New Castle News

October 17, 2013

Our Opinion: Congress votes to keep government going, but problems persist

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — A few thoughts about Wednesday’s votes in Congress to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling:

•If you think this is a real resolution, think again. Despite weeks of posturing, agonizing and rending of garments, all Congress did Wednesday was kick the can down the road.

Yes, government employees can return to work and the United States of America will not go into default. But the legislation approved by the House and Senate is essentially a stopgap measure, designed to temporarily plug a few fiscal holes so the factions can fight some more.

In other words, people who enjoyed these last few weeks of nonsense from Washington can look forward to more of the same in January.

•Inevitably when these political battles erupt, there are assorted declarations of winners and losers.

The big losers, as we see it, are the American people, who have failed so far to demand better of their representatives in Washington.

We understand that divided, highly partisan government is often a consequence of gerrymandering. This produces many districts where lawmakers can take unyielding positions to the bitter end. But at some point, average citizens around the nation need to recognize the destructive nature of this political situation.

We happen to think most Americans are reasonable. They should insist on representation in Washington that is likewise. But they are not getting it.

•The stock market jumped on word Washington had reached a deal on the shutdown and debt limit. However, the move was more likely one of relief that disaster had been avoided, rather than any rosy view of the future.

That’s because the temporary nature of this agreement continues to create uncertainty for the private sector. While the case certainly can be made that businesses benefit from low tax rates and fewer regulations, it’s also true that they need some measure of clarity from government in the longer term.

It’s difficult to develop an effective business plan when you don’t know the sort of programs and tax levels you are expected to address down the road.

•We hope that even the most strident foes of Obamacare now recognize it’s not going away. Somewhere along the line, efforts to undo health care reform became the tail that wagged the dog in the Republican Party. It has to stop.

Members of the GOP have solid arguments in terms of excessive government spending, the need to cut the deficit and address entitlement costs. But the party has done an absolutely horrible job of crafting a message for the American people — by making the effort to kill Obamacare a top goal.

America needs much of what’s in Obamacare. Republicans ought to be working with Democrats to make sure reform works and is cost effective. Practical solutions to problems are what the nation needs right now, not pointless ideological diatribes.