Debt Ceiling

Government Shutdown: Compromise Is Not a Holy Sacrament

Democrats helped create the situation, now they blame GOP "anarchists."

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When Sen. Ted Cruz rolled out an epic 21-hour anti-Obamacare "filibuster," his efforts were ridiculed by journalists across the Twitterverse as a useless exercise in would-be obstructionism. No surprise there.

The New York Times editorial board joined in, spitting out an angry editorial accusing Cruz of employing an "aimless and self-destructive Tea Party strategy"—an egomaniacal attempt to cash in on the impulses of misguided conservatives. However hopeless a liberal cause may be (gun control, cap and trade, Wendy Davis—take your pick), it's always a worthy idealistic pursuit. Conservatives in uphill fights, on the other hand, are likelier to be fanatics or money-grubbing frauds; the Times can't seem to decide.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid took to the Senate floor, as well, and declared Cruz's efforts a waste of time, unpacking his standard lament about the lack of compromise in Washington. Reid reminisced about the early 1980s, offering a personal story about a Republican who had helped him feel more comfortable when he first arrived in Washington. If only today's "anarchists" (his description) were half as cooperative, we'd really get stuff done.

Well, believe it or not, compromise isn't a holy sacrament. It's not a mitzvah. It's not particularly inspiring to voters. Politics is the art of compromising as little as possible, really.

So though conservatives may be fumbling for a plausible plan to deal with Obamacare, the contention that they're more ideologically inflexible than their opponents is preposterous. The only thing more preposterous is the idea that Cruz's crusade will hurt them.

But that's not the only myth. In a recent exchange on "Real Time with Bill Maher," panelists went a few rounds on the GOP's strategy for the upcoming budget showdowns (wily anarchists or slack-jawed yokels?) and talked about the pros and cons of "hostage taking" before MSNBC's Chris Hayes chimed in with a pretty revealing comment, saying, "I think it is useful to separate the kind of tactical question here from the substantive one, which is to say, like, you know, if there were a liberal caucus in the United States government that could, you know, hold the continuing resolution hostage to try to stop a war that I thought was horrible, I would say, 'Yeah, do it.' The thing that they're trying to stop here is 30 million people getting health insurance!"

It's the substantive question liberals have a problem with these days, not the tactical one.

A potential shutdown over the continuing resolution or the debt ceiling would be fine if the issue happened to move the liberal soul. But Republicans can't possibly have a legitimate reason to want to defund/delay/defeat/de-anything Obamacare. The GOP opposes the law because of an insatiable impulse to deny millions of poor Americans health insurance. If Hayes were to concede that genuine objections existed—however misguided he might find them—he'd also be conceding that conservatives have a purpose beyond his own cartoon depiction of free market beliefs.

In this cartoon, Republicans are obstructionists, and that's that. When Reid says any Republican House budget he dislikes is "dead on arrival," how many nonpartisan publications will call him out on his uncompromising position? When the president states that negotiating with Republicans over the debt ceiling "is not going to happen," how many reporters are going to point out that his stubbornness could lead to a government shutdown?

But one of the remarkable and most often overlooked aspects of this debate is that it revolves around perhaps the least cooperative piece of major legislation in American history, Obamacare. Shouldn't those who idealize the D.C. bargain be concerned that a single party took control of a significant chunk of the American economy and compelled every family and business in the nation to participate without a shred of support from the minority party? Even the wing-we-can-get-behind of the Senate—the John McCains of the world—weren't on board. Talk about a hostage crisis.

NEXT: Audit: Calif. Teachers' Pensions Straining Budget

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  1. I didn’t no Suderman was on the NYT editorial board.

    1. I didn’t *know* Suderman was on the NYT editorial board.

    2. ?y classmate’s step-sister ?akes $82/h hourly on the internet. She has been out of a job for 6 ?onths but last ?onth her pay was $20983 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read ?ore on this site…

      http://www.Works23.com

      1. Oh! Well since you put it that way; maybe today is the day I click the link!

  2. When the president states that negotiating with Republicans over the debt ceiling “is not going to happen,”

    The House should take him at his word, and not bother sending a debt ceiling bill to the Senate.

  3. What government shutdown? Or does ‘shutdown’ mean something different to the government?

    1. Yes, it means shutting down the most visible and popular parts of the government. This upsets the sheep so much that they immediately begin bleating for the horror to end.

  4. The tolerant left.

  5. Was having a discussion with someone today about the idea of a real government shutdown.

    Regardless of whether a shutdown is right, wrong, works, wouldn’t work, you can tell pretty quickly where people stand depending on who blinks first on the very notion of a total government shutdown.

    Create five columns representing the question of a shutdown

    Column Answer
    1 Hell Yes
    2 Yes
    3 Maybe/Not sure
    4 No
    5 Hell no

    Start telling people to get into line based on their preference on a govt. shutdown.

    After you’re done and everyone is lined up, you’re going to immediately know who’s on the tit who’s not. Bam! Instant classification.

  6. Ugh, David. Where’s your nuance? You’ll be the chuckling stock of the wonk parties with this attitude!

  7. Objectively the law is hugely the product of ideological compromise. It is hardly a socialist wet dream. It’s what Republicans would have come up with a couple decades ago when they were merely somewhat far right-wing instead of batshit insane right-wing. Actually, it is what they came up with.

    Of course because it had Obama’s fingerprints on it, it became an object of duplicitous political posturing. Nothing wrong with that I guess. Nothing wrong, either, with liberals pointing out that Republicans don’t have an idea of their own to deal with the problem (do they even acknowledge a problem?), and that seemingly their only policy goal at the moment is to repeal this law. Of course it really has nothing to do with policy and entirely to do with politics. But that’s okay I guess.

    What is preposterous, though, is this sentence: “the contention that they’re more ideologically inflexible than their opponents is preposterous.”

    Come on now. Democrats are defending a law invented by the Heritage Foundation. Republicans are threatening to wreck the economy if they don’t get their way despite controlling only the House. Democrats not playing their stupid, cynical game (this time) is not inflexibility.

    1. I’m sorry, what is the law invented by the heritage foundation?

      1. The ACA. The individual mandate was conservatives’ big market-based idea for universal healthcare back in the day.

        1. The individual mandate was conservatives’ big market-based idea for universal healthcare back in the day.

          It’s not exactly a revelation that conservatives and liberals have a limited understanding of what “market-based” actually means.

        2. Oh, sorry, I thought you were talking about the debt ceiling.

        3. So, why do you support it, rent-boy?

          -jcr

        4. Just like firehoses and lynch mobs were Democrats’ idea for race relations back in the day?

        5. Lie. Lie lie lie.

          The individual mandate was the brainwave of a couple of Heritage staffers. They wrote a white paper. A few Republicans liked the idea as a defensive, less-shitty alternative to HillaryCare/single payer.

          It was never “conservatives’ big market-based idea,” i.e., something that enjoyed broad and/or deep political support among conservatives.

          Stop lying, sockpuppet.

          1. Quit defending conservatives, you’re giving him ammunition. I usually just ignore his assertions because they all rely on us being closeted neocons. I wouldn’t be surprised if Barry-O himself was cutting this guy checks for what he does here.

            1. Tony would rather argue with conservatives than libertarians. You can tell by the way he constantly straw mans. In his mind, you will be intellectual bunkmates with Rick Santorum, regardless of what you say or think.

    2. Republicans are threatening to wreck the economy if they don’t get their way despite controlling only the House.

      Just like the Sequester wrecked the economy.

      1. Oh sometimes I forget, facts are optional in this neck of the woods. The sequester has been estimated to be responsible for anywhere from 250,000 to 1.6 million jobs lost that would otherwise have existed. Nobody ever claimed it would have effects on the level of not raising the debt ceiling, which pretty much everyone but right-wing cranks thinks would be calamitous for the global economy.

        1. The sequester has been estimated to be responsible for anywhere from 250,000 to 1.6 million jobs lost that would otherwise have existed.

          Talk about facts being optional.

          1. Is that like the millions of jobs “saved” by Obama’s stimulus?

            By the way, CBS News reported this morning that Team Obama “found” $100 million in “untapped” federal grant money to give to Detroit. How can there possibly be as much a two “untapped” cents to be found when the Unspeakably Destructive Sequester from Hell destroyed the economy, crippled the government, closed down vital services, deprived military families of fireworks this past July 4th, etc.,etc., etc.

            1. Not having read the article, I’m guessing this was a kajillion dollars previously allocated as ‘grant’ money that some incompetent had failed to give away, leaving a few pennies rattling around at the bottom of the can. Because I mean, say what you will, $100,000,000 ain’t much in terms of money when you’re talking about the feds.

              So the money, having been ‘budgeted’ to this grant authority was already recorded as ‘spent’. Which is actually a good way to do it when you’re the government. If you give someone in the public sector a dollar, that’s a dollar spent. Even if they keep it in their pocket, it’s ‘spent’.

            2. Team Obama “found” $100 million in “untapped” federal grant money to give to Detroit.

              WTF? I demand a retraction from “the cupboard is bare” Nanny Pelosi.

          2. What jack ass made the estimate? What did the jack ass base the estimate on, how was it determined?

            Ever notice how the gubmint always uses the passive voice? “Mistakes were made. It was found… etc.” WHO did these things? In a legal proceeding, the first rules of court refer to the parties, their identity, their nature, their interests. This is of prime importance in any case or controversy, but when dealing with the press (and indirectly thereby, the public), well, I guess they’re just too stupid to figure out that they’re being snowed.

            1. Oh. I guess I know who. Top. Men.

        2. You know, if NPR couldn’t even find any jobs lost, and god how they tried to find them, there weren’t 1.6 million jobs lost due to the sequester.

          And frankly, even if there were 1.6 million jobs lost due to the sequester– they were probably jobs that shouldn’t have existed.

        3. Tony|9.27.13 @ 5:59PM|#
          “Oh sometimes I forget, facts are optional in this neck of the woods”

          Yep, ’bout the time you start posting, facts become irrelevant.

        4. The sequester has been estimated to be responsible for anywhere from 250,000 to 1.6 million jobs lost that would otherwise have existed.

          Oh, and I’m sure these estimates were made by experts. They cranked numbers into their computer models, and out came an accurate estimate of jobs lost.

          Problems of that class are not solvable using the processing capability we have available. Since they cannot be solved using linear algebra, we can create simulations that attempt to estimate approximations and assign probabilities, but those are extremely fallible. Think about the monthly or annual forecasts of job growth. If we know how many jobs would have been created given hypothetical circumstances, why do we not know how many jobs will actually be created given actual circumstances? This is quintessential “pretense of knowledge” territory.

          Even if we could solve such problems or create reliable simulations, you are assuming that the estimate is being made in good faith, that the methodology is correct, etc. You haven’t even provided a source for your magic numbers, but we’re supposed to accept that 1.6M jobs would have been created because you said so. It’s just a Fact. Apparently it’s so incontrovertible, so widely known and accepted that everybody knows it and the people who don’t are stupid or vicious.

          1. You think these models are Monte Carlo? You give them WAY too much credit. This bullshit is cranked out using a standard Keynesian massively simultaneous equation system with a degree of variability around a few inputs. And reality is just the error term.

            1. They smell more like Three Card Monte than Monte Carlo.

          2. Worse, it was a range estimate. Why not a range of 10 to 2,000,000 jobs while they’re at it? The range was probably the result of focus group testing, since such a broad range as the result of a computer sim has near zero credibility.

        5. facts are optional in this neck of the woods.

          Nice lead in for your lies.

          The sequester has been estimated to be responsible for anywhere from 250,000 to 1.6 million jobs lost that would otherwise have existed.

          Government spending does NOT create jobs. It shifts resources from the voluntary side of the economy to the looting and pillaging side of the economy. The result is always a net loss.

          -jcr

            1. You are a liar and an idiot.

              -jcr

        6. OK, so $45BB “saves” 1.6million jobs. But $800BB in stimulus only saved ~6million jobs, let’s say 6.4 -you’ll see why in a minute. That means that for every order of magnitude of deficit spending we only get a 2x improvement in the number of jobs created. So if we apply your brilliant math to $8TT in deficit spending like Kruggie wanted we would only create or “save” a grand total of 12.8million jobs? More specifically, if we were to spend and additional 50% of GDP breaking the windows that need to be broken we would only get 12.8million new jobs.

          Wow, talk about a shitty rate of return..

        7. Tony:
          Oh sometimes I forget, facts are optional in this neck of the woods. The sequester has been estimated to be responsible for anywhere from 250,000 to 1.6 million jobs lost that would otherwise have existed.

          Ok, the US has a labor force of about 150 million, so you’re talking 1% unemployed.

          Can you find the spike in unemployment due to the sequester?

          I sure can’t. So I guess that either:
          A. Your estimate of sequester responsibility on unemployment was pulled out of someone’s ass, or
          B. Whatever else going on in the economy is so much more important than federal government sequesters, that it more than balanced it out. It looks like we’ve had a decrease in unemployment over this time, not an increase. Which begs the question: why wet your pants over federal sequesters?

          Which is your favorite hypothesis?

          1. Actually I’m rather liking the hypotheses that you’re all a bunch of confused idiots who are now defending the current state of the economy. Obama lovers now?

            1. Pointing out that slight decrease in unemployment is not consistent with 1% increased unemployment claims != endorsing economy.

              Your ad hominems say more about you than they do about me. If you want to make the argumentative equivalent of a monkey throwing poop at someone he doesn’t like, as the local representative of everything democrat, please, be my guest.

    3. “the problem”
      oh yeah what was that?
      this POS, whoever devised it, does not address “the problem”.
      All it does (once again) is move water from the deep end of the pool to the shallow end in an attempt at raising the level.

    4. It’s what Republicans would have come up with a couple decades ago when they were merely somewhat far right-wing instead of batshit insane right-wing

      Lets examine this a bit shall we?

      “..when they were merely somewhat far right-wing”.

      In other words when the left was actually saner and could be counted on to negotiate for merely bad government instead of batshit insane leftwing stoopid government.

      …batshit insane right-wing

      Which translate roughly to we would really prefer killing the strident ones and imprison their followers but we still need someone to blame when all our crazy schemes turn to shit so we had better keep them around.

      God you are just the most useless piece of shit!

      1. He’s a true believer. Absolutely irrational when it comes to Dem/Rep interactions. Really believes Dems represent virtuous govt of, by, and for the people.

        Put another way, he is completely beyond and reasoned exchange.

  8. sarcasmic on government shutdown: BRING IT ON BITCHES!

  9. I would love to see a ‘shut down government’ month or year – non-essential of course. Just to see what would happen.

    It’s okay libby’s the roads will still be there.

    Hey, heard on the radio the EPA carries and packs heats. Anyone can confirm if this is true and why would they need ammo?

    1. Hey, heard on the radio the EPA carries and packs heats. Anyone can confirm if this is true and why would they need ammo?

      It appears to be true, as this story was on Reason a few days ago: Gold miners near Chicken cry foul over ‘heavy-handed’ EPA raids.

  10. The EPA is in fact well armed. They often have to go on private property to investigate alleged violations and even when they have proper authorization to do so, there have been more than a few Joe-Biden-shotgun-get-the-hell-off-my-land incidents. However, they’ve found that when they open carry the citizenry is a little more open to hearing the explanation about who they are and why they are there.

    1. If they didn’t have a warrant they don’t have a right to be there and if they do have a warrant they sure as hell don’t need guns. If someone comes out with a gun they can leave and then call the sheriff. It’s a sure sign we are turning into a third world country when the fucking ‘Environmental Protection Agency’ is carrying guns around to intimidate the citizenry!

      1. And while they’re dilly dallying calling sheriffs, there could be a spotted owl getting its habitat destroyed. Seconds count when it comes to environmental protection.

        Are you willing to take that risk?

  11. Obama: ‘If you don’;t do it my way, you’re not compromising’!
    O-bots: ‘Yes, brother! Tell it’!

    1. If I asked Obama into my heart, will he save my soul?

  12. Why is there a picture of Bill Murray with this article?

    … Hobbit

  13. So, Harsanyi had to hurry up and come up with an article to appease the masses because Suderman screwed up.

    1. Lucy would have never wrote Suderman’s piece.

  14. ?y classmate’s step-sister ?akes $82/h hourly on the internet. She has been out of a job for 6 ?onths but last ?onth her pay was $20983 just working on the internet for a few hours. Read ?ore on this site…

    http://www.Works23.com

  15. Dude sometimes man you jsut have to roll with it.

    http://www.Got-Privacy.com

  16. ..a single party took control of a significant chunk of the American economy and compelled every family and business in the nation to participate without a shred of support from the minority party?

    This is what pure democracy looks like.

  17. I dont see anything wrong with a little anarchy. The collective with its mob rule mentality needs to be scaled back.

  18. We can’t know the future, but we can estimate based on the past. The biggest indicator are economical trends, patterns, and models to help us find our way. Socialism and such for large countries lead to bankruptcy or destitution for wealthy countries. Capitalism leads to prosperity with the occasional back slides due to speculative prosperity.

    The reason libertarians fight the socialist doctrine is based on the reasonable evaluation of these patterns. Logic dictates that we should follow the principals that worked the best in the past – taking into account the evolution of human nature.

    Obamacare is a horrible law, not because of it’s intentions. But because it is modeled on poor assumptions. It assumes that health insurance (not health care) is a right. It assumes that everyone loves social security and medicare. It assumes that young and healthy should feel obligated to help the old and sick. Finally the worst assumption is that prices will simply go down… because we wish them to. These are all emotional assumptions about society as a whole and not based on current human nature which has scattered emotional directions. A good law would have attempted to take the variations on human nature and attempt to direct them towards good – not force a belief on them.

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    1. So your room mate’s ex-wife runs a porno web cam business. I can understand why your room mate dumped that filthy ho.

  20. If every GOP member in Congress showed the kind of spine Cruz did then Obamacare would be dead. Because even if you can’t repeal it, if you refuse to fund it then it will die.
    If you shut down the Federal government for a few months/years then it dies.
    And the average American gets a glimpse at life without a Federal government and realizes that life goes on without it just fine.

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  22. I remember the last time they shut down the government. The trash and bodies piled up in the streets, airplanes fell out of the sky, we lost satellites, the hole in the Ozone layer spread to Mars, and Newt Gingrinch held a public cook out on the Mall where live children were sacrificed to the Koch Brothers.

    The American People know that if we shut down the government it will make the Rwandan Genocide look like a block party.

  23. It’s only worth compromising if you get something in return. This is not being offered here. Like Obama’s “I’ll let you cut taxes by 5% if you let me raise taxes by 8% “compromise.”

  24. my best friend’s sister-in-law makes $74 hourly on the computer. She has been laid off for 5 months but last month her pay was $14134 just working on the computer for a few hours. have a peek at this website….

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