The GOP Should Aggressively Seek Credit For the Shutdown
The Republican Party didn't blink, and as a result non-essential aspects of the federal government are soon to be shut down. Republican politicians and members of the Party should cheer, as the ‘stupid' Party actually revealed a political and economic savvy that will serve it well in 2014 and beyond.
The Republican Party now has a brand that says it's willing to stand athwart the obnoxious growth of Leviathan. Its decision to allow a shutdown of the federal government, and to ideally allow it to remain shut through the 2014 elections absent substantial concessions from the Democrats, is both good politics and economics.
The quality politics start with the fact that Americans are increasingly skeptical of Obamacare, and its implications for the quality of and access to healthcare. Their skepticism is well founded given the simple truth that politicians irrespective of political party are expert at promising things, but positively uncoordinated when it comes to delivering them.
Thinking about Obamacare in light of the above, it promises universal access to an extensive menu of healthcare services, all at prices lower than what prevails at present. Simple logic tells even the mildly sentient that Obama's ‘low-cost' promise is going to be one of the most expensive ever foisted on the American people. Republicans should be positively giddy about telling the voters that they blocked the imposition of something that would be so costly, and at the same time inimical to quality healthcare outcomes.
Happily for the GOP, the politics get even better. Figure the size of the federal government has ballooned in recent years, and one argument made by the truly delusional to defend Washington, D.C. bloat has been that the overall economy needs excessive federal spending to stay afloat. Ok, if readers are willing to forget the myriad, economy-suffocating contradictions inherent in the absurd belief that government spending is an economic stimulant, the simple truth is that voters are increasingly wise to the lie being told them.
Indeed, to visit Washington, D.C. today is to see that federal stimulus always and everywhere has a very Washington, D.C. address. The nation's capital presently booms, and the economic good times are a function of salaries, benefits and programs that have risen alongside federal largesse with the money of a much-fleeced citizenry. In shutting down parts of the federal government, the Republican Party will be able to advertise itself as the Party protecting the earnings of the very private sector workers whose productivity makes the federal government possible to begin with. Smart Republicans will repeat over and over again what's true, that a crash diet for the federal government represents a raise for all private sector workers.
Considering general GOP rhetoric, it's long been the true that its leading lights have talked of a federal government that needs to do that which the Framers intended, and that needs to cost less. If so, a shutdown of the federal government to something a great deal less complicated seems tailor-made for a Republican Party that always talks a good game about the need for just that. It's time for the GOP to match its actions with its rhetoric.
After that, it quite simply must be asked what the point of the Republican Party is if it's not regularly shutting down the federal government? As the "responsible stewards of the people's money," shutdown should be a part of the GOP's readily unsheathed arsenal of weapons meant to always be shrinking the size and scope of our economy-asphyxiating federal government. If so, those who presume to negotiate with the GOP will know well that shutdown is always an option. Since it will be, negotiations over what the federal government should and should not do will always tilt in favor of the Party of Small given its willingness to pull the plug altogether.
Considering the economics, the Stupid Party must move beyond its uncertainty about its message, not to mention its implicit fear of the post-Obamacare unknown. Considering Obamacare's defunding, Republicans need to remind themselves that the promise of lower prices for a service in concert with a promise for more of that same service is a contradiction in terms. Republicans should be explicit that they're defunding Obamacare precisely because healthcare is important, and because it is, that they're looking to free up the markets for medical care and insurance covering same. They should talk optimistically of all the amazing cures that will reveal themselves if prices are made free such that innovators in the healthcare space will be compensated - yes, made billionaires - for advances achieved in the cure for such maladies as heart disease and cancer.
The same applies to the smaller federal government footprint that will reveal itself should the shutdown be a long one. Here Republicans need to get over their counterproductive obsession with budget deficits and the crisis that never seems to come, and instead talk about the raging fire of government spending that is burning right now. They should point out to voters the booming economy that will much sooner be ours if the federal government spends less. They should be explicit to voters that the GOP's forced shutdown of the federal government means higher wages for private sector workers, along with more and better job opportunities overall.
Indeed, it's incumbent on the Republicans to remind the citizenry that the cost of government is born by the people through lower pay, reduced health and healthcare options, and less in the way of Microsoft, Apple Inc., and Disney-style companies that employ us and enrich our lives. They should remind voters that a government shutdown is not remotely a sacrifice for taxpayers who will tautologically benefit if the government they pay for is smaller, rather it's a necessary sacrifice for a political class that has grown rich on the backs of hardworking Americans.
In short, the Republicans should aggressively own the shutdown for what it would say about them as a Party that gets both politics and economics. If not, as in if the Republicans cave, what's the point of electing Republicans?