All of Missouri’s Republican House delegation joined the 144 Republican House members who voted no on the budgetary continuing resolution sent to them from the Senate, which amounts to five votes from Missouri to keep the shutdown going. To a man or woman, these members of the Missouri Shutdown Hall of Shame tried to justify their votes with references to those all-purpose boogymen, the deficit and “out of control spending” (see also here).
To a man or woman, they have all also refused to admit they initially went to war with the nation’s well-being for no reason other than to defund the Affordable Care Act (ACA) – even though the ACA reduces the deficit long-term. Nor are they willing to admit that the main ACA concession they demanded as a sop when it became clear that the rest of the Congress and most of the country regarded their anti-Obamacare jihad as laughable, a repeal of the medical devices tax, was a special interest boondogle that would have undercut the ability of the ACA keep government costs down. All that reasonable bystanders can conclude from this is that our GOPers are either dishonest, severely deluded, or dumber than fenceposts.
According to S&P estimates, the antics of these shutdown diehards cost the U.S. economy $24 billion and cut 0.6% off of yearly fourth quarter GDP growth. Tell me how this reflects concern with the economy. Think Progress has compiled a partial list of government expenditures that could have been financed by the amount of money lost in the shutdown:
— The net cost of to the government from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP): $24 billion
— The Department of Agriculture’s proposed budget: $22.6 billion
— NASA’s approved budget: $16.6 billion
— All air transportation programs, including the Federal Aviation Administration, security, research, and other costs: $21.9 billion.
— The Child Tax Credit: $22.1 billion.
— The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (formally known as welfare): $17.7 billion.
— The cost of Head Start, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Women Infants and Children (WIC) program combined: $25.2 billion
I hope you noticed that all or parts of these expenditures were or are bitterly opposed by these same GOPers who insist that we can’t afford them. Nevertheless, they’re all more than willing to run up similar costs in the service of empty symbolic gestures meant to impress their base. But as Think Progress also noted, these pols have been making the same types of choices from the getgo:
The shutdown was just the latest budget crisis that has been costly to the economy. A recent report found that the uncertainty created by fights over funding the government and raising the debt ceiling that have cropped up since 2010 has cost the economy nearly a million jobs.
And, to cap it all off, there are already rumblings from the GOP crazy caucus, with whom Missouri’s GOPers seem to have allied themselves, that they’ll be willing to give the ol’ shutdown routine a go once again early next year when yesterday’s agreement runs out. However, as Michael Tomasky wrote today, one thing may have changed:
. . . At least the American people did get to see what assassins the Republicans are. That was valuable. Many of us have been trying to say for many years now about Washington’s polarization and dysfunction that yes, both sides are to blame, there are no Boy Scouts here, but the sides are not remotely equally to blame, and this is a crucial point, and journalists and commentators who keep insisting on framing things this way out of some devotion to “balance” that is out of whack with the facts of reality are disserving the republic; lying, basically. I don’t think now any commentator can seriously maintain that fiction. . . .