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April 06, 2011

Can A Shutdown Be Averted? I Think So

At least for the moment.

There's a lot of frustration within the GOP over the two-week CRs. I don't really understand that. We're cutting a little every week. Why be frustrated? Every time we cut another $2 or $4 or $6 billion it's all to the good.

The strategy is working -- slowly, but what, are we children who need to win now instead of slowly over the course of weeks?

Anyway, the last CR proposed by the GOP was for a $12 billion cut and two weeks of spending, plus full funding for the Department of Defense for the rest of the year.

I thought that was a big of a big bite, the kind that would invite a shutdown.

But I see some cleverness in it: The GOP can now, if it chooses, make the grand compromise of reducing the $12 billion cut for two weeks' spending into, say, $4 or even $6 billion for two weeks' spending.

See, we're compromising, and yet, we can still come back in two weeks and play the same game again.

This Pew poll suggests that equal numbers of people would blame Obama and the Congressional Republicans for the shutdown, if it happens.

We can safely assume that almost everyone blaming one or the other is that side's partisans. The numbers are about right, 39% blame the GOP, 36% blame Obama. 17% say both. That's pretty much the D/R/I breakdown.

Now, going forward, I'd expect those numbers to change a bit as independents began taking sides but there's no very good reason to think they'd break against us.

Given the fact that a shutdown would be nearly unnoticed at all by most Americans, why make a bad deal just to avoid a not-necessarily-bad outcome?

Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries would continue to receive benefits.


The administration sought to put a human face on the fallout of a shutdown, casting it as a potential blow to the economic recovery.

Among other consequences cited by the administration:

-The Environmental Protection Agency would cease issuing permits and stop reviewing environmental impact statements which will slow approval of projects.

- Military personnel would not get paid beyond Friday, but would continue to earn money that would be paid to them once the government resumes.

- National parks would be closed.

That part about military personnel not getting paid is the tough one -- which is exactly why Republicans attempted to take that threat off the table (by funding Defense throughout the rest of the year) and that's precisely why Obama and the Democrats won't go for that.

I think we should return with cuts of $4 billion, funding Defense for the rest of the year (that is, paychecks continue no matter what happens), and then return to the negotiating table -- this time without our troops' paychecks being held hostage by Obama and the Democrats.

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posted by Ace at 12:34 PM

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