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United States Government The Almighty Buck Politics

US Government Shutdown Ends 999

Posted by Soulskill
from the nobody-surprised,-everybody-irritated dept.
An anonymous reader writes "After more than two weeks of bickering that made the schoolyard appear civilized, Congress has finally passed a bill to reopen the U.S. Federal Government. 'The Senate passed the measure by a vote of 81 - 18, followed by approval in the House by a vote of 285 - 144. The bill now goes to the President, who will make remarks on Thursday regarding the reopening of the federal government. ... Earlier in the day, Speaker Boehner conceded that the House would not vote to stop the Senate-negotiated agreement. In a statement, the Speaker said that, after a fight with President Obama over his signature health care law, " . . . blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us." The agreement will raise the debt limit until February 2014, fund the government through January 2014 and establish a joint House-Senate committee to make spending cut decisions.' CNN adds, 'Obama, for one, didn't seem in the mood Wednesday night for more of the same -- saying politicians in Washington have to "get out of the habit of governing by crisis." "Hopefully, next time, it will not be in the 11th hour," Obama told reporters, calling for both parties to work together on a budget, immigration reform and other issues. When asked as he left the podium whether he believed America would be going through all this political turmoil again in a few months, the President didn't waste words. "No."'"
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US Government Shutdown Ends

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  • Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Black Parrot (19622) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @12:28AM (#45149683)

    I didn't think the Democrats were capable of not caving in.

    • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @12:43AM (#45149743) Journal

      Why did you think that? They knew the moderate Republicans in the House would eventually force Boehner's hand. Even Boehner knew it, but this little dance had to go all the way because the moderate Republicans are as terrified of the Tea Party as they are of voters.

      Obama and Congressional Democrats have seen this growing weakness in the GOP since 2008, and have been waiting for a chance to humiliate Boehner. Now they'll sit back and watch the civil war in the Republican ranks make the Republicans' dominance of the house become an empty accomplishment.

      • by sjames (1099)

        Because they nearly always cave in, often before the first vote.

  • by mhotchin (791085) <slashdot AT hotchin DOT net> on Thursday October 17, 2013 @12:34AM (#45149709)

    Proving once again that, once all other options are eliminated, the Americans will do the right thing

    • by axlash (960838) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @12:43AM (#45149745)
      This is not really "the right thing", any more than a hacky bug fix is the right thing. The right thing is to deal with the deficit/debt, as many Republicans want to - but the way they want to go about it is terrible (a combination of threats and spending cuts only). The reality is that until both parties sit down and agree to deal with the deficit/debt with a mix of tax hikes *and* spending cuts, it's going to be hard to make any significant progress on this.
      • by countach74 (2484150) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @12:49AM (#45149771)
        Tax hikes don't necessarily mean increased revenue (they have actually decreased revenue at times). Frankly, the only sure-fire way to pay off this debt is via massive spending cuts. But these are cuts that Republicans aren't generally in favor of.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 17, 2013 @01:17AM (#45149905)

          Depends. A good deal of additional revenue could be appropriated simply by revisiting the corporate tax code. Preventing eg, Apple, from doing a "double Irish with a Dutch sandwich", and hiding $11bn from the us's 30-ish% tax alone is 3bn. (Extend that to microsoft, oracle, and pals as well, and you get the picture.) Playing footsie with investors only works when the market isn't at death's door. In the long run, making those companies pay their goddamn taxes is way better than having debt limit crisis 2014, return of the deficit bomb, both for them, and the world at large, and for the same said investors.

          There's plenty of revenue that isn't being properly appropriated. The major problem is the byzantine tax system the US uses, which has more holes in it than a whiffle ball.

          We don't really need new taxes, we need to revisit and refine the taxes we already have, and sanitize the tax code. Of course, that would almost certainly never see the light of day, since like term limits, it stands to cost all of the corrupt people on the hill a good deal of money. (Eg, it demonstrates a genuine conflict of interest for them.)

        • by sjames (1099) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @01:30AM (#45149971) Homepage

          Carter and Clinton managed it just fine. They got the deficit to nothing and Clinton actually managed to pay the debt down a bit.

          Or we could raise the taxes in the upper brackets to the levels maintained by that notorious lefty Eisenhower. :-)

          • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 17, 2013 @03:27AM (#45150461)

            You give credit to Clinton for the debt going down.

            This was the Internet bubble time. The economy was white hot and tax revenues were phat. You could have put a Teddy Ruxpin in as President and the effect would have been the same.

          • by nharmon (97591) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @08:29AM (#45151509) Homepage

            Carter and Clinton managed it just fine. They got the deficit to nothing and Clinton actually managed to pay the debt down a bit.

            That isn't true. Under Carter and Clinton the public debt went up every single year [treasurydirect.gov]. In fact, the last time we managed to actually pay down the debt was in 1957.

            Or we could raise the taxes in the upper brackets to the levels maintained by that notorious lefty Eisenhower. :-)

            Go ahead. Just be sure to add every loophole and tax deduction that was available during Eisenhower's times. Otherwise you're just advocating confiscation of wealth, which is not such a lovely road for us to go down. But hey, high tax rates with generous deductions would encourage spending, and that would be fine by me.

        • by complete loony (663508) <Jeremy.LakemanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 17, 2013 @03:21AM (#45150433)

          Austerity programs in other countries have not helped to reduce their level of government debt, the level of government debt has still grown during this period.

          Why? Because the population is spending less from borrowed money. The scale of that change in consumer spending easily dwarfs the change in government spending.

          If you want to boost the economy, the government needs to drastically *increase* their spending, with the majority of that money spent in ways that will flow through to the majority of citizens. Don't just throw cash at bank managers, that doesn't help anyone.

    • by ClickOnThis (137803) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @01:36AM (#45149993) Journal

      Proving once again that, once all other options are eliminated, the Americans will do the right thing

      If you're going to quote Sir Winston, then give him credit [goodreads.com].

  • Ends? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kevinatilusa (620125) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {lletsock}> on Thursday October 17, 2013 @12:45AM (#45149755)

    Maybe a more accurate headline is "US Government Shutdown on temporary hiatus"? It's only a few months funding, and there's no guarantee we won't go through the entire thing again come January 15th...

  • by binarstu (720435) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @12:48AM (#45149767)
    The bill passed the House, but 144 votes were cast against it -- more than 1/3 of those voting! One can only guess at the careful thought that went into casting those votes. Do these people actually believe that funding "Obamacare" for a few months is worse than letting the federal government default on its loans? There is no acceptable answer to this question. If the answer is "yes," well -- yikes. If the answer is "no," and this is just shameless pandering to the extreme right faction of the GOP/"Tea Party", then -- yikes.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 17, 2013 @01:07AM (#45149851)

      The bill passed the House, but 144 votes were cast against it -- more than 1/3 of those voting! One can only guess at the careful thought that went into casting those votes. Do these people actually believe that funding "Obamacare" for a few months is worse than letting the federal government default on its loans? There is no acceptable answer to this question. If the answer is "yes," well -- yikes. If the answer is "no," and this is just shameless pandering to the extreme right faction of the GOP/"Tea Party", then -- yikes.

      Don't fall for that nonsense. People talk, the party whips do what they do. Everyone is reasonably certain of how everyone is going to vote long before the actual event. It can sometimes be beneficial to vote no on something that will assuredly pass, and you may even want passed, merely because voters and donors that care to keep track in such detail want you to vote no.

  • Now it gets worse. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ulatekh (775985) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @01:08AM (#45149853) Homepage Journal

    The federal government is still spending far more than it's taking in, and seems to have little to show for it.

    We're not even borrowing the money any more; the Federal Reserve just changes a number in a computer to create more money, then lends it to the U.S. government at near-zero interest.

    This is a shell game of the highest magnitude, and all historical precedents point to this ending badly.

    Federal spending has to be brought under control. It appears there's no will in our so-called leaders to do so. A shutdown and default, despite the chaos it would lead to, would have stopped the out-of-control spending. I would like to think there's another way to get federal spending under control, but I'm not that gullible.

    This was a chance to stop the hemorrhaging. This chance is gone. The problem will only get worse.

    And if you think there's something special about the United States that'll keep it from collapsing like so many other empires in history...I hope you're right. But I'm still constructing my compound on raw land in the middle of nowhere.

    • by NoKaOi (1415755) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @01:19AM (#45149917)

      This was a chance to stop the hemorrhaging.

      No, it wasn't. This was a manipulation tactic by a minority group of legislators to change the law even though they knew they couldn't really change the law legally (they tried and failed) and knew their tactic had no chance of success anyway. That they were able to do this points to a systematic problem that will only get worse. That they hemorrhaging resources into the military (see: Roman Empire) is only a symptom of that systematic corruption.

    • by dbc (135354) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @01:34AM (#45149983)

      I agree with you on all points but one -- this wasn't really a chance to stop the crazy. The budget is too out of control to come up with a fix in a few days. It is going to take a very difficult debate among the entire electorate to decide which sacred cows are going to be slaughtered. It has gotten to the point where no politician is willing to bring the subject up because everyone is going to feel some very real pain in order to solve all of this.

      It is going to get ugly, without a doubt. The sooner it is tackled, the less ugly it will be. I think it is a 70/30 chance to be bloody, as well.

      Everyone who remembers the great depression is at least in their eighties, and they were just children then. Ask them what it was like in order to prepare yourself. Those days were ugly, and we may see a repeat. Only this time, instead of 50% of the population being rural/farm and having the ability to at least grow a garden for their own food, today only 1% of the population lives on farms and 99% is at the end of a food supply chain with a 5 day buffer. Just a few days ago EBT went out in a few states for a couple of days and we came close to food riots. The only reason we didn't have actual riots is that WalMart let people simply shoplift any food they wanted.

      • by evilviper (135110) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @04:27AM (#45150649) Journal

        It is going to get ugly, without a doubt. The sooner it is tackled, the less ugly it will be.

        Slashing the budget during a recession with already-high unemployment is a GREAT way to drive us into a real depression. So yes, doing this soon is a TERRIBLE idea. It needs to wait until the economy is growing.

        Everyone who remembers the great depression is at least in their eighties, and they were just children then. Ask them what it was like in order to prepare yourself. Those days were ugly, and we may see a repeat.

        I agree... If we follow your idiotic advice, that's exactly what we'll get.

        Only this time, instead of 50% of the population being rural/farm and having the ability to at least grow a garden for their own food, today only 1% of the population lives on farms

        So, I take it you've never read or watched "The Grapes of Wrath", and have never heard of The Dust Bowl? Farms didn't save the US from the depression AT ALL. Roosevelt's government programs did...

    • by Tablizer (95088) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @03:11AM (#45150401) Homepage Journal

      Federal spending has to be brought under control.

      Austerity did not work for Hoover, nor Europe recently. It just makes the problem worse. You cannot pay off debt if the economy remains in a slump. Keynesian policy may be counter-intuitive to some, but some things in life are like that. At least pick the middle ground if you hate stimuluses.

      the Federal Reserve just changes a number in a computer to create more money,

      If it were the case that it was being overdone, then our inflation rate would be higher than it is. Our inflation rate should be higher to encourage the rich to spend their cash instead of sitting on it waiting for better times. About 2.2% would be nice, but we are at about 1.7% right now (annually adjusted, smoothed over several months).

      I realize there is risk either way, but history tends to favor stimuluses over austerity during prolonged slumps. I'll go with the horse with the better record.

  • by jafac (1449) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @01:16AM (#45149895) Homepage

    When asked as he left the podium whether he believed America would be going through all this political turmoil again in a few months, the President didn't waste words. "No."'"

    . . . still naive.

  • by pgnas (749325) on Thursday October 17, 2013 @01:52AM (#45150077) Journal

    President Obama, 'It wasnt me'...

    Failure is an opportunity.
    If you blame someone else,
    there is no end to the blame.

    Therefore the Master
    fulfills her own obligations
    and corrects her own mistakes.
    She does what she needs to do
    and demands nothing of others.

    --Lao Tzu

    I think the problem we are facing is a lack of good leadership.

    • forget the fact that the democrats have 40 job creation bills [majorityleader.gov]they haven't acted on.

      Check out some of these "Job Creation Bills"

      H.J. Resolution 37 [gop.gov], where, "“Congress disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission relating to the matter of preserving the open Internet and broadband industry practices" Yup, real job builder there.

      House Resolution 2018 [govtrack.us], which seeks "to amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to preserve the authority of each State to make determinations relating to the State's water quality standards, and for other purposes." Wow, that'l

It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence. - W. K. Clifford, British philosopher, circa 1876

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