Monday, September 30, 2013

On The Potential Government Shutdown

I have been mouse-silent on it.   There's not that much to say about a two-year-old's temper tantrums and that's the only good analog I can think of to this tea-party-driven show of power.

Except that the tea-partiers don't have the excuse of very young age and not much opportunity to learn.  So you might as well read this Slate piece about how the press would report the likely shutdown if it was happening in some other country.

Well, there is that continuing resolution the House passed:

Late Saturday night, the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution (CR) that would keep the government open only if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is delayed for a year and only if bosses are allowed to make their female employees’ health decisions. The House bill singles out women’s health care for this interference.

Specifically, the House-passed CR would exempt bosses from complying with the ACA’s Women’s Health Amendment if they oppose it for “religious or moral” reasons.   This means that bosses could impose their religious beliefs on their employees, or block their employees’ access to needed women’s health care for vague and undefined “moral” reasons. Female employees and dependents – just like men – are capable of making their own health decisions and must be allowed to do so without interference from their bosses.
It smells a bit like mafia politics to me.  "Nice country you have here.  It would be too bad if something happened to it."

The continuing resolution is naturally about contraceptives, the Catholic Church, and, on a very deep level, about the general conservative sentiment that both sex and its consequences should have large costs  to women.

This applies even to contraception which, by its very nature, will also benefit the woman's male partner. With the exception of the cases where the contraceptive pill is taken for other medical reasons, its subsidized price benefits approximately as many heterosexual men as women, I think*.  But if one wants the woman to pay for sex (by taking care of contraception or by giving birth and then taking care of the child), any kind of subsidy smells wrong.

*People in long-term heterosexual relationships have roughly the same number of men and women.  Those who have more than one sex partner can be of either sex, and if we consider the fact that protection ten times with ten different partners adds up to protection ten times with the same partner, it doesn't seem unlikely that the benefits of the contraceptive subsidies are ultimately pretty gender-neutral.  All this looks at only those people who wish to avoid pregnancy.  But that's the majority of people most of the time.
For recent events in all this, read here.