By Phil Kadner firstname.lastname@example.org October 4, 2013 5:06PM
Updated: October 4, 2013 5:52PM
Wow, some people sure hate Barack Obama. Their dislike is so great they are willing to bring the country to the brink of economic collapse to prove he’s wrong and they are right.
Maybe it’s just the old Republicans vs. Democrats thing, conservatives against liberals.
Political disputes can be petty, personal and nasty, going all the way back to Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson.
But this feels different.
Yes, there was a government shutdown in 1995, but the United States wasn’t trying to dig its way out of a Great Recession. Working people weren’t reeling from unemployment, home foreclosures and the daily threat of terrorist attack.
To push a political standoff to the point of no return during the current economic recovery seems reckless, almost suicidal.
This current crisis is over the Affordable Care Act, many of the Republicans and their supporters say, ignoring the fact that national health care was a key issue in both of Obama’s presidential campaigns.
The Affordable Care Act is a confusing, bureaucratic mess of a health care plan, no doubt about that. But it’s not like anyone in Washington was pushing for a single-payer health care system, similar to the ones in every other industrialized country in the world.
That might have upset the private health insurance companies and the prescription drug firms that have always opposed true national health-care reform.
I keep waiting for U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk to say something about this standoff over health care that would put it in perspective. The Republican from Illinois suffered a serious stroke, underwent brain surgery, extensive rehabilitaiton and was lucky enough to recover.
His colleagues, even the Republicans who oppose Obamacare, applauded as he walked up the steps of the Capitol Building and returned to his job.
Doesn’t every American deserve Kirkcare?
Some members of Congress apparently believe the answer is “No.”
“We can never insure one-hundred percent of the population against one-hundred percent of the hazards and vicissitudes of life. But we have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family. . . . This law, too, represents a cornerstone in a structure which is being built, but is by no means complete.”
That wasn’t Obama speaking about health care but President Franklin Roosevelt talking about Social Security.
Roosevelt signed that law in 1935, and heated arguments have been going on about its merits for more than 75 years.
So it’s unlikely that the debate over national health care will end in our lifetimes, let alone in the next few weeks or months.
Some of Obama’s critics say this is about financial prudence.
I don’t know where these voices of reason were when Wall Street brokerage houses and the banking industry were making billions of dollars while driving the country off a financial cliff.
The billions of taxpayer dollars spent to bail out those private enterprises might have been used to shore up the federal budget, or finance national health care, but they’re gone.
No one can say with certainty what’s going to happen now. It doesn’t seem to worry the people responsible.
Manufacturing a crisis is apparently good politics, even if it jeopardizes the health of the nation.