Is the Government Shutdown a Game for the Two Parties?

By Roger Caldwell
“I’m thoroughly disgusted with our politicians. This country was built on compromise and we have a Republican and a Democratic party in power and we expect them to do the job that we sent them to do. And as I see it right now, they’re acting like a bunch of three year old children. It’s who can hold their breath the longest,” says Ken Griffith, a tourist from Kentucky.

As I write this article, the shutdown has lasted five days and it appears that President Obama, and the Democratic Party is playing hardball, and they want a clean continuing resolution with no negotiations. Experts say the president’s position may be justified, but he and the Democrats are playing a risky game. The president says he is willing to talk with the Republican lawmakers about adjustments to the health care law and other issues, but only after they re-open the government.

“I’m happy to negotiate with you on anything. I don’t think any one party has a monopoly on wisdom. But you don’t negotiate by putting a gun to the other person’s head,” says Obama. President Obama may not like the way the Republicans are negotiating, but the fundamental principle of politics is compromise. You may not like the other person but in order to get something done you must make concessions.

The Republicans have put a gun up to Obama’s and Reid’s heads and now they are playing chicken. In this standoff no one is going to win and in 12 days there is another standoff with the debt ceiling. President Obama can remain tough and refuse to negotiate and force a government default or talk and compromise. In the latest cover of the British newsmagazine the Economist has the headline, “No way to run a country.”

The government shutdown is a national disgrace and an international embarrassment. The longer the shutdown continues the economy deteriorates and there is a domino effect. The 800,000 federal workers who are furloughed force major government contractors to lay off many of their employees and more Americans are not in a position to pay their bills.

If the Republicans decide to really get crazy and refuse to raise the debt limit, than the country runs out of money, the first time in its history. This would create an economic catastrophe that would be worst then the depression of 1929. By refusing to raise the debt limit not only will the country not be able to pay its bills, but the international markets would be decimated with unprecedented mayhem.

For three years since the Republicans took control of the House, President Obama has negotiated and talked to House Speaker Boehner. There have been 17 government shutdowns since 1976 and the president has always negotiated and worked the issues out. President Obama must agree to negotiate and not turn this government shutdown into a non-compromising battle where no one wins.

Both parties must back down from their standoff and begin to talk to each other, because either side wants a government default, which could be disastrous for the economy and the world. Even though there are two parties and our government is divided, there is only one United States of America. It is time for our lawmakers to do their job, respect each other, and operate as mature professionals.

There are dire consequences in the country and the world if the two parties are not willing to resolve their differences. President Obama and our lawmakers are some of the most intelligent people on the planet and I am sure this week they will get the government re-opened, and raise the debt ceiling.

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