Happy Shutdown Day!

Congressional Republicans really wanted a budget passed (it’s been, what, five or six years without that Constitutional necessity?), but unfortunately the last few years have given Congressional Democrats the impression that the Republicans will always back down and give Democrats what they want, if they make enough fuss. So the Democrats threatened shutdown… and this time, the Republicans didn’t back down.

So the Democrats have their shutdown that they didn’t want. And most of us aren’t missing the government much, anymore than we did back in Clinton’s administration or Carter’s. Heh!

The important lesson is that life goes on, the Dow-Jones average is unaffected, and the sky doesn’t fall.

I do feel for the uncertainty that government workers must be suffering: first the sequester, and now this.

But seeing as I don’t have a job at all, and yet I’m managing okayish, I’m pretty sure that they’ll be able to handle a few days of Congressional hemming and hawing. Just like back in Clinton’s administration, and Carter’s, and all the other times that the government shut down when no budget was passed.


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18 responses to “Happy Shutdown Day!

  1. The Democrats are unfortunately always more stubborn than Republicans. The Republicans will likely comprise in some big way to get the government going again in the near future. It’s too bad the Democrats are almost never willing to comprise on their stances.

  2. If it goes on for more than a week, unemployment is an option.

    And there’s always the chance of backpay, too.

    Still, glad I flipped out last time and made sure to squirrel away a month’s expenses.

  3. Alan T

    First of all, I’m sorry to hear you don’t have a job. Hope you find something soon!

    On the subject of the government shutdown, I must respectfully disagree. As you know, the government is shutting down because the Republicans wish to delay the Affordable Care Act, which they do not have the votes to repeal.

    The Affordable Care Act will be tremendously important to my family. The policy we’re getting through the ACA will save us $12,422 through lower insurance premiums alone. The additional amount we will save will depend on how much medical care we will need in 2014. Our current policy has a $5,000 per-person deductible and a $25,000 per person maximum out-of-pocket. That’s what happens when you’re self-employed (or your employer doesn’t provide health insurance or you are unemployed) and your family has a poor medical history.

    The year my wife Alta had ovarian cancer, we had over $48,000 in medical expenses that our insurance did not pay for. But we felt lucky and grateful to have insurance. Without it, we would have owed more than $250,000. If we have another horrible year like that in 2014, we will save about $40,000 through better insurance coverage.

    The fact that the Affordable Care Act benefits my family does not imply that it is good public policy. But it is hard for me to see why making it possible for millions of people to get affordable health insurance is a bad idea.

    While I have your attention, I’d like to thank you for your post explaining the Pope’s statement that atheists may be saved through Christ. As an agnostic, the Pope’s statement is of great interest to me. I had made a mental note to ask you about it if I saw you at OVFF.

    And did you see that Mary Vojtko’s tragic death made the front page of Yahoo news? See http://news.yahoo.com/adjunct-professor-death-190047241.html.

  4. But it is hard for me to see why making it possible for millions of people to get affordable health insurance is a bad idea.

    Because it’s not insurance if it covers what already happened, and it’s redistribution.

    Forcing everyone to buy specific coverage, with no attention paid to if they can even USE It, means that my cancer survivor mother is subsidizing the birth control of the college kid down the block… as is the cost of my three-year-old. Neither of them can become pregnant (no uterus in one case, not sexually mature in the other) but they are forced to buy the “women’s healthcare” coverage. My folks’ insurance costs, because of Obamacare, have increased to the point that my mom’s entire pay check is eaten by them. That’s with a large deductible.

    Rather than trying to force people to offer “insurance” after there’s a problem– and break the entire system while they’re at it– it would have been cheaper and easier to directly subsidize the care of those who are genuinely uninsurable.

    Shorter form: false premise; no matter what the goal is, Obamacare does not mean “making it possible for millions of people to get affordable health insurance.” In fact, it makes it impossible for many to get affordable health insurance.

    • Alan T


      Thank you for your thought-provoking comments.

      Re “redistribution”: See my (patoadam’s) comment at http://lemmozine.livejournal.com/163295.html.

      You wrote: Rather than trying to force people to offer “insurance” after there’s a problem– and break the entire system while they’re at it

      You also wrote: My [uterine] cancer survivor mother is… forced to buy the “women’s healthcare”

      I think you are saying that insuring people who have pre-existing conditions drives up insurance premiums for healthy people, and that coverage for services your mother won’t use, such as obstetrics, drives up her insurance premiums.

      Yes. Precisely. What makes health insurance possible is that the healthy subsidize the sick. I like health insurance because it reduces everyone’s risk, so to me this is a feature, not a bug.

      I hope your folks will be able to reduce their medical costs through Obamacare.

  5. In a nutshell: Obamacare is a mess because it’s addressing the wrong problem. The problem is not that some people can’t afford health insurance; the problem is that some people cannot afford health care.

    • Indeed, and one solution to the high cost of health care would be removing the federal limits on how many people can go to medical school.

      • Alan T


        I told myself that I wouldn’t reply to your post. I appreciate that a range of opinions are encouraged here, and I didn’t want to test anybody’s patience.

        But I should say that after thinking about your comments, I find that I largely agree with you and Bob the Ape. In order for people to be able to afford health care, it is not enough that the healthy subsidize the sick. Because health care is expensive, the rich must also subsidize the non-rich. This happens in one way or another and to varying degrees in Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, and employer-sponsored health insurance. One reason that the market for private non-employer-sponsored health insurance has not worked well is that the rich do not subsidize the non-rich in this market, and won’t begin to do so until January 1, 2014.


      • Forcibly taking money from people is not a free market.

        Nor is what we have right now a “free market”– and your solution is to double-down on what caused the problems.

  6. So Alan, Foxfier, I see you’ve met each other…. (Man, step away from the comments for one day, and excitement happens.) 🙂

    Foxfier, Alan’s one of my filking friends from out east, so I pretty much only see him once a year at OVFF. He’s a pretty good songwriter but his job is computers. As you can tell, he’s got that old school Usenet argument training!

    Alan, Foxfier’s fannish from out west, used to be in the Navy, married a guy she met in the Navy, and now they have kidlets. As you can tell, she’s got that new school Internet argument training!

    You two look like you’re having fun, so I’ll let you keep going at it. Anybody else who wants to jump in, feel free; just don’t mess up the pool decor!

    • *shrug* I’ve said what I need to– he’s made it clear he’s fine with forcible redistribution, I’ve made it clear that I’m not fine with it being given polite-company names.

      My folks are going broke. My sister is losing her health insurance– and having her hours cut. It’s possible her son will lose his insurance, too. I’ve got disabled military friends who are losing their military medical benefits as part of the horse deals, and my medicare friends and family are losing benefits and having trouble finding doctors who will work for less than the material costs involved. My sister-in-law is expecting a baby, and I just hope she’s still go her private insurance.

      But none of that is relevant to the fact that it’s not insurance if you’re forced to buy into a pool that cannot ever apply to you, nor is it insurance when you already suffer from what you wish to buy insurance against.
      The Feds made a huge mess, and wish to “clean it up” by taking even more control– and when that crashes, they’ll probably say “let’s do it again!”

      • Alan T,

        You may think you’re agreeing with me, but you’re not, and I’m certainly not agreeing with you. All the talk about health insurance – all of it – is a distraction from the basic issue, which is what can be done to help those who are genuinely too poor to afford needed medical treatment. This is a problem best addressed outside the box of health insurance, especially the distorted and perverted system which we have today.

        Forcing the rich to subsidize the non-rich for any reason is always wrong and imprudent. For starters, it takes the virtue out of charity. If Tom sees his poor neighbor Dick in need and helps him out, then all’s right with the world: Tom makes the sacrifice of his own free will and deserves merit in Heaven and Dick’s gratitude on Earth. But if Harry decides that Tom isn’t doing enough and holds a gun to Tom’s head to make him help Dick, then Tom deserves nothing because he didn’t give voluntarily, but neither does Harry, because he sacrificed nothing. Dick’s gratitude will be misdirected to Harry instead of to Tom, even though Tom made the sacrifice. Furthermore, Tom’s dignity suffers because his autonomy is infringed upon, and because he is merely being treated as a means to an end.

        And then, inevitably, fallen human nature enters the picture. Tom, perpetually browbeaten by Harry and ignored by Dick, will grow to detest them both, and in fact the very concept of charity.

        Harry, realizing that the more he browbeats Tom, the more he will gain the applause of the world, will continually increase his exactions. Looking in his mirror and seeing what a fine fellow he is, he will think he deserves some recompense for the time and effort he’s putting in – after all, guns are expensive – and will start skimming to get a better car (because it would be terrible if the help didn’t get there in time!), and a secretary to make sure he doesn’t lose track of all the money, and a new overcoat lest he catch a cold and have to spend a week in bed instead of being out there helping Dick, and so on.

        Dick, finding that all he needs to get through life is to go to Harry every so often and ask for more, will grow to think that he’s entitled to all he can get. He will see any complaint by Tom as the start of a move to take away what is rightfully his. He will be encouraged in this by Harry, who will loudly and publicly accuse Tom of callous greed and selfishness.

        And the members of Harry’s fan club, who don’t do anything but sit in the bleachers cheering Harry and booing Tom, will congratulate each other on their public-spiritedness and virtue because, after all, they’re on Harry’s side.

        You want to help the poor? Become a doctor and open a clinic. If your talents don’t lie that way, find a doctor who’s running a clinic and help him, even if it’s nothing more than sending him a little bit – out of your own pocket – every month to help cover expenses. Help pay the tuition of a medical student so the doctor can have an apprentice who may someday open another clinic.

        Do what you can do and don’t worry about what your neighbor may or may not be doing; he may be doing a lot and just not talking about it; and anyway, it’s not your business.

        It’s not the Federal government’s business either.

    • Alan T


      Thank you for not objecting to our argument. My political opinions seem so obvious and sensible to me and to most of my friends that I often lack the imagination to understand why someone might disagree with them. Hearing from Foxfier has helped me with that and has also helped me to clarify my understanding of the issue.

      • That’s what arguments are supposed to be for — primarily, trying to convince each other; but secondarily, understanding each other’s definitions, principles, and objections; and thirdly, understanding one’s own position and principles better and correcting to fit. We’re supposed to be an argumentative society, yet people don’t really argue as much as they used to. There’s a tendency just to recite various belligerent slogans — and only to the likeminded. That’s a great danger to democracy — the sort of thing our Founding Fathers classified under “demagoguery” and “factions.”

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