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September 2019
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Government shutdown is hijacking of America

    Last week some members of the Progress staff were on vacation, camping at Vogel State Park. While there they rode over to Brasstown Bald as the middle schoolers among the group had learned about it being the highest point in Georgia.
    But rather than a geography lesson, the kids got a lesson in politics. Vogel is a state park and was open and crowded, while Brasstown is operated by the United States Forest Service and was padlocked at the front gate.
    It is enraging that petulant government leaders in Washington have led us to a point where our natural attractions are locked – “Sorry kids, some people feel it is really important to defund ObamaCare, so they have locked up all the parks.”
    Carter’s Lake has closed campsites, and boat ramps were closed for nearly a week – as if the childish attitudes of people in Washington should mean we can’t go fishing in Georgia.
    Another member of the Progress staff was similarly affected by the shutdown as a planned trip to the West Coast with a highlight tour of  Alcatraz became a trip without a highlight - the historical prison is shuttered.
    In the greater scope of things, ruined vacations are small issues in terms of the government shutdown.
    Some of the more serious consequences were 800,000 federal employee paychecks. Services related to everything - from pregnant women nutrition through the WIC program to the yearly flu shots from the CDC - are at risk.
    The worse case scenarios have a global financial meltdown if the federal debt ceiling isn’t raised later this week. Even though the debt ceiling is a different topic, it is lumped in with the previous sequester and current shutdown. But the real issue isn’t parks or federal services, the real issue is ObamaCare - otherwise known as the Affordable Care ACT (ACA).
    Some conservatives have made it plain that they want (at the least) portions of the ACA defunded/repealed in exchange for them doing jobs they were elected to do – operate the nation.
    Congressman Doug Collins expressed on his website, “Until we can bolster enough votes to repeal ObamaCare in its entirety, the House of Representatives must do what it can to defund smaller portions of this destructive bill.”
    Pickens’ other congressman has been similarly steadfast in maintaining that the shutdown is necessary because ObamaCare is vastly not to his liking. On ABC’s This Week, Congressman Tom Graves would never clearly answer the question about how far he was willing to push it with the shutdown for a chance to repeal ObamaCare, but it was plain he wasn’t going to give in any time soon.
    Graves kept referring to the American family facing “horrible impacts” from ObamaCare as though that justified delays and defunding other parts of government that have nothing to do with healthcare.
    Not all of the GOP are as committed to the cut-off-the-nose-to-spite-face plan. Paul Ryan,  a popular Republican leader and vice presidential nominee last go round, published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, offering many common sense measures involving general budgets and short terms fixes but did not tie his plan to the repeal of the ACA.
    It should be noted that the Affordable Care Act was duly passed by both houses of Congress and signed by the President – exactly the way students learn that government enacts laws. The Affordable Care Act was then sent to the Supreme Court and they upheld it.
    Like it or not, the ACA has been passed, signed, ratified and is taking effect. Around 2.8 million Americans went on the federal government websites to find out about enrolling in the plans the first week they were available – obviously there are plenty of people out there who want at least an opportunity to see if it will work.
    If ObamaCare is the flop some predict, it will be obvious soon enough, but to declare it a disaster before it even starts and then take it out on other departments is a shirking of the duty we entrusted in the people we elected.