The real contempt for the democratic process
October 12, 2013
When I read the Oct. 5 editorial in The Union heading, "Shutdown shows contempt for the democratic process," I was encouraged that The Union editorial board was finally getting it right.
After all, when there is an impasse between the two branches of congress, the democratic process requires the two sides to sit down and negotiate a solution to the differences. Negotiation has been repeatedly offered by the Republicans but imperiously ruled out by the Democrats and Obama. That is the definition of contempt. So much for the democratic process, as your heading correctly stated.
So, what are the issues actually in dispute in Washington? Your editorial, and sadly, most media reports, incorrectly state that the Republicans want to kill Obamacare. Not true. One of the few actual issues is whether both congressional and administration staffs in Washington should be given subsidized (maybe free) health care.
These subsidies were never in the Obamacare bill that was "passed" by congress. Yet, Obama made a unilateral and dictatorial decree to grant subsidies to these Washington staffers, all of whom earn too much salary to qualify for subsidies under Obamacare. The Republicans want to actually go back to the original law on this point and eliminate the subsidies to these staffers. Here again, the contempt was shown by Obama's unilateral actions.
Another issue is repeal of the medical device tax. This tax has and will cost the U.S. many high-paid jobs as medical device manufacturers have been forced to move their operations overseas. Repeal of this tax has widespread support from both sides of the aisle.
Yet Harry Reid and Obama refuse to consider discussing this point. They also refuse to fund cancer research and other important government functions incrementally as has been offered by the Republicans. More Democratic contempt for the public.
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The Republicans want to delay the individual mandate for Obamacare by one year. Not defund it, not stop the enrollment on the exchanges, only delay the obligation (mandate) to purchase the insurance for individuals. After all, Obama granted a one-year delay to employers, again unilaterally and imperiously — some would correctly say with contempt for the democratic process.
The exchanges are imploding, they need much more time to work out the bugs and kinks, so one would think Obama would jump at the opportunity to delay this mandate while keeping the exchanges open for those who are able to successfully navigate the badly written enrollment software. But again, contempt is the name of the game Obama plays. That is not even to mention the many ways Obama is selectively cutting funds under the government slowdown with the political objective of imposing maximum public pain, as in denying the World War II vets access to an open-air memorial. Contempt in the extreme for these war heroes and also for other members of the public.
But the real issue is whether our elected officials can devise a plan to reduce spending to limit the country's crushing debt burden. Every responsible family knows that when all their credit cards are at the limit, a plan to reduce family spending must be adopted before a new credit card is taken out. To not do so is economic suicide.
The Democrats and Obama are insisting on taking the economic suicide route for our country, refusing to discuss any plans to bring the country's fiscal house in order. Again, showing contempt for the democratic process.
The ludicrous statement in The Union editorial that "this isn't a stance based on any political philosophy" is an insult to your readers. The editorial board purportedly is comprised of "informed members of the community." Your simplistic, politically motivated, misleading and bombastic editorial puts the lie to both of these statements. Our community deserves more insightful and educated commentary from our media.
Bob Hren is a resident of Nevada County.
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