The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 8, 2013

GOP budget push was justified

The partial government shutdown (18th since 1976) is behind us; we can’t change it. But I have a few thoughts relating to Fred Slocum’s Oct. 31 article “Shutdown born by GOP extortion, extremism,” and Ron Yezzi’s Nov. 6 article “Undemocratic actions demean Lincoln’s vision.”

I will not accept operating under the separation of powers within the parameters of the Constitution constitutes “extortion.” Moreover, I fail to see where it would “demean Lincoln’s vision” of government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Before the partial shutdown the United States federal government was spending in the area of $400,000,000 per hour. Republicans wanted to negotiate spending reductions. Democrats and the president demanded a “clean” spending bill and an increase in the spending limit before even beginning negotiations. After the partial shutdown the administration determined what programs would be effected.

Let’s look at some effects of the partial shutdown. According to Standard & Poor’s it took $24 billion out of the economy — about $1.5 billion a day. In a Nov. 4 interview on CNBC St Louis Fed President James Bullard said: “I don’t think it’s going to have that big of an impact on growth...it’s probably not that big a deal...” There is an old adage about keeping things in perspective. I think Mr. Bullard did just that.

Rather than playing the blame game i.e. which political party refused to compromise resulting in the partial shutdown, which is obvious to me as the Republicans caved after 16 days, I think it better both parties and the president reach agreement before we face the next continuing resolution on Jan. 15 and increase in spending limit Feb. 7.

Bob Jentges

North Mankato

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