Wednesday, October 16, 2013

How do you assign blame?

It has been a consistent puzzle to me how people have assigned blame in the current shut down crisis. If there are three people that have to agree in order for something to get done and that agreement is not reached how do you assign blame to any one of the three parties? If all you know is that they disagree then all you can say is they are all wrong.

But what if one party offers an agreement and the other two turn it down? You can say the  offered agreement was unreasonable, perhaps so unreasonable that the other two parties had no choice but to turn it down. If the offer was reasonable then the two parties that turned it down are being unreasonable. But in any case, it is the two parties that have turned down the deal.

In this case, turning down the deal is shutting down the government. It is important to remember that the Democrats in control of the Senate who have shut down the government. You can say that the offer was unreasonable but the fact remains that the party that turned down the unreasonable offer is the party that shut the government down. And yet, I hear over and over again that "the Republicans shut the government down." That is simply wrong. It was the Senate's refusal to take up the bills passed by the House, three full continuing resolutions and nine bills that opened up individual parts of the government, that actually shut the government down. You can say that the Republicans are morally responsible in some way, that the offer they made was so unreasonable that the Democrats had no choice but to turn it down and shut down the government, but that does not change the fact they were the ones that shut down the government.

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