Politicians are indeed a strange bunch. To be honest, I have long since given up. I don’t think that I would ever understand how far they are willing to go. Some years back I read that one politician in an opposition party explained that his party’s job is simply to oppose. So I guess that is exactly what happened late last week when the US House of Representatives voted for the 40th time (I’m not joking) to try to repeal Obamacare. This time its repeal is tied to an effort to (again) raise the debt ceiling.
Speaking of the debt ceiling, we all know that Congress hasn’t made enough effort to address the budget woes. In a blog on Forbes website that I was reading yesterday, it was pointed out that the House and Senate went on summer break knowing that they would return on September 9, just a few weeks before the deadline, without any serious proposals on the table. Unfortunately this is not surprising given that the current Congress have only passed a handful of public laws. The rate of passage actually puts them on a path to accomplish only half as many as last year’s Congress – and that Congress pushed through fewer laws than any Congress since World War II. Seriously?
So the Republican dominated House passed the debt ceiling bill but tying it to a requirement that Obamacare be defunded. We all know that there is no way that the Democrat controlled Senate would let that pass. Even if for some miraculous reason it gets past the Senate, President Obama has said that he would veto it. At this point an October 2013 government shutdown does seem inevitable.
November 1995’s budget impasse led to a five-day shutdown with a second shutdown in December 1995 which lasted 21 days. Then as now, disagreements about health care issues played a key role in that budget dispute. Back then, President Clinton reported that the combined shutdowns cost taxpayers $1.5 billion and resulted in widespread confusion for taxpayers and for government workers. The December 1995 shutdown furloughed an estimated “non-essential” 260,000 federal employees; to put that into perspective, that workforce is roughly the size of the entire city of Lincoln, Nebraska. Another 475,000 “essential” federal employees continued to work but were not paid for their work until the shutdown was over. It is believed that a similar scenario would likely play out with an October 2013 shutdown.
Among the areas that would potentially be impacted would be the processing of visas and passports. Back in 1995, between 20,000 and 30,000 applications by foreigners for visas went unprocessed each day of the furlough and 200,000 U.S. applications for passports went unprocessed.
We can hope that cooler heads would prevail but that seems to be an unrealistic expectation at this time. The battle lines have been drawn around Obamacare and the war rages with a zeal that can only be described as religious.
In another show of distrust but this time in the international arena, the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff announced publicly the creation of a world internet system INDEPENDENT from the so-called US and Britain centric internet.
While the immediate trigger for President Rousseff’s decision to cancel a summit with President Obama was the revelations on NSA spying, the alternative internet system has been planned for a while now. The so-called BRICS cable from Vladivostock, Russia to Shantou, China to Chennai, India to Cape Town, South Africa to Fortaleza, Brazil, is actually, in its final phase of implementation.
The cable interconnects with regional and other continental cable systems in Asia, Africa and South America for improved global coverage. It also would give immediate access to 21 African countries and give those African countries access to the BRICS economies. It is expected to be launched by the second half of 2015.
Ms. Rousseff is urging Brazil’s Congress to compel Facebook, Google and other US companies to store all data generated by Brazilians on servers physically located inside Brazil in order to shield it from the NSA. It is expected that other nations will follow meaning that Silicon Valley’s bottom line would be hit by lost business and higher operating costs. Not to mention, it would potentially lead to even more political interference on the cyber lives of us citizens.
Federal Tax Singapore
Experts point out that international spies, not just from the United States but elsewhere, will simply adjust. After all, the NSA has reportedly tapped into undersea telecoms cables for decades.
The politics of distrust, nevertheless continues. Read more on DerrenJoseph.blogspot.com