With the recent shutdown of the US government and potential Default feeling like a distant threat once again, it seems our professional media outlets and our political leaders are trying to draw our attention back to the controversies surrounding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Clearly, the American People need to know the Obama Administration is trying to address the faults in the online version of the Health Insurance Marketplace while improving Obamacare needs to remain atop the agenda. That said, our focus must be on creating a bipartisan budget with a long-term deficit reduction plan and a significant restructuring of our tax code.
For our legislators to be successful in this task, the American People must pay attention, so we can shape the effort and provide enough pressure to ensure a meaningful, bipartisan solution arises. If important issues like healthcare reform steal the focus, our politicians will be drawn to the easy political points won through divisive politics. Issues like healthcare reform, immigration reform, energy initiatives, etc., must see progress in the background; after all, once the Budget is squared away, our Legislators must start dealing with the many other major issues our Nation is facing.
Accordingly, our path to fiscal responsibility starts by focusing on solutions that do not provoke partisan bickering. For example, the Government Accountability Office has identified tens to hundreds of billions of dollars in waste, abuse, and fraud that can be addressed without much controversy. Democrats and Republicans will then need to upset each other by targeting the spending preferences of the other side; however, they should not target each others’ top priorities at this time. Lengthy debates on issues with a significant potential to cause controversy will only derail the process, thus such issues are best dealt in the next rounds of deal making. Our legislative leaders do not need to solve every fiscal issue in one sitting. They need to break the process up into smaller, manageable bits. Right now, they just need to reach a big enough deal to pass a Budget and target the largest areas for cutting spending/raising revenues.
Clearly, this will be a challenge as there are many things going on around the world that impact the US while professional media outlets need to provide viewers with material that holds their focus. In too many respects, we have become a society that only pays attentions to what is happening at the moment in the narrowest terms possible. Meanwhile, time is a precious resource that most people spend decisively. Quite frankly, the average US Citizen is only going to have so much time at the end of the day to deal with his/her democratic responsibilities, thus professional news outlets need to ensure the Budget debate makes it into the news cycle on a daily basis. It is the most pressing news story for the next few months.
The implementation of Obamacare is very important while it certainly impacts the American People in a very big way, yet our leaders in Washington need to get off the political trail and focus on issues related to the Budge. This means Obamacare needs to take a backseat unless there is something government can do to improve it immediately without it becoming an easy distraction. President Obama should probably delay the individual mandate once it becomes viable for this reason along with the fact that the employer mandate has been delayed and the reality that there are too many technical issues with the Marketplace. Moreover, the US government needs to focus on fiscal matters for the new few months.
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