Gov't Shutdown

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JustAName
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Gov't Shutdown

Postby JustAName » 01 Oct 2013, 18:08

We normally have threads about events big and small. I perceive this event to be pretty big. There are also some things on which I am unclear, and I trust you guys to present me with pretty good information. So.

How can a minority of lawmakers in one branch shut down the entire government? Why can't the rest of that branch go on without them if they're going to be such brats? Why can't we fire them? What is up with all of this?

Thanks, and if we are going to have discussion about this, please keep it civil.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Lurkon » 01 Oct 2013, 18:15

Fayili wrote:We normally have threads about events big and small. I perceive this event to be pretty big. There are also some things on which I am unclear, and I trust you guys to present me with pretty good information. So.

How can a minority of lawmakers in one branch shut down the entire government? Why can't the rest of that branch go on without them if they're going to be such brats? Why can't we fire them? What is up with all of this?

Thanks, and if we are going to have discussion about this, please keep it civil.

Well, when the "minority", which I believe to be a portion of the majority Republican congress, though I could be wrong, is enough to prevent a vote getting through, they can stop the budget from passing. Which is, as far as I'm concerned, their PRIMARY JOB.

They're doing it for various reasons, not the least of which is that it'll get them re-elected. Hence why we can't fire them. To "fire" them, we'd have to drastically change the areas of the country that elected them in the first place. Or the Party to which they belonged would have to not nominate them for re-election...
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby DmitriW » 01 Oct 2013, 18:20

I am not a lawyer, nor do I have more than a fairly rudimentary education in the ways of lawyer...ing. This post represents my best understanding of the situation at hand.

The legislative branch was designed to be able to grind the process of law creation to a screeching halt -- to prevent a single ruler or bloc from being able to make sweeping changes unilaterally. Given that the people who designed the system were trying to get far, far away from a monarchy, it makes sense. That power has been used many, many times over the course of my life.

The issue in this case is that the law in question involves the budget. If the government doesn't have any spending allocated, it can't use any money. "Non-essential" services, offices, and departments are being shut down until a budget is resolved as a result.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby AdmiralMemo » 01 Oct 2013, 19:18

Both sides are to blame, since neither wants to move an inch, though it can be argued one way or another which gets assigned "more" blame in this.

The one thing I really don't get is that if only "non-essential" services are being furloughed, then why is 93% of the EPA on furlough? If 93% of the EPA is "non-essential" then why do we have those people? What are they doing? Can't we get rid of 1/2 to 3/4 of them at least?

Also, apparently, the teachers at the military academies are also considered "non-essential" so I guess that shows the value of education in the government's eyes.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Lord Hosk » 01 Oct 2013, 19:27

To be clear the reason that the small minority of "brats" can do this is because they are representatives of people with large piles of cash.

The people with large piles of cash, which most people call corporations, are in favor of anything that will grind the government to a halt because the current governmental situation is stretched just about as far as it can go and there is going to be a regulations crack back very soon. The goal of the people in power, which isnt congress, is to push that crack back off for as long as they can, hopefully until they retire and the next group of executives can deal with angry stock holders.

The small group of congressmen and congresswomen speak with the voice of the corporations, the rest of the congresspersons need the money those corporations offer because elections took place over 9 months ago which means they are headed back out onto the lucrative and lavish campaign trail again, who buys limos, fancy dinners, jets and hotel suites? Corporations.

Both Parties are to blame because they are letting themselves be clearly manipulated. I doubt it will happen this election cycle(2014) its possible but unlikely, but I have hope for some sort of up swell in 2016.

This has nothing to do with the budget or the health care law, it has everything to do with nothing happening.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby empath » 01 Oct 2013, 20:06

...except despite all these efforts to keep control out of a single person's hands, they've still managed to drift into what is an oligarchy in all but name; power to deny the populace this right or that service or something else is staggeringly easy for just a few to take.

Despite all its struggles toward democracy, America is just about the only BIpartisan country I can think of; while it has had a multitude of political parties in the past, it has gravitated to a situation of just two (supposedly) diametrically opposed parties hoarding the vast bulk of power and control in the legislative (and executive) branches. How many elected member of congress are there right now that are NOT either Democrats or Republicans?
2 out of 100 senators, and 0 out of 435 Representatives.

Look, I know the recent Australian elections made multipartisanism look almost absurd, but HOW MANY TIMES HAS THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT BEEN SHUT DOWN because the elected officials WOULD NOT COMPROMISE TO CLEAR A OPERATING BUDGET?

That's because there is not this 'us or them' binary frame of mind in Australia the way there is in the US - when there's only two sides, it's almost natural for people to become diametrically opposed and unwilling to concede ANYTHING to 'the other side'.

This adversarial system is blatantly unhealthy for a government; there's been plenty of 'near misses' in the past few generations where one side or the other simply - and I have to be blunt, here - threw a childish tantrum and pouted until it got its way.

And you just don't see this sort of thing elsewhere, because the members of this government or that government aren't in a rigid, binary "you're either with me or against me"...gestalt? There's an actual appreciation for 'the other side', a willingness (usually) to discuss, reason and compromise.

Not so in the U.S. Congress - the red and the blue are unyielding; they don't even see their 'enemies' as real people: the dems demonize the G.O.P. as pennypinching puppets of corporations and the czars of finance and industry, who have only one goal - under the guise of 'economical government' to paralyse and dissolve federal services and let them all be privatized by their monied patrons...while the Republicans look upon THEIR adversaries as wastrel ivory-tower pipe dreamers who aim to turn the entire nation into unionized public employees who work six hours a week and drive the government's fiscal standing into the earth's core with a list of paid benefits that would make the court of Louis XIV look frugal.

So tell me how two groups like this can ever reconcile?


But this state of affairs can't go on; this latest juvenile spat is just another step in a very unsettling road; the 'governmental culture' is going to HAVE to change, or this bickering will literally destroy the Union.

Either the people are going to finally become so disaffected by their 'only options' that they themselves found a (or maybe several) new political parties that break this poisonous deadlock, or it will eventually come to the point that enough of the member States call for a Constitutional Convention...that might bring about a radical Amendment, changing the political playing field...

...but then, "everything man-made breaks...including promises."
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Dominic Appleguard » 01 Oct 2013, 20:13

EDIT: Ah, fuck it. I'm just angry enough about this issue without arguing about it on the internet.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Lord Hosk » 01 Oct 2013, 20:27

First past the post + Electoral College + essentially unregulated campaign funding + silly primary system = two parties of polar opposites.

Congress making its own rules = changes that protect the incumbent system.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Kapol » 01 Oct 2013, 20:28

empath wrote:*snip*


Here's the problem. I know very little about political workings, and I was able to realize what you just said by the time I was still in high-school (or earlier, I can't even remember). It's blatently obvious I feel that this is the problem. Yet, choosing a 'side' is easier. It's a binary option. You don't have to think. You choose which flavor suits you more. You vote for them 100% of the time. Teach your children to follow that group. That's how these two parties can hold power forever. They make it a simple choice that parents pass down to their children.

That's why the Republicans can get away with holding the financial situation hostage in order to try getting their way. They know that they won't lose power. For reasons like those I just mentioned, gerrymandering, and every other trick that they're willing to pull to get their way.

It's not just the Republicans mind you. But they're getting to be the best at manipulation it seems like. I'm not a huge fan of either party. but the issue is that the solution, the introduction of more parties into the system to make things less binary, isn't going to happen. Not for a long while, if in my lifetime at all.

And one thing I do want to make clear: I'm not making myself out to be any better in any of this. I'm fairly uneducated on many of these matters myself.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby AlexanderDitto » 01 Oct 2013, 21:25

AdmiralMemo wrote:The one thing I really don't get is that if only "non-essential" services are being furloughed, then why is 93% of the EPA on furlough? If 93% of the EPA is "non-essential" then why do we have those people? What are they doing? Can't we get rid of 1/2 to 3/4 of them at least?


The EPA is non-essential because if the EPA stops showing up to work, nobody immediately dies.

Work piles up. Applications for new building permits will pile up on a desk somewhere. Inspections for water treatment and manufacturing waste disposal will stop. Oversight of new pesticides and new landfills will cease. Requests for cleanups of illegal dumpings will go in a queue somewhere and start to build up.

And, like NASA, the EPA does a lot of research. Research into climate and weather patterns in the US, into changes in the US aquifers, into pesticide releases into the ocean, into waste management and biodegredation... they're all "non-essential" in the same way that NASA's research is non-essential.

Only idiotic radical conservatives think the EPA can be cut, just like idiotic radical conservatives think NASA and the NIH and the CDC and the NSF can be cut.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby empath » 01 Oct 2013, 21:42

Kapol wrote:And one thing I do want to make clear: I'm not making myself out to be any better in any of this. I'm fairly uneducated on many of these matters myself.

You're hardly alone in that - if we really knew everything we needed just on this issue, I doubt we'd be grumbling about it here. ;)

But I'd like to think that you're at least AWARE of your limitations, which in itself makes you all the wiser; knowing you are ignorant (or that your understanding of something is incomplete) makes it POSSIBLE for you to learn. :D


But anyway yeah, change will come...on its own terms and in its own time.

...I will say that I'd held out a vain hope that the whole Occupy movement might have catalysed something, though. Guess I'm not as jaded & cynical as I thought. :|
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Tycherin » 01 Oct 2013, 22:38

You know my favorite part of this whole fiasco? We're due to hit the debt ceiling on October 17th, if memory serves, which means that this shutdown is liable to bleed straight into another deadlock with nationwide consequences. Yeah, great job team!

empath wrote:...I will say that I'd held out a vain hope that the whole Occupy movement might have catalysed something, though. Guess I'm not as jaded & cynical as I thought. :|

I hoped for this so hard - it would have been great to have the Tea Party as the radical right and the Occupy movement as the radical left for the sake of balance, but alas, no soap.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Metcarfre » 01 Oct 2013, 22:44

empath wrote:Look, I know the recent Australian elections made multipartisanism look almost absurd, but HOW MANY TIMES HAS THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT BEEN SHUT DOWN because the elected officials WOULD NOT COMPROMISE TO CLEAR A OPERATING BUDGET?

Once, but then the representative of the Queen fired them, as reddit was wont to remind me today.

Kapol wrote:That's why the Republicans can get away with holding the financial situation hostage in order to try getting their way. They know that they won't lose power. For reasons like those I just mentioned, gerrymandering, and every other trick that they're willing to pull to get their way.


Republicans hold the power of gerrymandering as they control most state senates (which control redistricting), true, but as with the government shutdowns of the mid-nineties this action will likely damage them in the short term (next election cycle).

As I mentioned elsewhere today, the shutdown is affecting not just the US - I sent an email out to my students and coworkers to download whatever papers they may need for reading/lit review ASAP as PubMed, a massive resource to researchers the world over, may be temporarily shut down.

I was reading an /r/askscience thread and apparently the shutdown, even a few days, could have massive consequences for many research programs in the US and elsewhere as many grant funding bodies are shuttered. Research programs could be out of funds for up to a year due to the paperwork and deadlines involved, incuding things like clinical trials.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Elomin Sha » 01 Oct 2013, 23:08

Wait until October 17th when the debt ceiling issue returns.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Timelady » 02 Oct 2013, 13:02

AmazingPjotrMan wrote:Bacon is not a chronological entity.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby gcninja » 02 Oct 2013, 14:02

This shit really irks me. It was close to happening a year or so ago when I lived at Grand Canyon and now that I moved out it has. Now both my parents are out of work because whiny group A can't agree with whiny group B and now THEY still get paid while everybody (most everybody save for skeleton crews) sits on their hands and bills are probably piling up for them. I know of a friend whos father isn't getting paid for work already done because of this and needs the money for mortgage and this whole spiel makes me wish we could borrow canadas law about booting them and re-electing a new group. Would make me feel a LITTLE better.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Lord Hosk » 02 Oct 2013, 14:28

I would like to proposes a vote of no confidence, elections will be on the first Tuesday after the first Monday of next month. political parties, GO!
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby empath » 02 Oct 2013, 15:33

Richard M. Nixon, leader of the Stone Dead Party, checking in!
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby JackSlack » 02 Oct 2013, 15:40

AdmiralMemo wrote:Both sides are to blame, since neither wants to move an inch, though it can be argued one way or another which gets assigned "more" blame in this.


I want to just say: This is false. The Democrats previously agreed to fund the government at sequester levels. They had caved. They didn't ask for one extra thing, just as it had previously been agreed on.

This was entirely on the Republicans. They pushed to defund Obamacare. And that was a bridge too far for the Democrats.

The one thing I really don't get is that if only "non-essential" services are being furloughed, then why is 93% of the EPA on furlough? If 93% of the EPA is "non-essential" then why do we have those people? What are they doing? Can't we get rid of 1/2 to 3/4 of them at least?


You're looking at this the wrong way. What is considered essential? Why is it that NASA is considered non-essential, but the Dept. of Veterans Administration isn't?

Now ask: Where are Republican sympathies more likely to land?
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby 2stepz » 02 Oct 2013, 16:39

... because NASA doesn't contribute directly to funding the health and welfare of our elders? If NASA goes down for a week, nobody's going to die. If the VA does, there will be deaths as a direct result.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Lord Hosk » 02 Oct 2013, 17:03

JackSlack wrote:
You're looking at this the wrong way. What is considered essential? Why is it that NASA is considered non-essential, but the Dept. of Veterans Administration isn't?

Now ask: Where are Republican sympathies more likely to land?


The Va is responsible for, Pensions, Disability payments, Health insurance, Health and Dental care, Disability assistance, Burial, medical research, educational benefits, and job training.

Its the second largest branch of the US government.

Educational benefits, job training, medical research, as well as new pension and disability claims have all been "shut down" not that the last two were at all healthy and productive anyways.

NASA is responsible for research and exploration. while those are vital to the progress of our society, as 2stepz said, no one dies this week without out them.

JackSlack wrote:I want to just say: This is false. The Democrats previously agreed to fund the government at sequester levels. They had caved. They didn't ask for one extra thing, just as it had previously been agreed on.

This was entirely on the Republicans. They pushed to defund Obamacare. And that was a bridge too far for the Democrats.


The Republicans are responsible for the exact failure of Government that has caused this shut down yes, the failure to pass appropriate funding, however both parties are responsible for the toxic and disengaged mentality that the government has, there is a much broader state of decay that the current failure displays. Much like a reddened pustule is a indication of a deep infection, but the surface blemish isnt the issue, the infection is.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby JackSlack » 02 Oct 2013, 17:36

Lord Hosk wrote:The Republicans are responsible for the exact failure of Government that has caused this shut down yes, the failure to pass appropriate funding, however both parties are responsible for the toxic and disengaged mentality that the government has, there is a much broader state of decay that the current failure displays. Much like a reddened pustule is a indication of a deep infection, but the surface blemish isn't the issue, the infection is.


OK, but ... seriously, the Democrats agreed to the Republican's demands on budget levels. The House and the Senate both passed budget resolutions months ago. The only thing holding this up is that Paul Ryan and co. have refused to hold talks with the senate to negotiate the numbers. They are doing this expressly to gain support for their demands. They are the ones who've flatly stated they're willing to shut down the government as a method of gaining leverage. When asked for compromise, they responded not by being prepared to concede anything, but simply for asking for fewer attacks on Democrat programs.

How on earth are the Democrats to blame? Seriously, from the outside, this looks 100% on the Republicans.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Lord Hosk » 02 Oct 2013, 17:57

As I said, this is a symptom of the toxic environment in the federal government. There is no doubt that the extreme flank of the republican party known as the tea party forced this shut down as was requested by their corporate backers, my point is that this is not the first sign of "I dont care if I dont win as long as the other guy loses" that occurred.

On average from 1990 to 2010 congress would vote on 800-1000 pieces of legislation passing 40-55% of those voted on.

in 2013 they have voted on 104 thus far, 10 months into the year. That is not Just a Republican issue that is a complete break down of the system.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Tycherin » 02 Oct 2013, 21:21

@Lord Hosk: Agreed, though I'd amend that by saying that we're somewhat to blame given that we're the ones who elected these people into power. If there's a failure in the system, it probably starts with a failure of the general populace to make informed decisions that are in their long-term best interest. But hey, what else is new.
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Re: Gov't Shutdown

Postby Metcarfre » 02 Oct 2013, 21:33

Lord Hosk wrote:On average from 1990 to 2010 congress would vote on 800-1000 pieces of legislation passing 40-55% of those voted on.

in 2013 they have voted on 104 thus far, 10 months into the year. That is not Just a Republican issue that is a complete break down of the system.

How odd that it just so happens that this breakdown happens when one particular party gains control of one portion of the legislative branch.
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