About as trustworthy as the telemarketer who calls you at suppertime!
Try to read these articles before next week, when both Obama and Rohani will be in New York addressing the United Nations. The simplest way to access them is by doing a search in the blog's search box off to the right, on “George Friedman.” Quick links to both articles will appear. (This is material you probably will not find in the newspapers, on TV or elsewhere on the internet.)
Their willingness to use the leverage of crippling the government's operation in order to once again express their opposition to a law passed by both Houses, signed by the President and affirmed by the Supreme Court shows the purely political level on which the G.O.P. operates. Of course, the Senate will not go along with such blackmail nor would the President who has the power of the veto. This tactic will fail, as it will again when then try it once more when raising the debt limit, historically a routine measure, comes to the House floor shortly.
Back in 2008, the Republicans had a campaign slogan, “Country First.” Apparently, so long as the voters chose to put the White House and the Senate in the hands of the Democrats, the G.O.P.'s motto has become “Country Second, Party First.” Each day, they sink to new lows.
Speaker Boehner and Senator Cruz represent differing approaches to the G.O.P.'s mission. Might they be pallbearers at their party's demise in 2016?
Incidentally, the G.O.P.'s budget cutting charade, really no more than an attempt to keep the taxes of many of their rich supporters from increasing, becomes harder and harder to justify as the nation's deficit continues to decrease. Really, there remains little reason for anyone to vote Republican other than to oppose gun control, women's rights, same sex marriage, an increased minimum wage, immigration reform, and of course, health care reform aimed at bringing our country's health care up to the level of other industrialized Western nations.
The most depressing part of this scenario is that mid-term elections, which we are having next year, usually see a resurgence of power on the part of the "outs." This means that the G.O.P (the "outs" in 2014) needs to avoid losing no more than sixteen seats to the Democrats to retain control of the House. Without, a vote-attracting Presidential race on the ballot, that would seem to be an easy task for the Republicans. They might even gain a few seat due to heavily gerrymandered districts. For the same reason, look for G.O.P gains, if not control, in the Senate as well.
Much of this political turmoil focuses on the Affordable Care Act, as its provisions gradually go into effect, despite continued harassment by Republicans even after the Act was passed by both Houses of Congress, signed by the President and affirmed by the Supreme Court. States dominated by Republicans are also attempting to impede the Act's operation. There is a perception out there that the ACA is unpopular with the American people. To the contrary, it most certainly is popular among those who are able to keep their dependent children (especially if they are unemployed) on their policies to age 26 and among those who would otherwise be denied coverage because of pre-existing conditions or who reach a lifetime cap on their benefits.
This supposed "unpopularity" stems from the fact that most Americans do have some form of personal or employer-based health insurance. Individuals and employers are reluctant to latch on to something new, despite the fact that it will enable thirty million presently uninsured Americans to be insured, motivated to some extent by the possibility of tax penalties if they do not. Also, some employers object to the Act's making them responsible for offering health insurance to employees in situations where they had not been required to do so up to now. These steps will relieve hospital emergency rooms of the unfair task of transferring the cost of treating those without insurance into increases in what they charge those with insurance.
There also is a fear that the government will meddle with the type of care available to insureds, a fear that also extends to Medicare recipients (Medicare and the Affordable Care Act are two separate and distinct programs.) Right now, today, private insurers and HMOs are already delineating what they will and will not pay for, and insurance obtained from private insurers regulated under the Affordable Care Act will also reflect this. But this tightening of benefits, already taking place, wrongly feeds the public misconception, and that of some doctors and other health care providers, that it is the fault of Obamacare, and contributes to its unwarranted lack of popularity. Republicans in Congress are not reluctant to use such misconceptions as a political tool to get votes.
The Affordable Care Act is good medicine for the country and for the insurance industry and deserves the support of Americans. Too many, ignoring those without insurance today, do not agree with this and like things just the way they are today, blind to the fact that the United States is creeping downward each year in comparison to other nations according to the yardsticks used in measuring health care.
I predict a very depressing, if not disastrous, two years of Congressional misbehavior, including continued attacks on the Affordable Care Act, until the next Presidential election in 2016 at which time the G.O.P. (unless it abandons its tea party orientation) will be swept from both houses of Congress and of course, not come anywhere near the White House. When Americans come out to vote, they do what they have to do, but unfortunately, that won't happen in 2014.