Shutdown Solutions and Perspectives
Source Newsroom: Cornell University
The government “shutdown" that began early Tuesday is prompting waves of finger pointing, doomsday predictions – and some unexpected impacts. Three Cornell University experts add their unique perspectives to this complicated issue.
Sharon Poczter: Government shut down, partisan brinksmanship reigns: It’s Groundhog Day again
Sharon Poczter, managerial economics expert, syndicated columnist and assistant professor at the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University, discusses how the partisan brinksmanship and bickering continues to erode the credibility of U.S. lawmakers.
“Today’s government shutdown – and the partisan bickering that brought us here – shows that both parties share a common characteristic: they are committed to reprising their roles in the same political Telenovela that has helped keep the U.S. economy in a state of Groundhog Day for the past five years.
“This is the fourth time in the past three years that congress played chicken with issues billed as economically life-threatening. Remember when the world would supposedly end with the sequester? How about the time when we were going to fall off a fiscal cliff into an economic abyss?
“For this latest game of congressional chicken, the best prediction is that markets understand the lack of credibility of U.S. political leaders. Yet this game playing could extend the wait-and-see reaction of employers that has restricted post-financial crisis growth.
“The worst case scenario: East Asian creditors’ faith in the strength of U.S. debt will balloon as they watch the political brinksmanship play out in the U.S.
Michael Dorf: Shutdown Solution: Recast ‘Obamacare’ as ‘Republicare’
Michael Dorf, a constitutional law expert and professor of law at Cornell University, discusses the congressional deadlock over the Affordable Care Act – popularly called ‘Obamacare’ and suggests a ‘Plan B’ for avoiding an impending debt-ceiling calamity.
“With the government shut down and the fear of a default looming as we approach the debt ceiling deadline in two weeks, it's time to start getting nervous for real. I continue to think that the easiest solution to the impasse would be for Speaker Boehner to abandon the Hastert Rule and bring a clean continuing resolution and a clean debt-ceiling increase to the House floor for a vote, but lately he has shown no apparent interest in doing so.
“I have a possible way out of the mess: Republicans said the same sorts of things about Social Security and Medicare that they're now saying about the Affordable Care Act. But once those programs became politically sacrosanct, they portrayed themselves as the defenders of these same programs. Why not do the same thing with Affordable Care Act? Stop calling it Obamacare and start calling it ‘Republicare.’ After all, conservatives more or less invented the program back in the 1990s as a market-based alternative to Hillarycare.
“So how about it GOP? Instead of committing political suicide and taking down the global economy with you, why not declare victory? Just take credit for the ACA and we can fight about something we actually disagree about.”
Xin Li: Shutdown will impact local and Library of Congress
Xin Li, associate university librarian for Cornell’s Central Library Operations, discusses how the shutdown will impact the Library of Congress – and those who depend on it:
“Library of Congress impacts users in two profound ways, directly and indirectly. In 2011-2012, it circulated 987,000 volumes, provided 540,000 references, and held library sessions that 216,000 people attended. Every day the Library of Congress is closed, there are hundreds or thousands of users directly impacted.
“But its reach is far beyond what users can see. For example, almost all major research libraries in the U.S. rely on Library Congress’ tools to catalog materials. Without cataloging them, users don’t know they exist. Luckily, right now, these tools are available and functioning so our work can go on as usual. But if there were a technical glitch during the shutdown, many of us will be impacted!”