The Shutdown and the Damage Done

My latest for The National Interest, "The Military and the Shutdown: Assessing the Damage," is out.

government-shutdown-closed-for-business

My latest for The National Interest, “The Military and the Shutdown: Assessing the Damage,” is out.

With the government back in business, it’s worth reflecting on the toll the sixteen-day shutdown inflicted on the nation’s defense. While most of the media attention went to relative trivialities like service-academy sports and the closure of war memorials, we wasted enormous resources that could otherwise have gone toward the nation’s security.

[…]

Gordon Adams, an expert on defense budgeting at American University, estimates that it costs between $2 billion and $4 billion to prepare for a government shutdown and the same amount to get back up and running. We’ll likely never be able to precisely calculate the costs of the shutdown. But massive amounts of money were being needlessly wasted on a daily basis. DOD comptroller Bob Hale estimated $600 million in “lost productivity” at the Pentagon alone.

Ongoing operations, most notably the war in Afghanistan, were fully funded, but most training and maintenance went on hold owing to “the absence of available appropriations.” And some critical national-security personnel in other agencies, including civilian analysts at our intelligence agencies, were deemed nonessential and thus unable to report for duty.

All travel and temporary-duty assignments had to be approved at or above the combatant-commander level. Not only were troops who had been scheduled to travel to attend military schools unable to do so but, infuriatingly, those already in the middle of training were sent home in most cases. Even those weeks into classes had to return to their home base, wasting the money the taxpayer had already spent on travel, lodging, and subsistence. Further, the taxpayer will have to send them back, paying a second time, now that the government has reopened. In most cases, the students will have to start from scratch. And, of course, the instructors continued to be paid, despite not being able to do any instructing.

[…]

The more lasting issue is that all this wasted money has to come from somewhere. DOD is already scheduled, and reasonably so, to take hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts as we come off a dozen years on a war footing. Another year, or more years, of sequestration appears inevitable. Adding the shutdown on top of that was doubly disruptive.

Adding insult to injury, the taxpayer will eventually be on the hook for back pay for DOD’s furloughed employees. So, to recap: we’ve disrupted hundreds of thousands of lives, ruined weddings and vacations, and degraded the nation’s security without saving any money. Indeed, we’ve wasted countless billions on top of our misery. That’s a high price to pay for, well, nothing.

More at the link.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, Published Elsewhere,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. PJ says:

    That’s a high price to pay for, well, nothing.

    Cruz got donations, more names on his mailing list, and a lot of Tea Party cred. All that will pay off in 2016.

    “You have to spend money to make money.”

  2. Dan says:

    And the GOP call themselves the party of fiscal responsibility, and some Americans still believe their crap and vote for them. Americans have to seriously and clearly reject these buffoons. This isn’t funny any more.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    Fer nuthin’

  4. bill says:

    @Dan: @Dan:

    Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem.

    The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.
    Read more at http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/debtlimit.asp#vMsdtcPGEiI4mqST.99

    guess who said that ? in other news, pot calls kettle “black”.

  5. grumpy realist says:

    Too bad we can’t charge ol’ Teddie Cruz for the costs….

  6. C. Clavin says:

    “…guess who said that…”
    Oooh…I know the answer…it’s the guy that has been steadily reducing the deficit since he took office. Right? Right?
    So what’s your point, bill?
    The shutdown was about eliminating Obamacare…not about debt. But it incurred more debt…thanks to the Republicans behind it.
    But don’t worry, bill…the deficit is still coming down under Obama. Under Republicans like the two Bushes and Reagan not so much.
    So again…what the f’ is your point?

  7. grumpy realist says:

    Completely and totally OT, but the headline was too good to resist.

  8. humanoid.panda says:

    @bill: For the millionth time, when Obama said that, it was in the power of the Democrats to filibuster the debt ceiling raise, which they didn’t even think about doing. Instead, they did what sane politicians do: engage in some grandstanding that caused harm to no one. When they won the elections in 2006, they could have shut down the government for any number of reasons, and didn’t even think about it. Instead, they worked with Bush to mitigate the financial disaster of 2008.
    Pretending that the two sides are equivalent in any way is by this point nothing but a sign of reduced mental capacity.

  9. mantis says:

    @bill:

    guess who said that

    Someone who, along with his party, shutdown the government and threatened default so they could raise funds from knuckle-dragging morons like yourself? No? It was just a harmless protest vote objecting to the reckless fiscal policies of the Bush administration, the negative effects of which we are still experiencing today and causing the increase in the debt you dishonestly blame on Obama?

    in other news, pot calls kettle “black”.

    You’re supposed to be more subtle than that, scumbag. Try not to set yourself on fire while burning a cross. Scratch that; go wild. Safety is for liberals, not real men like you.

  10. john personna says:

    It would be nice if the accounting reality of the shutdown penetrated the irrational fringe, but you know, they are still stuck on “they closed the parks and monuments!” They’ll probably remain stuck there.

    … and as I’ve said, I don’t think Cruz will be able to squeeze much power or money out of that irrational fringe.

    He’ll go down the memory hole like GWB.

  11. JKB says:

    Well, the whole thing could have been avoided by simply agreeing to a six month delay in the implementation of Obamacare. A program so messed up that Jay Carney, White House press secretary, has stated that in addition to government experts, a number of Silicon Valley experts are working round the clock to try to salvage.

    I wonder how much have a bunch of Silicon Valley experts working round the clock costs? Not to mention the government employees who will be on overtime.

    So you can point out “lost productivity” at the DoD but if you want to know where your budget is going to can you say Obamacare?

  12. john personna says:

    In related news (and I genuinely think it is related), a new report with similar results to those mentioned earlier:

    The U.S. ranks 17th in happiness

  13. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    Jeez dude, can you imagine a mugger saying “well that whole shooting you in the chest could have been avoided, if you’d just handed over your iPhone.”

    Because that is your argument.

  14. john personna says:

    Re the Obamacare computer thing, I’ve been on the consulting team which was dropped in to fix projects gone wrong. More than once. I’ve done that enough times to know that there are no standard answers. Things may be not so bad, medium bad, or very bad. Only time will tell.

    Certainly no external experts, who are not peeling back the code, and reviewing the error logs, examining the schema, have any idea what is going on. Don’t trust “reporter talked to a consultant” BS.

  15. C. Clavin says:

    “…Well, the whole thing could have been avoided by simply agreeing to a six month delay in the implementation of Obamacare…”

    Actually the extortionists called for the complete defunding of Obamacare.
    When it became that wouldn’t fly they started talking about a 1 year delay…never 6 months as far as I can remember.
    The when it became apparent that wouldn’t fly they dropped demands about Obamacare and simply asked that the entire Romney economic plan be instituted.
    But nice try at revising history…all the Republicans are doing it these days.
    Well the whole thing could have been avoided if Republicans simply did their jobs instead of stomping their feet and holding their breathe like little children.
    There….fixed that for you based on facts…not your delusions.

  16. qtip says:

    “Adding people to a late software project just makes it later.”

  17. john personna says:

    @qtip:

    lol, sometimes you’ve got to remove the right people too 😉

  18. qtip says:

    @john personna:

    That quote is from Brooks in the Mythical Man-Month. Another good one from that book is “Nine women can’t make a baby in one month”.

  19. john personna says:

    @qtip:

    Sure, I skimmed that book in the 80’s, while dropping in to fix one of my first disaster projects.

    [edit: Seriously, we could say that there is a “right size” and “right pace” for any given project. A project-gone-wrong may be wrong-sized, on staff and you can fix that, or wrong-paced, which is harder. You can look at the tasks to be done, find what can actually be parallelized, etc.]

  20. anjin-san says:

    @JKB

    I wonder how much have a bunch of Silicon Valley experts working round the clock costs?

    I am going to go with “quite a bit less than 24 billion”…

  21. al-Ameda says:

    @bill:
    It is interesting to note that in 2006, Mr. Obama was not the president. Also – and correct me if I’m wrong – I do not recall then-Senator Obama advocating that the Senate take action to completely obstruct then-President Bush and shut down the government, and possibly force a default over the Debt Ceiling Limit.

  22. al-Ameda says:

    @JKB:

    Well, the whole thing could have been avoided by simply agreeing to a six month delay in the implementation of Obamacare.

    The whole thing could have been avaoided if Republicans actually wanted a genuine negotiation instead of a hostage-crisis.

  23. john personna says:
  24. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @bill: bill, bill, bill…

    You have to understand that you simply aren’t allowed to bring up all the times Obama told us things that were, quite frankly, a crock of shit. We are all supposed to politely nod and pretend that we believe he’s being sincere at the time, and then promptly forget about it once he finds those statements no longer expedient. Obama supporters have been issued Secret Decoder Rings that they use to tell when Obama’s just talking out of his ass to fool the suckers.

    That statement you quoted is one of them.
    Also his years and years of opposing gay marriage.
    And his opposition to Single Payer.
    And his opposition to gun confiscation plans.
    And his pledge to accept public funding for his 2008 campaign.
    And his fairy tale about how the march on Birmingham allowed his parents to marry.

    If you weren’t such a racist hater terrorist Teahadist, you’d have your own Secret Decoder Ring, too, and you’d not keep bringing up these Inconvenient Truths.

  25. C. Clavin says:

    I’m amused by a call for JKB to journey outside his bubble. That’s likely to happen. And I’m going to pick up Kate Upton and take her back to my place tonight.
    People like JKB are afraid to think for themselves…that’s what makes Grifters like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin so successful…they can say almost anything…knowing that the faithful will not question them.
    Obama stood up yesterday and said the Internet Site for Obamacare is not working. Try to imagine something like that from a Republican.
    Bush on Iraq…Mission Accomplished. On Katrina…Heck of a job Brownie. On the Economic Crisis that saw a 9% contraction in GDP during his last quarter…The fundamentals of our economy are strong.
    And the faithful will defend everyone of those claims to this day. Because they exist in their own little bubble of un-reality.

  26. C. Clavin says:

    Jenos…
    It’s apparent from your comment that you see learning, and evolving, and changing your mind as new information comes to light, as really terrible things. And that pretty much explains everything there is to know about you.
    Yell up the basement stairs and say hi to your mom for me.
    Maybe if you’re good she’ll bring you down some more jello.

  27. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I think you should stop and ask yourself if comments like that help the conservative (defined as right of center) cause at all.

    Sure, you show tenuous grip on reality there, and you might use that tenuous grip to excite some liberals … but advance any rational cause?

    I’d say not so much.

  28. john personna says:

    @C. Clavin:

    And I’m going to pick up Kate Upton and take her back to my place tonight.

    I highly recommend “Blackadder: Back & Forth” (though that was Kate Moss).

  29. Tony W says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The shutdown was about eliminating Obamacare…not about debt.

    Ah, I had not heard that the Republicans finally came to an agreement about what it was about. I remember it starting out with some overnight blathering on about Obamacare, then something about oil pipelines and was it birth certificates? – or maybe it was killing babies or something, can’t recall…just had not heard where they ended up in the end.

  30. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Obama supporters have been issued Secret Decoder Rings that they use to tell when Obama’s just talking out of his ass to fool the suckers.

    Speaking of Secret Plans and Decoder Rings: How’s that plan to force a government default going?

  31. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @al-Ameda: Speaking of Secret Plans and Decoder Rings: How’s that plan to force a government default going?

    Beats me. I wasn’t one the side that said Give Us ObamaCare or we torch the whole effing government. What did your Secret Decoder Ring tell you?

  32. C. Clavin says:

    “…I wasn’t one the side that said Give Us ObamaCare or we torch the whole effing government…”

    See…delusions. A world view built upon fiction.
    Did mommy bring you more jello? What flavor did you have?

  33. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: I saw your namesake (well, the actor who portrayed him) on TV this morning. He’s doing a lot of good work, promoting decent causes and helping out little guys.

    Pity you can’t emulate John Ratzenberger, and come across as a really, really stupid imitation of Cliff Clavin, the loser know-it-all-wannabee who lives with his mother.

  34. C. Clavin says:

    Yes Jenos…when you can’t respond with facts…more delusions

  35. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Cliffy… for me to even consider giving you a substantive response, you have to say something substantive for me to respond to.

    And I, quite frankly, don’t think you’re constitutionally capable of such a thing.

    Go ahead and refute the bullshit statements Obama’s passed off that I alluded to. Hell, I’ll toss in his accusation that doctors perform unnecessary amputations and tonsillectomies purely for profit — that was a classic.

    Or you can go vague and put on totally-unjustified pretensions of adequacy and try to pull off snide condescension. That’s almost amusing.

  36. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Go ahead and refute the bullshit statements Obama’s passed off that I alluded to.

    If you admit that your claims were bullshit, there isn’t anything left for us to do.

    (I missed the big gun confiscation, myself. It must have bypassed California.)

  37. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna :

    In 1996, Obama signed a questionnaire where he endorsed the complete ban on handguns in Illinois. The exact wording:

    35. Do you support state legislation to:
    a. ban the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns? Yes.
    b. ban assault weapons? Yes.
    c. mandatory waiting periods and background checks? Yes.

    But like the others, that statement became inoperative when it became politically inconvenient.

    I’m working only own version of the Secret Decoder Ring. Basically, when Obama issues two conflicting statements or espouses two different positions on an issue, I assume that the more liberal one is the honest one, while the more moderate one is just to gull the rubes. So far, it’s been pretty accurate (for a home-made kludge, which means that it’s correct more than 50% of the time).

  38. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    None of those things is confiscation, except to a madman.

  39. john personna says:

    (I forgot, to a madman *everything* equals confiscation.)

  40. anjin-san says:

    gun confiscation plans.

    @ Jenos

    Five years in with Obama, and my guns are still in the ol’ gun safe. Maybe the Obama thugs and minions missed my house somehow.

    Beats me. I wasn’t one the side that said Give Us ObamaCare or we torch the whole effing government.

    Obamacare is the law. It’s a fact. I mean, even you are not confused enough to believe this BS.

    @ C. Clavin

    In a recent conversation with Jenos, he mentioned that his mother is deceased. He is a large target, there are probably other areas to bust his chops.

  41. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: ObamaCare is the law. Like the Defense of Marriage Act. Like the War Powers Act. Or the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921.

    Once Obama set the precedent that The Law only means what he wants it to mean, when he wants it to mean it, the argument that “Obamacare is the law” kind of fell apart.

    And if you wanna engage in petty personal attacks to the exclusion of actual discussion of issues… whatever. While you seek opportunities to get your panties in a wad, I ignore that crap.

    Finally… Obama signed off on supporting the banning of “the manufacture, sale and possession of handguns.” That he hasn’t tried is doesn’t change his beliefs.

    Kind of like how Mitt Romney said he was personally pro-life, but would uphold the law as it stood. (Unlike Obama, come to think of it.) He still got slammed as a militant pro-life zealot who would do anything he could to ban abortion.

    So… with Romney, it’s his beliefs; his actions were irrelevant. With Obama, it’s his actions that matter, and his beliefs are irrelevant.

    Nope, no double standard there. Just typical left-wing hypocrisy.

  42. An Interested Party says:

    I wasn’t one the side that said Give Us ObamaCare or we torch the whole effing government.

    No, you were just the one siding with those who said, “Kill ObamaCare or we torch the whole effing government!”

    Well, the stupid fu@ks tried but failed miserably…better luck next time…

  43. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @An Interested Party: Actually, both sides took the absolutist stance. This should be blindingly obvious; if both hadn’t, there never would have been such a showdown.

    However, my side blinked first; they were the ones to allow the government to re-open the 1/6 that was being affected by the shutdown. Your side was the one that held out to the bitter end, ready to shoot the hostage of the entire federal government to protect ObamaCare.

    Which is just working out wonderfully, isn’t it?

    That’s no great surprise. It was engineered to fail; its only purpose is to kill the old system off first, so then the only remaining solution is single payer.

    Which Obama repeatedly declared he opposed, as I recall…

  44. An Interested Party says:

    Your side was the one that held out to the bitter end, ready to shoot the hostage of the entire federal government to protect ObamaCare.

    Obviously your side is bad at messaging too, as most people see the Republicans as the extortionists, not the Democrats…

  45. anjin-san says:

    Actually, both sides took the absolutist stance.

    True. Obama said he absolutely would not negotiate with terrorists.

    I’m not sure what your story is. Perhaps you have no real net worth. Certainly any rational person with assets to protect was alarmed by the tea party threat to tank the economy.

  46. JKB says:

    @anjin-san:

    Really? Given what was reported to build the Obamacare exchange disaster they’ve spent 5000 programmer man-years at $200/hr.

    Sounds to me, like all failed government programs, it is time to send in the auditors. See where all that money really went.

  47. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    5000 programmer man-years at $200/hr.

    And of course you have a cite from a credible source documenting this that you want to share.

    like all failed government programs, it is time to send in the auditors. See where all that money really went

    Perhaps you can direct us at some of your comments demanding an accounting for the hundreds of billions down the Iraq rat hole during the last administration. Then you might have a tad of credibility in the area of government waste.

  48. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @anjin-san: Perhaps you can direct us at some of your comments demanding an accounting for the hundreds of billions down the Iraq rat hole during the last administration. Then you might have a tad of credibility in the area of government waste.

    Aaaaand annie brings out his magic trump card: when all else fails, try to change the subject to Iraq and try to shut them up when he realizes he’s getting his ass handed to him.

    Dude, has that ever worked once for you? Or do you keep trying it, hoping that this time it might actually achieve something?

  49. JKB says:

    @anjin-san:

    Building a country in the face of an armed terror network, building a computer system to permit one-stop shopping for healthcare offerings, equal undertakings.

  50. john personna says:

    @JKB:

    The government is not building a one-stop shopping program in its entirety. It is building a coordination piece, which gathers user data, sends it in real-time(*) to private insurance companies, expects their answers in real time, and presents the collected data to users for comparison.

    If the government site is getting millions of hits, it is sending millions of packets to insurers, and waiting for millions of responses.

    For what it’s worth, when I helped someone the system stuck at the “waiting for insurers” stage.

    * – based on my view of the California system

  51. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: Yeah. We should have given at least half a billion dollars and 3.5 years to that project.

    Wait, we did…

    Oh, it’s the fault of the private sector contractor? The contractor who was fired by the Canadian government for failing, who was given a no-bid contract for this job?

    As I read somewhere else… you can delegate power, but not responsibility.

  52. fred says:

    Notwithstanding the glitches on Obamacare website which we all decry Obamacare as a politcy is already a success. Thousands of Americans who never in their lives had health insurance now have it and when youngsters sign up in the coming months they can stop worrying about paying medical bills for the rest of their lives if they come down with a catastrophic illness.

  53. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I don’t think you really understood my comment.

    Remember that “Obamacare,” formerly known as “Romenycare” is a public-private partnership.

    It is not actually a National Health Program.

    And thus, the burden of making it work will be shared, public and private.

    (A lot of wingers seem to be thinking that this is a purely governmental thing, and that no private companies have responsibility, responsibility that they designed in, when they suggested a market-oriented solution.)

  54. john personna says:

    Really, seriously, given that this is the conservative plan, you should be trying like hell to make it work, before genuinely socialist solutions come in to replace it.

    Found on the internet, but I think correct:

    Noted non-socialists like Bob Dole, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Trent Lott, and Jesse Helms had co-sponsored bills including an individual mandate. More recently, Lamar Alexander, Mike Crapo, Bob Corker, Judd Gregg, Norm Coleman and Lott had been supporting the Healthy Americans Act, which contained mandates.

    Jim DeMint endorsed Romney for president in ’08, explaining on Fox and Friends that RomneyCare was “something that I think we should do for the whole country”. Grassley explained in June 2009 that he supported an individual mandate because “That’s individual responsibility and even Republicans believe in individual responsibility.” He also pointed out, “I believe that there is a bipartisan consensus to have individual mandates.”

  55. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: I have never understood why anyone would make that argument. It seems to be based on appeal to authority — “if all those people say it’s a good idea, why, then, I need to set aside my own judgment and defer to theirs!” It also requires us to forget that it passed with only half a Republican vote — the one Republican who gave it any kind of support voted against the final package, and was tossed out of office for even that.

    Plus, that opens it up to criticism that it’s like a lot of Obama policies — he took a bad GOP idea, stripped out the few good parts, cranked up the bad stuff to 11, and then pushed like hell to get it past. Recall the initial defenses of Fast & Furious? They tried to say it was just an extension of a Bush-era policy that failed because the safeguards didn’t work. Under Obama, they took away even those safeguards when they tried it again.

    The majority of people either support or oppose ObamaCare on its own merits and flaws, regardless of where the concepts came from. Trying to make the origins more important than the implementation simply makes no sense — unless you’re trying to confuse the issue and change the subject. And if that’s the case, it’s not even a good attempt at that.

  56. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Building a country

    Ah, we “built a country?” WellI suppose you could say we built a shiny new pro-Iran state.

    So you position is if we are engaged in combat, there does not need to be any accounting for how the government is spending the taxpayers money? I see.

  57. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    brings out his magic trump card

    Yes I did – commentators should, if they are to be taken seriously, have some consistency and logic in their arguments over time – not simply grasp on to any straw that they feel assists them with the expedience of the moment.

    Sorry, this obviously does not concern you. Why don’t you get back to your audit of scenic turnouts in the Dakotas?

  58. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    like all failed government programs, it is time to send in the auditors.

    Building a country in the face of an armed terror network, building a computer system to permit one-stop shopping for healthcare offerings, equal undertakings.

    I don’t think all means what you think it does. Or maybe you just mean “all Obama programs”…

  59. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    magic trump card

    Fast & Furious

    I’m still on my morning coffee, and you have already nuked today’s irony meter 🙂

    Not to worry, I am sure you still have BENGHAZI!!!! up your sleeve.

  60. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It also requires us to forget that [Obamacare] passed with only half a Republican vote — the one Republican who gave it any kind of support voted against the final package

    I thought we already agreed the GOP opposed Obamacare for craven political reasons as they had no substantive policy disagreements. So I don’t think this fact makes the GOP look good at all.

  61. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I think you missed my whole point:

    “And thus, the burden of making it work will be shared, public and private.”

    Conservatives wanted that public/private plan, and now they (you) pretend that it is a governmental plan, solely.

  62. john personna says:

    Shorter conservatives today:

    “It is government’s fault if this public/private partnership fails.”

  63. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: I thought we already agreed the GOP opposed Obamacare for craven political reasons as they had no substantive policy disagreements. So I don’t think this fact makes the GOP look good at all.

    What you mean “we,” white man?

    You bozos all might have decided that amongst yourselves, but I don’t recall ever going along with that. Nor the people who voted against it ever admitting it.

  64. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: Conservatives wanted that public/private plan, and now they (you) pretend that it is a governmental plan, solely.

    the “private” part of that, in this case, was a no-bid contract awarded to a company with a very recent record of failure. Which makes me wonder just what kinds of campaign donations that company made.

    “Crony capitalism” seems to be the Obama administration’s preferred form of capitalism.

  65. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You disliking the fact that there are no actual policy objections to Obamacare from the GOP doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

    That’s why the GOP keeps accidentally proposing to replace Obamacare with Obamacare.

  66. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: I speak for myself, and I have plenty of objections based on principles that would be considered conservative. (I prefer to think of them as common-sense based.) What I find so tiresome and pointless is the constant repetition that “ObamaCare is/was a conservative concept.”

  67. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I’m not claiming it was a conservative policy, I’m claiming the GOP doesn’t have substantive policy objections to Obamacare. The GOP’s problem with Obamacare is simply that it’s a Democratic proposal. Hence the hysterical complaints about it that have no relation to reality. They have to invent nonsense like death panels because they don’t really disagree with the policy.

  68. Moosebreath says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “What I find so tiresome and pointless is the constant repetition that “ObamaCare is/was a conservative concept.””

    And what I find tiresome and pointless is the constant denial of it by conservatives who think just because they are fed lies and swallow them whole means that everyone else does, too.

  69. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The contractors who built the website are actually one of the less important private players.

    The important players are the private insurance companies who are supposed to be supplying estimates for coverage in real time.

    [and then of course, those private insurance companies are supposed to supply me health coverage, the important bit.]

  70. john personna says:

    Remember, there is no “public option.”

    A group of House Democrats are surfacing the health care public option as a way of reducing the deficit, revisiting an approach suggested by President Obama’s debt commission in 2010.

    According to a Tuesday statement from Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s (D-Ill.) office, Schakowsky, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), and 43 other House members have introduced the Public Option Deficit Reduction Act, which would “would offer the choice of a publicly-run health insurance plan, an option that would save more than $100 billion over 10 years.”

  71. al-Ameda says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Once Obama set the precedent that The Law only means what he wants it to mean, when he wants it to mean it, the argument that “Obamacare is the law” kind of fell apart.

    Exactly, Republicans defined the government shutdown as whatever they wanted it to be – non-essential fun stuff, like monuments and parks frequented by Vets and people with cute puppies? OPEN, non-essential stuff not frequented by Vets or people with cute puppies? CLOSED.

  72. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @David M: There have been plenty of arguments that denounced ObamaCare on principle, and if you wish, I can repeat a few of them. But I really don’t see the point. For one, it’s unlikely to change any minds. For another, we’re discussing two different points — I’m saying that there are very solid Conservative arguments against ObamaCare, and you’re saying that you don’t recall any conservatives making such principled arguments. I’m willing to discuss the former, but I don’t really care about the latter. As I said before, it seems a totally pointless exercise to me.

    @john personna: It’s the web site that’s having the problems now, it’s the web site that cost over half a billion dollars over the last 3.5 years, and it’s the web site that wasn’t even alpha tested until a week before it was supposed to go live. I think that indicates that the problems are related to a lack of data.

  73. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You can talk about website problems, but to say the website is obamacare is a little like saying the shutdown was all about parks and monuments.

    BTW, Ross Douthat:

    Why Not Medicaid For All?

  74. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @john personna: It’s not ObamaCare in its entirety, but it sure as hell is foreshadowing just what a mess the real thing is going to be.

    The smartest thing to do would be to postpone the individual mandate until the can work out all the bugs (which I don’t think is possible, but that’s beside the point), but that would screw up the plan — postpone the employer mandate but keep the individual mandate to force a lot of people into the exchanges and get the money rolling.

  75. john personna says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Well, as I say, the website, the exchange, is not the insurance.

    So its bugs don’t matter so much.

    Even if you have to call and get insurance manually, you can, and then you have insurance with a private company (or non-profit).

  76. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    There have been plenty of arguments that denounced ObamaCare on principle, and if you wish, I can repeat a few of them.

    Seems highly unlikely, given the common GOP complaints about Obamacare. “death panels”, “government takeover of health care”, “stole a bajillion dollars from Medicare”, “IPAB rationing”, “part-time jobs”, “increases the deficit”, “obamacare exemption for Congress”, “unconstitutional”, “repeal and replace“, “no republican input”, “16000 new IRS agents”, “largest tax hike in history”

  77. David M says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    It’s not ObamaCare in its entirety, but it sure as hell is foreshadowing just what a mess the real thing is going to be.

    That kind of makes no sense at all, given the other parts of the law and state exchanges are working OK. Seems like the obvious conclusion would be the opposite.

  78. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    but it sure as hell is foreshadowing just what a mess the real thing is going to be

    Well sure. Remember how the Apollo 1 tragedy foreshadowed the ultimate failure of the Apollo program? We should have known right then and there that it was not possible for men to go to the moon.

    You have to love the can-do spirit of the tea party – when the going gets tough, whine, whine, whine. Then quit.

    If these knuckleheads had been around in the 1770’s, we would all be getting ready to sing God Save the Queen before game one of the cricket championship.

  79. Tony W says:

    @anjin-san: Indeed, Republicans have become the party of “America is not good enough to accomplish hard things”.