With the financial challenges escalating in Congress, business leaders weigh in showing little support of a healthy economy. It seems that many business leaders still feel very uneasy about the climate they are in as the Republican Party continues to try and hold the country hostage.
The newest point of contention for our Legislative leaders is the Affordable Healthcare Act, aka ‘Obamacare’, and the looming potential of shutting down the government. There is a deadline looming, Oct. 1st to be precise, that needs to be addressed. Congress needs to vote to either keep funding the government as it is, which means the GOP hated Obamacare, and raising the debt limit, or force the government to shutdown. Without the flow of money, it could be a horrible blow to our still weak economy.
At this point, according to Wonkbook reported in the Washington Post, the issue with the Republican Party has to do with “Collective-action problems.” This is defined as a “smart-for-one, dumb-for-all” kind of problem where Republicans have to appeal to their constituents and backers. Which often means appearing to disagree with something, even if it hurts the larger body, and prevents legislations from actually being passed. In the past, strong leadership has helped balance the struggle of collective-action with self-interest by cajoling, bribing with a plumb seat on a committee, or down right intimidation. That no longer seems effective with the way that Tea Party representatives are so quickly replaced when they appear to “cave in.”
At this point, Republican leaders are hoping that by allowing other party members to run around trying to shove gutting Obamacare down Democratic throats, that it will tied them over and allow everyone to work on actually continuing to have a functioning government. It is the hope of leaders like Representative John Bohner that the attempted fight will make it easier to pass legislation for the continued functioning of the government, such that it is.
“You have never in the history of the United States seen the threat of not raising the debt ceiling to extort a president or a governing party,” President Obama said at the Business Rountable. “It’s irresponsible.”
The greatest threat is that Republican representatives seem almost anxious to shutdown the government over the healthcare bill, something Democrats are equally looking forward to. Not because it will stop the government from functioning, but because it will show to the world, and the American people, that the Republican party can no longer function at all.
Business leaders seem to agree that the unsteady political situation, as well as rumors that the Federal Reserve is going to scale back its bond buying program, leaves them trying to play things very safe. In fact during the Business Roundtable, the quarterly index of CEO’s outlook on economic measures fell to 79.1 in the third quarter from 84.3 in the previously reported quarter. While any reading above 50 may suggests economic growth, it is still very slow.
“While U.S. business performance remains strong, as evidenced by robust recovery in the automotive sector, business leaders still see headwinds preventing a more sustained, robust recovery,” stated chairman of the Business Roundtable, Jim McNerney.
The Business Roundtable is an association representing over 200 CEO’s that has been conducting surveys for the past 11 years. This quarter’s survey results from the association is based on 134 responses received between Aug. 16 and Sept. 6.
We have before us another standoff, with the Republican Party holding the government hostage to get their agendas past; agendas that are set by huge corporations and lobbyists. It would seem that we are at a crossroads that is going to decide how our political process continues to work.
On an interview with John Stewart on the Daily Show this past Monday night (Sept. 16), Robert Reich talked about his upcoming film Inequality for All. He mentioned how American’s always have a revolution that changes the fundamental process of governance. Reich sited the financial and political crises of the early 20th century along with the 1930’s and the 1960’s, all culminated with deep changes to the laws and political processes. None of these crises were overcome with a war or increased defense spending, but with human action for human decency. It seems that this moment in our history is no less so.
A great quote from Winston Churchill, repeated by Reich, “American’s can always be counted on to do the right thing… after they have exhausted all other possibilities.”
With the rise of grass roots activism we are seeing the same actions we witnessed in the 1960’s that helped mold and change the political process. This is not the first time that America has struggled with class divisions and economic disparity. We will overcome and change it as we have in the past, with participation and activism in the political process. Nothing is more powerful than our voices.
In the constantly shifting winds of the political and economic climate it seems that even business owners, of large and wealthy companies, see the political turmoil and refuse to move forward. With the Republican Party continuing to hold the country hostage, how can anyone, let alone business leaders and CEOs, feel anything but uneasy?
Written by: Iam Bloom