Ok this is for all you guys that don’t watch House Of Cards or The West Wing or don’t have a degree in American politics, which I’m guessing is most of you. There’s a good chance even if you do watch those shows you might not fully understand what’s going on in the American government now anyway – let’s be serious, most people who watch House Of Cards only really do it for Zoe Barnes – and hopefully this article can enlighten you a little bit. The whole process is a bit complicated though so make sure you’re not baked when you’re reading this as it might go over your head.
There are basically two issues that have led to the shutdown of the federal government. The first is the new ObamaCare $1 trillion overhaul of the American medical system that will basically guarantee all Americans medical care and completely revolutionise the way that they will receive and pay for treatment. The bill will literally provide healthcare coverage for the 32 million Americans who currently can’t afford it through a bunch of complicated new mandates, subsidies, tax breaks and a bunch of other words and processes I don’t really understand. The important thing about this though is that it’s actually happening. If only Walter White had contracted cancer a few years later…
Unsurprisingly, the Republican party weren’t happy about the fact that 1/6th of the American economy was going to be reshaped due to this bill passing and even though it was signed in early 2010, they continued to vehemently oppose it calling it a costly, wrongheaded government power grab. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much they could do about it, although a glimmer of hope did appear in their eyes when they managed to wrestle back control of the House of Representatives from the Democrats towards the end of 2010. This due to the general population’s dissatisfaction with the Democrat’s inability to tackle the unemployment problem. Some members of the far right Tea Party were also elected at this point who are pretty much opposed to everything and always angry and would make this whole situation even more exasperated.
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This is important because of the checks and balances system that is in place within the United States political system. Basically, when the Founding Fathers were drawing up their blueprint for government, they looked at all the other political systems in the world that they knew about and decided to create a system that eliminated all the problems of politics and would enable the concept of governance.
To do this they ensured that not one leg of the government ever had all encompassing power and so in order to pass laws each arm of the government – the House of Representatives, the Senate and the President (The Supreme Court also has some powers but that isn’t important right now) – have to debate and come to some sort of compromise that they all agree on. The bills then have to pass through each house a couple of times before they are presented to the President and are signed and ratified and eventually become law.
They need a majority to pass through a house so it is possible that if a party that was in control of a house and was in opposition to the President or the other house, then it would be very easy to block a bill unless some compromise was made. The idea behind this was that the best interests of the people would be served and this would lead to the best nation possible.
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