The following editorial appeared Tuesday in the Erie Times-News.
It’s time for U.S. Reps. Mike Kelly, R-3rd District, and Glenn Thompson, R-5th District, to stop issuing news releases and get to work to end the government shutdown.
Their constituents are fed up with the shutdown, which might not be hurting residents in their Pennsylvania districts yet, but will surely have dire consequences for all if the debt ceiling isn’t raised by Oct. 17.
Business leaders have issued a stern warning that there will be severe damage to the economy — not just in the U.S. but around the globe — if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.
On Monday, this is how reporter Yalman Onaran, of Bloomberg News, described the scenario that could unfold: “Failure by the world’s largest borrower to pay its debt — unprecedented in modern history — will devastate stock markets from Brazil to Zurich, halt a $5 trillion lending mechanism for investors who rely on Treasuries, blow up borrowing costs for billions of people and companies, ravage the dollar and throw the U.S. and world economies into a recession that probably would become a depression.”
That’s not Onaran’s opinion.
Rather, he’s synthesized what financial experts who lend us money and manage our stocks predict.
Kelly was correct when he says, as he did on “Fox & Friends” on Sunday, that “this is not a Republican issue or a Democrat issue. This is a fairness issue — it’s that basic.”
The problem is that when Kelly talks about the “fairness issue,” he’s referring to one action by President Barack Obama in regard to the Affordable Care Act.
In July, the Obama administration announced that it would delay the requirement that businesses with more than 50 employees must offer health insurance or pay a fine.
“We recognize that the vast majority of businesses that will need to do this reporting already provide health insurance to their workers, and we want to make sure it is easy for others to do so,” Mark Mazur, assistant secretary for tax policy, wrote then.
If the administration hadn’t pushed back the requirement, Kelly, who likes to boast about his business-owner credentials, would be pushing for that action.
Meanwhile, Thompson’s office issues news releases about the piecemeal legislation passed by House Republicans to reopen the government bit by bit. That is unacceptable.
Lawmakers need to pass a clean resolution to reopen the government, then get to work to approve an increase in the debt limit so that the U.S. government doesn’t default.
Kelly can babble repeatedly to his friends at Fox that “this is not a Republican or a Democratic issue,” but the far-right tea party Republicans created this mess by tying the budget into their frenzied opposition to Obamacare.
Let health reform fail or succeed on its own.
The real fairness issue will be what happens to ordinary Americans when interest rates jump, 401(k)s tank and the economy tumbles back into a recession.
Call Kelly and Thompson.
Tell them to shutter their public-relations operations and reopen the U.S. government.