Elegant and Sophisticated: Not This Tea Party

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Speaker John Boehner stepping down means the drama is heating up.

It started a few years ago when the Tea Party Republicans came to Washington.  Back then, actor, singer-songwriter and social activist Harry Belafonte said at the Congressional Black Caucus annual dinner, “Don’t worry about the Tea Party. You know what happens when you put a tea bag in water? (He paused)  It sinks!”

That’s exactly what happened with my party, The Republicans, it’s sunk.

The dysfunction in Washington has disgruntled voters in the party believing three political candidates Trump, Carson or Fiorina with no political experience can fix Washington!

Boehner’s resignation and the drama in DC is going to boil over and show Americans willing to watch, how bad the Tea Party is for America.

That’s what this resignation is about. Boehner wasn’t the problem, he was managing it.

The Tea Party are made up of Americans afraid of change and equal access for all Americans to have Healthcare, immigration reform, programs that help young people forge ahead in education, and women the right to choose what they can or cannot do with their bodies.

Tea Partiers this just in! America isn’t just for you.

Boehner tried to avoid shutting down the government and save you. Why? It isn’t a viable option for the country or the Party!

Tea Party extremists don’t know what Republican stands for. Nor are you what the founding fathers and those who fought for a representative form of government intended when creating Congress.

Republican used to represent the idea “preserving the Republic.” The Tea Party is destroying the Republic with its inflammatory tone, representating “I” not “We”.

Look at history and Abraham Lincoln for an example of a Republican who saved the Union.

Tea Party consider when you want to defund programs that protect women, or not paying employees during a government shutdown that your idea of taking back is grounded in fear. Fear that hit you in the face, when you lost the 2008 and 2012 presidential election that.  Your fear is that America is no longer just for you. And you’re right.

But that’s been the case a long time. The CHANGE was that millions of other Americans finally realized that America was also for them.  America changed long before that election.  It took a bit longer for all to recognize the power of doing it together. That all of us make America wealthier and stronger. This is a lesson now for you to learn.  Without all of us, America is far less wealthier America and not nearly as strong.

Take into consideration three American groups and their spending power, groups you often target.

First, according to Nielson, women contribute between $5 and $15 trillion a year.  In the next decade that is expected to grow to being two thirds of the consumer wealth in America!

Second and third Black/African Americans contribute 1.4 trillion and and Hispanic/Latino $1.6 trillion.

Together that’s $8-18 trillion annually that goes into the U.S. Economy!  Where would itbe without those you attack?  Think the recession last decade was bad? Imagine it without these Americans!

Tea Partiers if you want to defund something, defund oil, not healthcare or organizations targeting and helping women.

If you end oil company subsidies, you would save $16.4 billion a year.  In fact, it would be a smart divestment if you consider, last year in the second quarter, Exxon Mobil had $111.6 billion in revenue and $8.8 billion in profit. For one quarter! That’s half of what all US oil the companies get in subsidies!

On the other hand, Planned Parenthood received $528.4 million last year combined in federal, state and local dollars. It received another $303 million in outside government dollars. $254 million in private donations. And $54 million in other fees and services. The clincher is that because of federal law enacted in 1976, no federal dollars can be used for abortions which is what Congressional members say they’re aiming for to defund the organization! Private donor and foundation dollars do that.

Abortions account for only 3 percent of what the organization does or makes in dollars!  Did you know that?  Surely you didn’t if you want to take more than 50 percent of the organization’s to make a point!

Stop holding Americans hostage and threatening to shutdown the government!

Instead of taking America back and attacking organizations like Planned Parenthood, be the best example for the Nation and move us FORWARD together.

Be the faction of the Republican Party that increases the minimum wage so that more money goes into the U.S. Economy.  And we have stronger families because parents instead of working two, three and four jobs can spend quality time with their children.

Be the party that guarantees equal pay for equal work for women and all Americans!

Be the Party that protects all Americans and make our streets safer by creating policies that end unlawful killings of Americans by police officers.

Be the Party that instead of creating dysfunction, creates opportunities for all.

If the Tea Party does these things and invests in our greatest commodity Americans, instead of divesting and cutting, in twenty years our economy will be stronger for it.  And so will the Party!

If it invests in educational opportunities, it can in one generation lower crime.

Stop wasting time attacking the Affordable Care Act and find ways to invest in a healthier workforce so that we are the healthiest in the World.

More importantly, stay out of the life choices of women.  Stop “being the problem and become the leaders of implementing solutions!”  In other words stop sinking the Party and the country!

Let’s let the Tea Party go back to those who are elegant and sophisticated!

Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm in Washington, DC and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR) and Party Politics (PP). Follow him on Twitter @atibamadyun or Like Atiba Madyun on Facebook.

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How We Got Here: The Path to America’s 2013 Government Shutdown

The government is shutdown, and the world is watching how America treats its citizens in a battle of wills.  As Ezra Klein said, before the clock struck midnight starting the shutdown, “This is all about stopping a law that increases taxes on rich people and reduces subsidies to private insurers in Medicare in order to help low-income Americans buy health insurance. That’s it. That’s why the Republican Party might shut down the government and default on the debt.”

Below is info on the path to the shutdown.  Thank you to the budget expert with experience at the White House Budget Office and U.S. Senate for sharing information used below.

Here is what happened.

  • House and Senate have been fighting about the overall spending levels for months.
  • The Republican controlled House wanted the 2014 budget level at $967 billion for discretionary spending.
  • The Democratic controlled Senate wanted the level at $1,058 billion (to include a plan that replaces sequestration responsibly).
  • Democrats agreed to a level at $986 billion, which is the level of the continuing resolution (CR) that was under debate.
  • Democrats took the compromise even though it is below the desired level, thinking they would have a clean CR without any crazy ideological riders.

Fast forward to this past week.

  • The House passed a CR with a provision defunding the Affordable Care Act – (A law passed four years ago and a law tested by an election and the Supreme Court.)
  • The Senate voted against the CR
  • Senator Ted Cruz held his personal version of a filibuster.
  • The Senate voted, stripping out the ideological riders the House put in and sent a clean CR back to the House.
  • The House did not take up the Senate bill.
  • The House in turn attached more riders that are unacceptable to Senate Democrats.
  • The Senate voted and tabled those amendments, sending a third clean bill back to the House.
  • After more back-and-forth, the House asked to appoint conferees to work out an agreement and negotiate.
  • Leading up to this shutdown for six months, the Senate asked 18 times to appoint conferees for a budget conference.  Every time Republicans objected.
  • Not once has the House voted on a clean CR – which the Senate sent to the House.  Meanwhile, the Senate along with the President made it clear that anything other than a clean CR would not pass the Senate and if it was it would be vetoed by the President.

When the House declined to vote on a clean CR passed by the Senate before midnight Tuesday, the fiscal year ended.  Appropriations lapsed and the government shut down.

So now we wait!

What’s the Fuss About?

The Shutdown arrived at midnight. 

Republican House and Democratic Senate voted on a spending measure that continues to pay military service women and men.  But today, 800,000 federal workers went to work to change voicemails, turn off computers, printers and the lights on the government until Congress agrees on a budget or continuing resolution to keep the government running. 

Republicans and Democrats are far apart on agreeing to a budget or a continuing budget resolution to keep the government working.  Here is where we are.

What Republicans Want or Offer

  • Push ObamaCare “individual mandate” implementation to one year from now.
  • A conference committee between the Senate and the House to negotiate a budget.
  • Separate votes in the House to fund specific entities like veterans, the District of Columbia and veterans affairs.
  • End federally provided health care for the president, members of Congress and their staff while funding the government for 11 weeks.
  • Remove the tax on medical devices that is estimated to raise 30 billion over 10 years to help fund ObamaCare.
  • Anti-ObamaCare amendments.

Tea Party Wants

  • Total elimination of ObamaCare.
  • Not to negotiate with Democrats.

What Democrats Want

  • No Conference committee because they believe it will undermine ObamaCare
  • Keep the medical device tax that Republicans are against.  The tax is expected to provide over 30 billion dollars to help fund ObamaCare.
  • A clean budget that excludes any provision to defund ObamaCare

What We Know

  • 533 Congressional members in the House and Senate continue to be paid during the shutdown. (The 27th amendment prevents Congress from changing its pay.) 
  • The President continues to receive his salary because it is considered mandatory pay.
  • If shutdown goes to late October, disability and pension checks could stop for elderly and ill veterans.
  • 3.3 million injured military veterans could be affected.
  • The Federal Government is the nation’s largest employer.
  • Democrats and Republicans say a spending bill that doesn’t contain ObamaCare stands a good chance of passing with support from moderate Republicans and the Democratic minority.
  • Stock market hasn’t panicked yet.

What We Don’t Know

  • Perhaps the biggest thing we don’t know is, how long this will last.
  • The long term implications to the country’s economic growth.

What this means for the American economy? and how this will impact the World

  • America is the largest economy in the world.  America activity impacts world markets and economies.
  • The Government ran out of money on October 1.
  • It will default October 17th without an agreement, as the nation reaches its debt ceiling (credit limit).  
  • 800,000 federal employees furloughed equaling 1 billion dollars a week in salary.
  • The billion dollars is the pay that goes to federal employees.  That is money that helps drive the economy.  Brian Kessler, economist with Moody’s Analytics predicts, The economic impact could be 10 times greater than the simple calculation of wages lost by federal workers.  His firm estimates that a three to four week shutdown will cost the economy about $55 billion.

    That would mean that the economic impact from a month-long shutdown would be roughly equal to the combined disruption caused by Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, not counting the property damage that accompanied those storms. http://money.cnn.com/2013/09/30/news/economy/shutdown-economic-impact/index.html

  • The Federal Reserve has been operating with low interest rates, the shutdown may mean raising interest rates.  This would be bad for both the American and global economies.

“Showdown to A Government Shutdown”

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Today, minutes wind down on the “showdown to a government shutdown.” The clock ticks as elected officials in Washington guide us toward a rock that could sink the ship.

People like Ted Cruz from the Tea Party took the helm last week to bring attention to defunding ObamaCare. Cruz reminded me of a Harry Belafonte speech I heard a few years ago. In it he said, “Don’t worry about the Tea Party, because you know what happens when you put a tea bag in water?…It sinks!”

The Tea Party is sinking the ship. What many don’t accept is that ObamaCare and raising the country’s credit limit called the debt ceiling is good for Americans and the world economy.

To call ObamaCare immoral is wrong. To lead the country to a shutdown or a to default on the debt ceiling is as immoral as purposely guiding a ship toward a dangerous rock. A ship that responsible elected officials keep trying to guide to smooth waters that will allow the country to strengthen the economy.

Congress has allowed a budget sequester to go too long. Government workers who have been furloughed several days a month, now may not receive any pay at all. If the shutdown occurs what is immoral is that they also may not receive back pay after it ends.

What is immoral is, if we have a shutdown, 800,000 Americans will not receive a paycheck. It means 1.3 million servicemen and women and thousands of essential government workers will work but will not receive a paycheck until the shutdown ends.

As the minutes tick toward midnight, Republicans and Tea Party Republicans have the future of the American people in their hands.

So now we wait!

We Need an Oval Office Address

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In a relationship or friendship, when you’re upset or disappointed with the girlfriend, boyfriend, friend or spouse etc. do you go tell someone else and hope they tell it to the appropriate person? Or do you say it to someone and hope that they tweet it, blog or put it on Facebook!

No, you tell it directly to the person, right? Well, Mr. President WE the PEOPLE need to hear you speak directly to us from the Oval Office on the issue of the debt ceiling and the potential of a government shutdown.

THE PEOPLE have a right to hear it, directly from you.

As the only person in the country voted for by the entire nation, we need to hear from you. We may not agree with everything, but we have to all agree on this, you are THE PRESIDENT of THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA. We need to hear you speak directly to us, not from the EAST ROOM, not from the PRESS ROOM, but from the one stage only you can, THE OVAL OFFICE.

And to your advisors who may think its a bad idea. Fire them! They are hurting you!

From the OVAL OFFICE you speak from a position of strength. It is not the seat of a mediator. It is the seat where you make the most difficult decisions. It is the seat where the leader of our country sits, whether we agree or not.

When you speak from this seat, the Message is directed to your constituents, The American people.

That’s why we need to hear you explain what is going on with the debt ceiling and why you’re taking the position you are to possibly let the government shutdown because your opposition has a bad plan. We need to hear you, from your office, THE OVAL OFFICE where you can best explain why there’s a looming government shutdown and why the opposition’s plan is not in the best interest of the nation.

As a nation some voted for you, some didn’t. Others didn’t vote at all. But as a nation by a popular vote mandate, WE the people elected YOU.

Therefore, we are in this relationship for the long haul. You were elected and reelected because the majority of the nation trusts you. Now trust us with the message and let us decide. Let us hear you, from The Oval Office.