‘Faraway’ debate does have impact on region

There’s another budget battle brewing in the nation’s capital, with ramifications for everyone, including those in our state, region and towns. The division between the Republican-controlled House and President Obama (and the Democratic-controlled Senate) are deep.

House Republicans announced Wednesday that they will move to raise the federal government’s borrowing limit, but not without attaching priorities. For instance, they want to stop Obamacare – the nation’s new health care law – from being implemented. This goes beyond the political fact that the new law is unpopular. It is unpopular for a reason: It is a pending disaster for businesses and individuals. Stopping Obamacare is the right thing to do.

Republicans also want to ensure construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and begin the process of reforming the nation’s tax code, which is an extraordinary mess of giveaways, breaks and favoritism.

Obama spoke Wednesday about the need to avoid a government shutdown over these issues, and to maintain the full faith and credit of the United States by making sure it pays its bills on time. He is complaining that Republican use of the debt-ceiling to create debate on other issues is unprecedented. Be that as it may, he is not helpless. He could act in the nation’s interests, rather than his own, by pledging to work with Republicans. Obama likes to talk about his ideologically driven opponents. Which blinds him when they are right.

All of this matters to our area because an actual government shutdown would impact a variety of government services. But that is only the immediate effect. If the long-term issues of runaway spending, an inefficient tax code and the burdens of Obamacare are not addressed, the nation will stagnate, and that affects all of us.