Brian Beutler at Salon says the GOP's new tactics are bizarre. In a post recommended by Berkley economist and liberal blogger Brad DeLong, Beutler explains how the government shutdown happened. Speaker of the House John Boehner is "sticking to a new and odd principle that Democrats must yield some Obamacare-related concession to the GOP if they want the government funded." He points out the ridiculousness of this new way to play politics: "Republicans have over-committed themselves to their voting base. ... They’ve promised to use the congressional budget process to extract huge concessions from President Obama, over Obama’s repeated insistence that he will not be extorted." Beutler, however, is confident that Boehner will raise the debt limit in a couple weeks, however the shutdown plays out. "Before last night I believed the threat of a noisy and destructive debt limit fight was very high, but that the threat of a genuine lapse in borrowing authority was pretty low. I still believe both of those things."
James Surowiecki at The New Yorker predicts the debt ceiling fight will be worse. Surowiecki explains: "Even if the shutdown is resolved ... investors have a bigger concern on their minds: namely, the possibility that Republicans might actually refuse to raise the nation’s debt ceiling in a couple of weeks." He notes that the 2011 debt ceiling fight "put a significant dent in both business and consumer confidence, held back hiring ... further weakened the recovery [and] ... sent the stock market tumbling." And of course, a debt ceiling dilemma would be entirely self-inflicted. "Risking economic catastrophe" isn't worth Republicans getting a "do-over" on Obamacare. Amanda Becker, a labor and employment reporter at Reuters, responded sarcastically that she "can't wait" for the debt ceiling fight, but "will [the shutdown] be over yet?"
Sen. Bernie Sanders at The Guardian argues for single-payer health care. Sanders, who is the longest-serving independent in Congress and a proud democratic socialist, argues: "First, healthcare must be recognized as a right, not a privilege." Second, the U.S. needs a national health care system. According to Sanders, the country is failing in both of those regards. He concedes that "President Obama's Affordable Care Act is a start. It prevents insurance companies from denying patients coverage for pre-existing conditions, allows people up to age 26 to stay on their parents' insurance, sets minimum standards for what insurance must cover and helps lower-income Americans afford health insurance." But what would really fix the nation is a "single-payer national healthcare program." And good news — the U.S. already has one in Medicare. Media scholar Ethan Zuckerman tweeted that a single-payer system "would be worth fighting for." U.K. singer and left-wing activist Billy Bragg recommends the column.
Derek Thompson at The Atlantic argues on how the GOP already won the spending war. In a post recommended by Miami Herald economics writer Doug Banks, Thompson explains, "Republicans have, in the last two terms, masterfully whittled down federal spending, often with precisely this form of brinksmanship." The current Senate bill funds the government at "18 percent below the president proposed five years ago; 17 percent below the Democratic Congress proposed four years ago; 10 percent below Paul Ryan and Republicans proposed three years ago; and 8 percent below the debt ceiling compromise two years ago." In fact, it's just 2 percent away from Rep. Paul Ryan's plan. According to Thompson, Democrats are negotiating "with a child who, after four servings of ice cream, says he shouldn't be forced to do any chores or homework until he gets a monogrammed cake."
Ramesh Ponnuru at Bloomberg View thinks it's fine to keep fighting Obamacare. Ponnuru doesn't advocate shutdown or hitting the debt ceiling to fight the ACA, but "Republicans generally think it will have bad effects on the economy and on health care. And it isn’t yet entrenched. Why wouldn’t they keep opposing it?" States that are refusing to implement parts of Obamacare are well within the law, Ponnuru argues. "Most of what the law’s supporters call 'sabotage' is perfectly legitimate political action." Charles C. Cooke, a writer at National Review, agrees: "Spot on. The attempt to make it seem as if continued opposition to Obamacare is illegitimate is just a 'shut up.'"