Budgetary madness

Republicans need to stop holding the nation hostage to their ludicrous demands.

Ronald Dixon

In one week, Congress must pass a new budget or the federal government will run out of money. This would have an impact on Medicare, public hospitals, food stamps, unemployment insurance, funds to state and local governments and much more.

Moreover, the debt ceiling needs to be lifted by mid-October so that the nation can continue to fund what it has already agreed to pay for.

The failure to do both, in the words of President Barack Obama, would depict the United States as a “deadbeat nation,” a country that cannot even agree to pay for the bills that it has already incurred.

In this dire economic situation, the full faith and credit of the monetary system may be questioned, and it may even harm national security.

Passing budgets and raising debt ceilings have been commonplace political sport for years. The debt limit has been changed almost 80 times, mostly by Republicans. Despite this, GOP leadership has decided to — once again — take this nation hostage for political gain.

Last week, House Republicans passed a bill to fund the government, but they included a measure to defund the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare.” This is the 42nd time the House voted on legislation to gut the ACA.

This entire debate, both on the deficit and health care, is based upon fallacious
assertions.

The deficit, contrary to popular opinion, has actually been shrinking rapidly since Obama took office, thanks to general spending cuts, lower taxes and sequestration.

As students, we can specifically benefit from the ACA. The ACA made it possible for children to stay on their parent’s plans until the age of 26.

Prior to this change, students could be dropped at age 19 if they weren’t taking classes full-time. Young people make up about 30 percent of uninsured people, higher than any other age group.

This is especially dangerous at universities that do not require student health insurance. Insurance would then become an out-of-pocket cost for students without parental or financial support. The University of Minnesota has a student health insurance requirement, but if the ACA was defunded, it could potentially hurt students by stripping them of insurance coverage.

Tangibly, we see the benefits of the ACA in Minnesota. The pinnacle of the Obamacare success is MNsure, the health care exchange for those that lack insurance in the state.

Congressional Republicans may disagree with the facts surrounding the deficit and health care, but they should not be using these issues as bargaining chips to achieve their own political ends.

How do we get out of this mess?

First, Republicans need to stop acting as delegates to their narrow, gerrymandered districts and act in the best interests of the nation. Also, House Speaker John Boehner needs to disband the 20-year precedent by Republican leadership of using the Hastert Rule, which prevents House legislation from being held to a vote if only a minority of the majority supports the bill. Furthermore, Obama must continue to fight against these Republican demands, using the bully pulpit and Senate Democrats as his offense. Finally, although the people would disproportionately blame Republicans if the government shut down, Americans need to stop voting these incompetent legislators into office.

This monetary madness needs to end.

Ronald Dixon

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