My law practice is focused on helping disabled Americans obtain disability benefits. All of my clients have denied disability and I represent them in their appeal. Their cases usually take 2½ to 3 years. It is a slow process.
Most of my clients do not have health insurance. Some are homeless. Many struggle to avoid becoming homeless. All of my clients are severely depressed. Some are suicidal. Recently a client died, one month after being awarded disability. His case took 3 years.
I have another client whose case was heard 3 months ago. We still have not gotten a Decision. His situation is desperate. He has 3 minor children. Their mother just died. His car is about to be repossessed. He does not know what to do. I told him normally it takes 1 month to get a Decision. Due to the Shutdown, the staff that write the Decisions have been furloughed. I have no idea when he will get a Decision.
The effect of the Shutdown on disabled Americans trying to obtain benefits they are entitled to, has been devastating. So I have been giving a lot of thought to the Government Shutdown. Here are a few thoughts.
1. The effect of the Shutdown is not the same for all Americans. It has no effect on the Upper Class. It has little effect on the Middle Class, unless your job is related to government services affected by the Shutdown. If it is, then the Shutdown has been very harmful. For the Poor, especially my disabled clients, the Shutdown has been a disaster!
2. One of the main reasons given by House Republicans for refusing to vote for a continuing resolution to fund the Government has been their opposition to the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. This makes no sense. Why would anyone shutdown the most powerful government on this planet because they were opposed to providing health care to those who do not have it?
3. The other reason given by House Republicans for refusing to vote for a continuing resolution to fund the Government has been their opposition to deficit spending. This makes no sense. During the 8 years of President Reagan’s Administration, the Federal Government increased spending and decreased taxes, thereby generating the largest annual deficits in US history. I did not hear a single Republican oppose this deficit spending. More recently, during the 8 years of President George W. Bush’s Administration, the Federal Government increased spending and decreased taxes, thereby again generating the largest annual deficits in US history. I did not hear a single Republican oppose this deficit spending. History documents that Republicans only oppose deficit spending when they are out of power.
4. A few days ago CNN called each member of the House. All 200 Democrats and 19 Republicans support passing a continuing resolution with no additional legislative strings attached that would reopen the Federal Government. See http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/10/08/votes-are-there-to-break-shutdown-but-not-the-will/ But Speaker Boehner will not allow such a vote to take place. This makes no sense. A majority of the House are in favor of ending the Shutdown, but a minority of the elected Representatives are able to continue the Shutdown.
5. In the last few weeks I have seen House Speaker Boehner walk up to a microphone a lot. He is always surrounded by a group of white men. Yesterday, it finally all made sense. The Tea Party Republicans who have shutdown our government are “all white”. Yet, our country is no longer “all white”. The US has become a multiethnic nation, with a rapidly growing population of Hispanics, Asians, Indians and other ethnicities. Our President is African American.
The Shutdown is not about Obamacare. It is not about deficit spending. The Shutdown is all about one ethnic group – white Americans – reacting to a New Age in America in which they are no longer the dominant ethnic group. They are angry, and they are desperately clinging to the America they once knew.
The days of this group of extremists are numbered. They cannot turn back the clock. The only constant in life is change.
We live in a democracy where the majority rules. The only way for Republicans to regain power is to follow the lead of statesmen like Senator McCain and Governor Christie who seek to embrace the new Americans.
I could be wrong, but this is the only way I can make sense out of the political madness in Washington. Most Americans, whether they be Republican, Democrat or Independent, are moderates. Most Americans are pretty conservative fiscally. However, most Americans are also very compassionate, and support helping our neighbors in need, within reason.
Hopefully, sometime soon, the majority will regain control of our government.