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Friday, October 11, 2013

We must agree to spend

by WLJ

It doesn’t appear any of our political parties are budging on their stance.

This means we could be looking directly at the longest government shutdown in our country’s history. Seventeen years ago, under the Clinton administration, the government shut down for 21 days, costing the U.S. economy an estimated $1.4 billion. Throughout the history of this union, there have been 17 independent government shutdowns. The timing of this shutdown sparks so much emotion and furthers distrust towards the current inefficiency of our federal government.

Democrats are insisting on passing a continuing resolution, which would push the Affordable Care Act—more often known as “ObamaCare”—through fully funded, while Republicans are looking to ease into the program, if ever even accepting it at all. However, it seems that at this point in time, the U.S. economy cannot withstand the economic burden ObamaCare is poised to inflict.

Of all the polls I see, a strong majority of Americans do not want to see ObamaCare become law. The little effects we have seen already have been mostly negative, and most haven’t seen or even understand the 2,400-page bill the Obama Administration and the Democratic party are pushing. Forbes recently came out with the most liberal statistics, saying 29 percent of Americans want to see Congress improve the laws surrounding ObamaCare. That’s still a long ways away from majority.

“The prospect of the government of the world’s largest economy and most powerful country reneging on its loan payments is punishing to advocates of fiscal responsibility,” says Andrew Novakovich, an ag economist at Cornell University.

With 800,000 “non-essential” government employees currently unsure when they’ll resume working, the economic impacts hit quickly.

“It may be easy to stand by while government workers calculate how long they can go without a paycheck,” says Novakovich.

For the rest of us in the working field, we will feel this impact in one way or another. At an estimated $300 million every day the government is shut down, it won’t take long for this to be the most costly government disagreement in history.

But our stubborn party-driven politicians are continuing to stand firm in their positions, refusing to negotiate for the betterment of the U.S. citizens and their economy. Our federal deficit is approaching $1.2 trillion and this shutdown in no way helps curb that spending. Sure, the government is saving money via the wages of the “non-essentials,” but those employees won’t be putting money into the economy while they aren’t being paid either. For Republicans and Democrats to come to an agreement, compromise from both ends is crucial.

These strong convictions—which most Americans view as stubbornness—are another reason why the Farm Bill was not renewed. At the end of this calendar year, the current Farm Bill, with its programs and funding, will be essentially nullified. Like most everything else, the Farm Bill has taken a back seat to the glaring issues surrounding the Affordable Care Act.

Currently, the Farm Bill is the closest bill on the table that has been negotiated. The vast piece of legislation included everything from farming and ranching programs to food stamps. The cumbersomeness of the current bill was one reason why it wasn’t passed before the shutdown took place. Now, Democrats and Republicans are looking at separating agriculture programs and nutritional programs. Making programs smaller would increase the efficacy and time frame at which Congress would pass the bill.

Unfortunately, the timing was extremely unfortunate for those affected in the recent upper Midwest storms when ranchers had nowhere to turn to report losses to government agencies, as the Farm Service Agency is deemed “non-essential” in the eyes of the federal government.

Many of the FDA agencies have also been deemed non-essential. Fortunately, many other USDA programs, including federal meat inspectors, have continued on with their duties as usual. I guess this is one area in which we should consider ourselves grateful.

 

In conclusion, our political parties are taking their stances and have created a nightmare for many Americans. In most cases, a group of people is smarter than one individual, but our government is proving to be the exception. I may be considered by some to be a liberal conservative, so it may be easier for me to state a strong compromise from both sides is going to be the only way to move forward. With the reaching of debt ceiling only days away, it seems that an agreement from both sides is the only way to get back to business as usual. — LOGAN IPSEN

 
 


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