People posted comments yesterday and the day before to the effect nothing has changed for them since the Federal government shutdown. The phenomenon is reminiscent of people in the 1800s scoffed at the notion little organisms they could not see with the naked eye (viruses) or practices in which their people had engaged for centuries (obtaining water downstream from where people deposited human waste) could cause disease. Tuesday seemed like any other day.
I would like to point one matter, before I move to the ways in which the shutdown will affect people. Republicans blame members of the Democratic Party for the latter's refusal to "negotiate." To them, refusal by the Democratic Party and, in particular, by President Obama to "compromise" is the reason for the shutdown. This would be hilarious if the effects of the shutdown were not so serious. 1) The "compromise" the Republicans seek is a concession by the Democratic Party in Congress either to put the main piece of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, a/k/a Obamacare, on hold for one year or to gut it entirely. The Republicans fear once people gain access to affordable health insurance that protects them and their loved ones, people will not be prone to give it up. In other words, Republicans fear the success of the program. If so, the Republicans should allow the ACA to take effect and see how it cripples the Democratic Party in the 2014 elections. 2) Michelle Bachmann gave lie to this position when she said she had gotten what she wanted, a shutdown of the government. 3) Beyond these points, the Republicans, as many have pointed out, face a law passed by both houses of Congress, signed into law by the President, and declared constitutional by the United States Supreme Court. Someone posted yesterday that the United States Supreme Court also declared slavery constitutional. That decision wrecked the Supreme Court for several decades. And the Court, in its history, has handed down decisions in other cases that hindsight would suggest should have been decided differently. In this instance, a George W. Bush appointee wrote the opinion for the Court. The Court held the law passed constitutional muster. That is the way the Constitution works.
The Republicans now attempt to use any means available to enable a minority in the House to harm the Government to obtain the Republicans' goal. The minority in the House is a minority of a minority. Democratic Party candidates won more votes, overall, in the 2012 Congressional elections. Because of gerrymandering, Republicans won a majority of seats in the House. Hamilton wrote of the harm supermajorities (e.g., 60 votes required to override a veto) can do to the government. Eldridge Gerry did not come up with the idea of what later was called gerrymandering until 1812. We only can speculate what Hamilton and others of the Framers would have said about the topic, but one may infer Hamilton's reasoning in Federalist Paper 22 about supermajorities would have been consistent on this matter.
What programs and services have been cut by the shutdown? People on Fox smirked about the effects yesterday, when they were not expressing anger over WWII veterans' inability to visit the WWII Memorial in DC. Here are some of the programs and employees affected:
1) Centers for Disease Control will be unable to monitor outbreaks of infectious diseases on a local level and track them; 2) Government grants for scientific research will be on hold; 3) National Institutes of Health will not admit sick patients unless ordered to do so by the Director; 4) Department of Homeland Security will be unable to provide personnel for chemical site security; 5) IRS will shut down its hotline and stop processing payments; 6) NASA will furlough over 90 percent of its employees; 7) EPA will furlough over 90 percent of its employees. (Politifact.com, 2/12/13.) The director of National Security testified this creates fertile ground for those who would seek to gain United States intelligence assets as we cannot pay ours. MSNBC ( as well as Jon Stewart, so please don't claim bias in the source) reported children have been denied cancer treatments---oh, and food.There are other programs cut or limited. These only are a few.
Yes, Tuesday the sun shone wherever the hell it is Sean Hannity wakens in the morning. He could not see any harms that arose from the shutdown. Others on Fox laughed about the harms that have been predicted from the sequester. I am confident that, in their insulated world, they have not seen any bad effects of the sequester.
The little cells that cannot be seen can cause disease, a fact Hannity and others must have missed in high school biology. We know he did not study the subject in college. The closest he got to college was when he obtained air time on a campus radio station years ago. When the radio station director found out the idiot who broadcast anti-gay rants about AIDS was not a student, Hannity was canned. I doubt he tried to pass for a student to learn anything. He did so only to gain access to a transmitter. So the "little gray cells" in his head probably do not exist, in his universe.
The Republicans who oppose the shutdown should summon the courage to force a vote on thee floor. They can do so by bringing a discharge petition---basically appealing the decision of the chair, the House Speaker---and obtaining a majority vote. If more than 30 Republicans vote for a discharge petition, then the matter can move to a vote and we can end this whole disgusting mess.
In the meantime, look at the sunny sky and realize there will be little monitoring of crap that goes into the air. Also, look at the beautiful, brown, effluent-filled White River (if you are in Indianapolis) and understand it will not become cleaner. And in the next election, remember all this and that you probably live in a gerrymandered district.