By Paul Thornton
12:51 PM EDT, September 30, 2013
The president's Affordable Care Act may be unpopular, and Americans may be wary about raising the debt ceiling — but shut down the federal government?
Polls show that Americans don't want that to happen, and our readers' opinions reflect that.
As the government appears headed for a shutdown on midnight Tuesday — with Congress deadlocked on a spending bill that would keep federal agencies running but delay the implementation of Presidential Obama's healthcare reform law for one year — most readers are expressing disbelief at the dysfunction in Washington. Although a handful of the several dozen readers that have sent us letters say they don't like the Affordable Care Act, only one (posted below) says "yea" to shutting down the government to stop the law's implementation.
And the others? As with the nearly month-long shutdown in the 1990s during the Clinton administration, most are blaming members of Congress for this mess, not the president.
Here is a selection of those letters.
Carol J. Smith of Cerritos speaks up for government employees:
"I was a federal employee during the 1995-96 federal government shutdown, during which the employees and the bills of our federal government went unpaid. Most people are unaware of the terrible cost that was paid by many federal workers during the total of 28 days that their wages were withheld.
"Thousands of federal employees work at low salaries and keep the everyday work of the federal government running. These employees live paycheck-to-paycheck and have few resources to fall back on when their salaries are held hostage to politics in Congress. Since their services are essential for the operation of the federal government, many of them were not furloughed during the shutdown but instead were required to continue to work without pay.
"For members of Congress, the only thing that is essential is winning at politics. And they can continue to receive their salaries during a shutdown."
Doug Fenwick of Pacific Palisades says the GOP is acting out of anti-Obama animus:
"It is unfair to label the tea party Republicans in the House as traitorous anarchists who don't care about what is good for the country. These people believe heart and soul that the worst thing that can happen to America is for Obamacare and the Obama administration to succeed, thus moving the country forward under the wrong leadership.
"And they are willing to strive and sacrifice to keep this from happening, even to the extent of sacrificing the GOP."
Fernando J. Guiterrez of North Hollywood, a former Democrat, says bring on the shutdown:
"Last Saturday I received a notice from Kaiser Permanente informing me that I am lucky to have my premium raised by 46.2% in 2014.
"My plan did not conform to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, so Kaiser is putting me in a plan that will raise my deductible from $6,000 to $9,500 per year and boost my doctor visit co-pay from $40 to $60.
"This is not what I was expecting. In fact, I was expecting my premium of $376 a month to go down. Now it's going to be almost $550 (such a bargain). I am almost 63 and all I need is the GOP to delay Obamacare two more years so I can get on Medicare.
"I will be one of the people scrambling this week to find an affordable health plan. My affordable healthcare is not so affordable anymore. Maybe the GOP was right. Shut it down."
Redondo Beach resident Steve Stillman considers a nuclear option:
"Instead of passing a bill to delay the Affordable Care Act, House Republicans should pass a bill requiring our armed forces to nuke it.
"Sound stupid? Well so does shutting down the government and wrecking our economy."
Jeff Pollak of La Crescenta channels a certain former GOP presidential nominee:
"Are we absolutely sure that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was talking about the Dodgers when he complained about a 'no-class act by a bunch of overpaid, immature, arrogant, spoiled brats'?
"Seems to me his fellow Republicans in the House of Representatives fit the description much better than some overly exuberant ballplayers."
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