The federal government shutdown was forced by Republicans, but some say history will remember Obama for his inability to stop it. (Charles Dharapak / AP)
Obama and history
I recently returned from a Colorado vacation where the national parks were closed. Not only the parks. National Forests too. A number of the shutdowns cost more to execute than keeping the tourist sites open.
President Barack Obama could lead on the shutdown. He is a little disingenuous in that he voted against a continuing resolution as Senator from Illinois. Democrats will tell you it was just symbolic and doesn’t count. We had troops in the field. Either the president meant what he said then or he means what he says now. Perhaps his current position is symbolic. I am not bright enough to tell when he means something and when he is taking a symbolic stand and neither are our allies or enemies. We need more than symbolic leadership both at home and abroad.
If the government were to default, the history books will forget John Boehner, the tea party, Harry Reid and all of the fellow travelers of our era. They will record the failure of leadership of President Barack Obama. The symbolism of our era will be forgotten by the history books.
William J. McCann, Birmingham
GOP fails on Obamacare
Re: Frank Beckmann’s Oct. 4 column, “Washington fails America with government shutdown”: Beckmann does a good job of exposing the blatant hypocrisy of the Obama White House, but should also have been critical of Congressional Republicans for their failure to see that the best way to defeat a truly bad law such as Obamacare is to let it proceed uninterrupted.
As a result, the headlines are now all about how Republicans shut down the government instead of being about what a mess Obamacare is from people trying to sign on to Congressional Democrats who passed the law now trying to exempt themselves from it. If this represents the best the Republican Party can do, the country may be in real trouble.
Angelo DiDonato, Macomb Twp.
Washington gives a paid vacation
A couple of issues pertaining to this “government shut-down” have me perplexed. The first is the furlough of 800,000 non-essential workers. My understanding is only “essential government workers” are still on the job,and the 800,000 “non-essential workers” will be called back later. Why call them back if they are not essential? Perhaps the Federal Government could just retain “essential” workers.
The second is the pending legislation paying these “non-essential” workers back pay when they return. This is really perplexing. If they are to sit home for now, and then get paid back pay when they return, it’s really just more paid vacation time for “non-essential” workers. The “workers” will not have suffered any loss, and our government will have just wasted more of our tax dollars.
Tony Sword, Northville
The Peter Principle
It appears that the government shutdown is a prime example of the “Peter Principle,” which is that an able and competent employee gets elevated to a position reaching their level of incompetence. The election of John Boehner from the Congress to Speaker of the House, leader of the GOP, is the Peter Principle in action. His inability to unite the party while allowing a small minority of party members to totally control his party is obvious. It is time for Mr. Boehner to realize that he is a lamb and not a ram and resign his position and return to the flock.
John Perry, Warren
Checks and balances
Re: David Shribman’s Oct. 4 column, “High stakes in government shutdown”: Shribman’s article displays lazy liberal rhetoric. He reduces the shutdown to petty politicking at its worst.
The continuing resolution situation means we have not passed a budget in many years and we just continue to okay borrowing more money, from places like China, to get us by for one more year. This is done to avoid facing the inevitable, until those in office are retired and gone.
Congress realizes that the excessive borrowing has to stop and that can only be done by spending less money and hopefully paying off some of our debt.
While it is a popular and effective political tactic to promise everything to everybody, it is too expensive in reality. Obamacare is the big budget burner and that is why it is being opposed by those responsible for the financial well being of our country.
Michael Lyons, Davisburg
Incumbents are the problem
Some want President Barack Obama to stand his ground against the GOP regarding their constitutional right to propose legislation that delays the Affordable Care Act for one year. The tea party wants the GOP to stand their ground on at least demanding the Democrats agree to delay the law. But there are no good reasons for or against a delay of the Affordable Care Act because neither decision will change the status quo. Insurers have already significantly raised rates and are covering dependents up to 26 years of age, so we can see insurers have made changes and will continue to do so. Employers have reduced the working hours of part-time employees to avoid having to insure them per the law, so the situation regarding poorly insured Americans is still poor. And we have not felt the full impact of the law, good or bad, so it is still business as usual for the middle and upper classes. I submit since the status quo is still poor for most, from rising insurance and medical costs to little improvement for the uninsured, then let us not listen to the foolish and unwise voices from the left and right. Let us instead do something positive by voting both liberal and conservative incumbents out of office and vote in honorable and humble men and women who practice the art of compromise.
Ultimately, the responsibility for the incivility and ugliness in Washington, D.C., belongs to “We the people.”
We have allowed our self-interests and passions to decide whether we vote or not vote as well as lead us to vote for those who viscerally make us feel good. Thus, we the people have allowed ourselves to become ruled by self-centered liberal and conservative children.
There is only one way to send a message Washington, D.C. understands, and that is to vote incumbents out of office from both parties.
Gabriel Jim, Canton