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The weekly Daley: No pain, no gain

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From page A4 | October 11, 2013 | 13 Comments

Lots of elected officials seem surprised that when the government shuts down, unpleasant things come to pass. A friend of mine planned  a cool road trip to the national parks out in Montana, South Dakota and other places with historic sites and parks. He couldn’t get close to Mt. Rushmore or Glacier National Park, got snowed in somewhere and decided to come home through clear areas of Canada. He didn’t know the parks would be closed and he lost out on a nice vacation. No fault on him, just bad timing.

Some legislators evidently didn’t think through the part where a constituent would actually be really inconvenienced by the shutdown or if they did, they determined that the pain was the price others might have to pay for their decisions. No pain, no gain as they say in gyms the world over. How much pain relative to how much gain, of course, is the yardstick by which one measures pain and gain. One person’s pain threshold relative to the perceived gain is really what it’s all about.

The pain that Republicans projected from Obamacare could only be offset by the gain they projected from getting rid of that pain. In other words, to achieve the gain of no-Obamacare, they’d have to inflict the pain of a government shutdown. That meant furloughing nearly a million “non-essential” federal employees (whose toil and service wouldn’t be missed by the majority of Americans, apparently). Non-essential to many if not most of us means those anonymous drones doing research on the sex lives of bears as John McCain loved to point out during the 2008 presidential election. Or the folks who study the entrails of shrimp in the Gulf of Mexico trying to find out levels of toxic waste that can be tolerated before a cataclysm ends shrimp life as we know it. Compared to the pain of Obamacare, that’s pretty non-essential, they had to assume. One must also assume that they didn’t really consider the potential for pain from not being able to access specialized treatment from the institutes of health. Better that pain now for the few than the pain of the many from Obamacare later, they had to believe.

The pain of thousands of foreign tourists not being able to go to the Smithsonian Museums was acceptable. They don’t vote, so they don’t count. The pain of hundreds of WWII vets not getting into their monument in D.C. evidently was not acceptable and hadn’t even been thought of, evidently. And that particular pain, call it the pain heard round the country and across the generations suddenly began to hit home.

“Whatever we do, we’d better not do that,” they said. “The gain to us from that pain is just not worth it. This could make us look really bad. We’d better change the rules. Non-essentials get furloughed and lose their pay. Military on active duty get paid. Period, no more exceptions. But what about the death benefits for soldiers coming back from Afghanistan in flag-draped coffins? The government is supposed to pay for those benefits. We’ll look really bad if we don’t make that exception. But no more exceptions. Well, unless they are things that would make us look really bad. We can’t shut down the air traffic control people. Ouch. That would hurt too much. And we’d better re-open that Women-Infant-Child nutrition thing or we’ll look like we’re trying to starve poor women, infants and children. But no more exceptions. And we’d better make it so all those nearly a million federal employees get paid pretty soon down the road, otherwise their pain may come back to bite us. And what if somebody got really sick or died from bad meat or fish because the federal inspectors weren’t on the job. Actually, maybe those people are essential after all. But no more exceptions. And we still have to get the president to negotiate.”

If the president won’t negotiate by deferring the Individual Mandate just in the interest of fairness to match the deferral granted to businesses, maybe we ought to hold out for having him withdraw the deferral for businesses – in the interest of fairness. Yeah, there’s a good, fair idea. But wait. We don’t want fairness that way. That wouldn’t be fair, because then business would feel all the pain of Obamacare which is what we’re against. What to do?

Remember all those drones studying bear and shrimp sex? Let’s really put it to them. Let’s cut them all off forever, get some pain going here so we can reap the gain later. And all those mopes that run libraries and make copies of non-essential stuff like Social Security forms and Medi-Care bills and maybe clean air  and water regulations, they aren’t very heroic or essential. Let’s knock them down and give them some pain to think about, so maybe they’ll decide to get more essential or just go away which would be even better, because they probably don’t vote for us anyway.

Or maybe we could re-open the government for a few weeks, just until we get that debt limit business taken care of. We could drive a stake into the heart of Obamacare later and not look like we’re trying to wish a bunch of pain on innocent citizens who might think we look bad and then vote for the other guys next year. So we’ll suffer a little pain now but it will be for the big gain later. Yeah, that’s how to do it, because as they say, “no pain, no gain.”

Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 13 comments

  • EllenOctober 11, 2013 - 6:30 am

    Thanks for another great column for me to have with my coffee this morning, Chris. 'How much pain' relative to 'how much gain' is the question; and what we are actually seeing Congress weigh is 'how much gain' relative to 'how much exposure'. The problem is amplified by the fact that not everyone sees the 'gain' they are fighting for as a 'gain'.

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  • cookie65October 11, 2013 - 9:19 am

    No pain, No gain should be the mantra for America's welfare program.

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  • cookie65October 11, 2013 - 9:23 am

    Reading this I cannot help but be reminded of those who threw off the last oppressive, taxation without representation government to rule this country. No pain, NO LIBERTY.

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  • 1035-FrankOctober 11, 2013 - 10:13 am

    This show-down shut-down was really illustrative if nothing else. I would use an analogy like this one that was used by Ali-Bummer the great thinker, next time you try to sell a house or car, use his brilliant strategy, announce up front there is nothing to negotiate and there will be no negotiation, see how well it works. The simple request of the GOP was to delay the Bummer nightmare for a year. The shut-down is on him and the never in history closures and blockading of public lands and roads and open air memorials was deliberate by the same ones who opened the areas for Illegals to rally on direct DC executive orders. Same as the local closures with no federal employees present. The value of a govt. lease or having anything the govt. can claim has been shown now to be near worthless.

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  • Dink LaneOctober 11, 2013 - 11:24 am

    Frank: He should negotiate like Boehner when made the statement in 2011 --- "I got 90% of everything I want" ....... and then WALKED AWAY FROM THE DEAL.......

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  • 1036-FrankOctober 11, 2013 - 1:20 pm

    I think Daley stumbled into something here, like an Alinsky Rule. "Cause Pain, Hope for Gain." This is pretty close to the complete radical thinking of the Ali-Bummer's and their shut-down closures designed for negative effect and economic pain.

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  • JohnOctober 11, 2013 - 1:20 pm

    As ususual, a great, pithy column from Chris Daley. In the Teahadist land that is EDC, most comment/letter writers have selective memories, thereby placing the blame on Obama for refusing to negotiate. Negotiate what and with whom? The GOP has made it clear for the past two years that their 'no tax increase' is non-negotiable. I think if tax increases were on the table, the Administration would come around. Unfortunately, the Teahadist mentality of "What's mine is mine but what's yours is negotiable" makes a reasonable agreement impossible.

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  • R J CarterOctober 11, 2013 - 1:56 pm

    Breaking news......As part of the government shutdown Obama has just commissioned 4-1800sq ft. canvas tarps to be made at a cost of 11 million Dollars each, then have the tarps duct-taped over the faces on Mount Rushmore....Also, just in....As per page 2408, paragraph 6 of Obama care, It is required by law that all recipients of this healthcare plan be implanted with a Micro chip in their necks.....Dang, spreading B.S. like libs do is is kinda fun........

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  • James E.October 11, 2013 - 2:13 pm

    R.J., as regards spreading BS, you are in good company here on the MtDemocrat site.

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  • James E.October 11, 2013 - 2:34 pm

    R.J., story on the Internet that the Mob wanted to kill Johnny Carson. Understand they wanted to take him to the Slauson cutoff and cut off his Slauson.

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  • R J CarterOctober 11, 2013 - 2:50 pm

    James...LOL...Yup, I think Johnny Carson would have welcomed it after his four marriages and millions in alimony .....

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  • James E.October 11, 2013 - 5:29 pm

    R.J., apparently Johnnie got cozy with a woman in a bar and she turned out to be a mob doll. They threw Johnny down a flight of stairs and were on the verge of killing him when the bar owner said it wouldn't be nice to have a dead Johnny in his bar's basement so they stopped beating him, but they then put out a contract on his life. This was resolved by the mob boss and some TV executives so they cancelled the hit. Moral of the story? Johnny, stop cheating on your wife.

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  • cookie65October 12, 2013 - 5:44 am

    John, thank you for establishing the central theme to leftism. Their insatiable addiction to other people's money.

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