a handful of Republican senators. In the House a majority of Republicans likely support this kind of brinksmanship that will cost us billions and kill jobs but Speaker Boehner could easily pass a resolution to keep the government funded if he’d let the whole House vote on it, just as he could easily pass immigration reform.