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home : editorial : editorial January 25, 2015


10/1/2013 1:44:00 PM
Get your House in order

The heavy rains last weekend damaged Forest Roads 15 and 16 in the woods south of Sisters. They'll go unrepaired for now, because Forest Service employees have been furloughed as part of the shutdown of the federal government.

Nice work, folks.

An obdurate majority in the House of Representatives shut down the government, but cannot shut down "Obamacare," the focus of the Republican majority's ire. So, actual work won't get done and thousands of people are missing a paycheck for a stunt.

There's plenty to dislike about the Affordable Care Act (not least its sheer complexity, sketchy waivers and confusion about its impacts), but this stunt will do nothing to change any of that.

The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress, upheld by the Supreme Court and voters re-elected its chief architect and cheerleader. Obama owns it. There's a pretty good argument that, if Obamacare is so bad, the Republicans should simply stand aside, shake their heads and let it be implemented - and let Obama and the Democrats who supported it face the consequences. But that wouldn't allow for enough grandstanding.

This kind of thing happens because members of the House of Representatives have a very narrow constituency to please. Gerrymandering of districts creates "safe" seats, where representatives really only have to respond to the wants and needs of a core constituency. It actually makes sense (politically) to scuttle the functions of government in order to throw that constituency a chunk of juicy red meat.

But most Americans aren't all that ideological. We want a government that works where it's needed and leaves us alone where it's not. There's plenty of room for debate over where those lines are; that's what elections ought to be about.

But in the meantime, we want the people we elect and pay to do their jobs and we want the roads fixed.

Jim Cornelius, Editor





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