US government has no choice but to shut down; Philippine government needs to shut up

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For those following events in the United States, their federal government is in the midst of a shutdown. This follows a period of time wherein lawmakers in both the House and the Senate were unable to agree on the national budget. The main point of contention, it seems, is US president Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, dubbed Obamacare, whose funding and implementation the Republican party wants derailed and/or delayed.

What relevance does this development have to the Philippines? Well, for one, president Obama’s scheduled trip to here and Malaysia will not push through, as he will be preoccupied with his current domestic scenario. Instead, US Secretary of State John Kerry will go in his place.

Too bad for our president noynoyaquinoduhBenigno Simeon Aquino III (BS Aquino), in a way. He won’t get a chance to run his usual spiel to president Obama of how the Philippines is a solid ally of the United States, etc. He also won’t get a chance to say that the Philippines is a good place to do business in, or brag about “ending” the Zamboanga situation, for example. And he won’t be able to brag about just recently obtaining a credit upgrade from Moody’s. But not to worry; Uncle Sam’s loyal terrier will still get a chance to show off, even if not to the President of the United States himself.

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Local analysts note that the kind of government shutdown that is currently happening in the United States will not happen here, due to the provision in Section VI, Article 25 (7), of the Philippine Constitution:

(7) If, by the end of any fiscal year, the Congress shall have failed to pass the general appropriations bill for the ensuing fiscal year, the general appropriations law for the preceding fiscal year shall be deemed re-enacted and shall remain in force and effect until the general appropriations bill is passed by the Congress.

With our government the way it is now, though, it is easy to think at least one of the following things: (1) that you’d wish the PH government would shut down anyway, and that; (2) despite the PH government not shutting down, it seems the lights are on but no one’s home, so what’s the difference?

If the US government has its problems, so does ours. And the current issue that the government is facing, that of the pork barrel, has become one big mess. The more the BS Aquino, his officials, and his spokespersons try to justify the continued existence of it, the more they seemingly sink into the quicksand.

The Philippine government should just shut up, I think, and listen to its critics for once. The pork barrel should be scrapped, no ifs, ands, or buts. No matter what they want to call their discretionary funds, the PDAF, the DAP, or CDF, it will not change the fact that it has a long history of being used as a political tool for the sitting president to get what he/she wants. Oh, and that it is very prone to abuse.

Unfortunately, even if the calls for BS Aquino to resign or be impeached grow stronger, it probably won’t happen, not at least in the next three years. At the risk of stating the obvious, BS Aquino’s allies dominate both houses of Congress. Plus, some survey can be run again about how popular BS Aquino still supposedly is with the people, and all will be quiet again.

Even so, it’s time for the Aquino administration to shut up and face the music; they’ve got a serious crisis of credibility going on that is perhaps the harshest they’ve faced so far in BS Aquino’s term. They can either ignore this whole thing until it boils over (and they will), or they can stop making excuses and finally do the right thing to truly start bringing down corruption in the government.

It is ultimately up to the Filipino people, however, if they’re going to weather it and come out unscathed.

25 Replies to “US government has no choice but to shut down; Philippine government needs to shut up”

  1. I realize the magnitude of the pork barrel scam, but the congress and president of the US are causing far more damage in the US by micromanaging the populace. You would be amazed athow they have shredded our constitution and bill of rights to the point the USA of today is not the USA I grew up in. It is not a place I want to raise my children, so here we are living in The Philippines.

    Be happy that your government officials are too busy lining their pockets rather than passing draconian laws to supress and opress you.

    The Philippines is not perfect, but Filipinos do enjoy freedom due to the ineffectual government.

    1. chris,

      That isn’t “freedom” as you might have come to experience it. What happens in the Philippines is disengagement — people perpetrate whatever acts they want because they feel they can get away with it; the overall belief is that there will be NO consequences for bad behaviour. As a result, people feel no need to be accountable. That holds true for both officeholders in particular and the public in general.

      Conversely, the sentiment that there is no point in compelling public servants and politicians to be responsible for their actions reinforces the public’s apathy; in the Philippines, there has never been a sustained effort to make elected officials accountable or to make them experience the consequences of wrongdoing. People feel no obligation to invest the time and effort in participating in the process to ensure government does its job.

      Comparing pork-barrel politics in the Philippines and the US is like comparing a Corvette and a jeepney. They are the same only in that they’re both motor vehicles.

      Cases of wanton bribery and plunder are actually rare in the US. Its a small percentage compared to the 50-80% that ends up in Filipino politicians’ pockets. And unlike in the Philippines, US pork actually delivers some “thing” even if it is overpriced and far from essential. Here, you’ll be lucky to see even a portion of the deliverables.

      Not to mention the fact that the Philippines has its own problems producing thousands of pages of useless, redundant and wasteful legislation each year. Just like the US federal government.

      Speaking of draconian laws like Obamacare, I suspect it will be repealed. It’s just too confusing and convoluted to be properly implemented. Especially with the prospect of a lot of Americans desiring to change the status quo simply because the current lot of yahoos in Congress can’t get anything done.

      1. Draconian laws like ‘Obamacare’? You do not know what your talking about, it is anything but ‘Draconian’ as it is new and innovative. The majority of the American people want Obamacare and want to see an end to “Corporate Welfare”and ‘Banksters’ running the economy into the shit-house . The group of politicians that do not want ‘Obamacare’ to be implemented are a direct opposition to what ‘most'( over 50%) of the American people want.
        Corruption and plunder is not rare in the USA either, it is just done in a very different way, and is not readily detectable and oftentimes happens AFTER the legislator leaves office. What makes the BIG difference is the outright impunity with which the Philippine politicians achieve their thievery . The problem with the Philippines is it is ‘in your face’ corruption.

        1. There is no dispute that pork-barrel politics in the United States occurs. The US is its originator after all. The distinction I made is that the degree to which Philippine politicians have used their discretionary funds to appropriate taxpayer money for themselves in outright plunder far outstrips the direct theft committed by US politicians. The greater portion of the waste in the federal government comes from non-essential programs and grants as well as over-priced pet projects that directly benefit specific constituencies and/or contractors. In the Philippines, politicians and their facilitators don’t even bother to make a show of initiating ANY project; what the current pork-barrel uproar makes abundantly clear is that the money is oftentimes directly funneled into their bank accounts. While the US congress feels no shame in earmarking hundreds of millions of dollars for redundant (research) programs or the use of overly expensive materials like $200 for a 1 lb. pack of nails, there is a higher likelihood of an overpriced project being delivered than a Filipino politician’s basketball court breaking ground.

        2. As regards “Obamacare” — Americans WANT a HEALTHCARE SYSTEM that works. I personally feel that Pres. Obama’s law is NOT the answer.

          The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is NOT draconian? That is an outright LIE. The law PENALIZES individuals and companies IF THEY DO NOT PARTICIPATE OR AVAIL of health coverage under the new regulations. The exact opposite of what the Obama administration had been claiming at the start. FORCING people to submit to an ostensibly OPTIONAL service is the very definition of an oppressive law.

          From the outset the implementation has been spotty. The majority of applicants at http://www.healthcare.gov will be greeted with this message:

          “We have a lot of visitors on the site right now. Please stay on this page. We’re working to make the experience better, and we don’t want you to lose your place in line. We’ll send you to the login page as soon as we can. Thanks for your patience!”

          It’s been three days since the law went into effect and this is still the status of their online registration. I’m sure that person who waited for the passage of ACA to get treatment for cancer will be willing to wait several more days to receive the critical care they need. Then again, it probably won’t matter; Sen. Harry Reid admits that ACA WILL NOT PROVIDE UNIVERSAL COVERAGE FOR CANCER SUFFERERS. Another lie that contradicts earlier pronouncements by the administration.

          If Pres. Obama truly desired to end the hegemony of “corporate welfare” and “bank-sters” it seems hypocritical that the White House would grant waivers to roughly 1,200 businesses, insurers, unions and other organizations exempting them from ACA participation up to 2015. This includes the US Congress and a number of Obama supporters and campaign contributors. If the ACA is in fact superior, then it should apply to ALL big business, unions AND government entities.

        3. I said the American people want to stop ‘Corporate Welfare’ and the ‘banksters’ from running the economy down the shit-hole. I said nothing about Obama wanting to do anything of the sort.

        4. @ Saint, there you go with your ass-wipe accusations, AGAIN! The U.S. Supreme court has ruled that the Federal Gov’t. can exact a price from U.S. citizens for the cost of health-care, it is considered a tax. EVERY Government on Earth exacts TAXES from its citizens, and you should look at the laws of DRACO b4 you refer to the AFA as ‘Draconian’/’Oppressve’. The AFA has to be paid for and a $400/year penalty for not getting health ins. is neither OPRESSIVE nor Draconian. Just because $400/year might sound like a large amount of money to you, it is really peanuts to pay for health ins.premiums in the 1st World. The benefits for a person that gets sick, in the USA and has no health ins., can literally be the difference between living and dying. The Majority of the American people want the AFA enacted. So you should really just STFU with your dumb-as-shit comments as if you actually know what is going on in the USA, or what its citizens want. I bet you have never even stepped foot inside the country.
          “The AFA’ is ‘oppressive’,HA! you are such a jack-ass. If you were a little less arrogant in your comments I would not be so harsh and maybe just take an enlightening tone with you. BUT you have to say that what I am stating is a LIE, you A$$-#@!#. Nuthin but illiterate $#!% comes out of you and you have the nerve to sound authoritative in your idiotic dumb-shit comments. Maybe its your age that makes you so immature but either way, you still do not know what your talking about.

        5. The inability to articulate coherent thoughts without resorting to the use of profanity or ad hominem attacks is a clear demonstration of a deficient intellectual capacity and an arrogant, puerile personality.

          First off, this really shouldn’t be about the ACA — dubbed “Obama-care” — as the topic is more appropriately discussed in a separate forum.

          That being said, there is a point raised that I would like to address.

          Bjorn misrepresents the facts concerning the penalties under the Affordable Care Act. Section 5000A of the law — Requirement to maintain minimum essential coverage — states that if an individual FAILS to meet said requirement, “a PENALTY with respect to such failures” will be imposed on that individual. The ACA itself uses the term “penalty.” While the US Supreme Court has ruled that the ACA penalties have the functional equivalent of a tax, there is no denying the context in which it is implemented. A PENALTY is imposed — a sum to be forfeited — to which the average US citizen agrees to be subjected in case of non-fulfillment of the stipulations of the ACA. Simply put: if you decide not to avail of insurance under ACA, you are fined. This simple fact is something which even kindergartners understand and yet seems to elude Bjorn.

          Bjorn also stresses that the penalty is only US$400. The actual minimum penalty is US$95 per individual. Add to that US$47.50 per child; that’s up to US$285 per family. Or 1 percent of the household’s income if that results in a higher fine. That means the average US citizen making US$40,000 a year would have to pay US$400. AT THE START (2013-2014).

          By 2015, the penalty will be bumped up to US$325 per individual. In 2016, when it is expected the ACA will be fully implemented, the penalty will be a minimum of US$695 per individual, or 2.5 percent of personal income. Starting in 2017, the minimum tax per person will rise each year with inflation. And for children 18 and under, the minimum per-person tax is half of that for adults. That’s high enough to become a burden, especially for a middle class whose take home pay gets smaller each year with a soft economy.

          What is worrisome is that since the US Supreme Court has made it possible to use “tax” and “penalty” interchangeably, defenders of ACA use the excuse that EVERYONE pays taxes anyway. The critical point that has been overlooked is the principle that ACA denies individuals the freedom to make their choices with regards to healthcare. Worse, the penalty would be more for persons with higher taxable incomes. In other words, you will be penalized if you are successful and decide not to avail of the ACA. As I stated before, these are the hallmarks of an oppressive law.

        6. @ Saint….call someone a liar and then accuse them of ‘AD-HOMINEM’ attacks….you arrogant flip-tard. you are merely the stereo-typical FLIP that thinks he knows what is going on, but really has no clue so flip it around and try to convince yourself that you do.
          the last paragraph in your comments proves it, since the law has not even been implemented yet the real penalties have yet to even be figured out yet, and you sit there and act as if something that is not even known yet is oppressive.impress yourself and silly l’il girls on GRP, but not me.
          STFU and stick to something you MIGHT be familiar with instead of trying too hard to win arguments you are ill-informed about. the funniest part about your lack of knowledge is that some GRP readers praise you for your ‘insights’ when they are no such thing. a clue for you(and here comes the well deserved -ad-hominem-o):
          Obamacare came along at a time when the President of the USA had a much more serious problem to face, a global financial meltdown/robbery. and what does the guy do? ignores the real problem of creating jobs/riding the country of the ‘banksters’, reimposing the Gass-Steigel act, among 100 other more pressing issues. HA! The bill was designed to be devisive, appear to be a ‘landmark’ legacy builder when ,in fact, it was designed to fail and never be implemented. and if it ever made it to the point it is at now? it could be blamed for de-railing the entire countries economy, which is false, and then the guy could stand there, shrug, and say he tried to throw the people a bone. it is even a more complex problem than that. BUT to try to explain it to an arrogant POS like you? not a chance, HA!
          GOOD LUCK with that. You will no doubt be ‘impressing’ readers at GRP with your ‘know-it-all’ act, for years to come and long after I am gone from this blog. The point being that with that arrogant ‘know-it-all’ definitive attitude of yours, you won’t be going anywhere and certainly never set foot in the USA, probably not even outside the Fail-ippines, you ignorant flip (there’s another ‘ad-hominem for good measure, how ya likem dat?). Call it an arrogant prediction on my part, sure…and I can see your future too! You’ll be doing the same stupid routine 30 yrs. from now and still think you know what is going on, LMAO.
          Keep it up Johnny, your amusing me! but not as much as TJ.

        7. And Bjorn’s lies continue.

          Bjorn writes: the ACA “has not even been implemented yet the real penalties have yet to even be figured out yet.”

          The ACA officially went into effect last Tuesday, 01 October 2013. That means US citizens can begin applying for health insurance online through federally approved health care exchanges. During the first three days of implementation, the majority of the those who applied online were met with this message:

          “We have a lot of visitors on the site right now. Please stay on this page. We’re working to make the experience better, and we don’t want you to lose your place in line. We’ll send you to the login page as soon as we can. Thanks for your patience!”

          As of 04 October, there was an estimated 80 percent failure rate for the federal online service. It got so bad, the section of http://www.healthcare.gov dealing with applications had to be taken down to fix the problem. As of 06 October, there has been some improvement; fewer incidents have been reported where site visitors are greeted by the above message.

          With regards to the “real penalties” that “have yet to even be figured out yet,” — I’ll give the same answer as the previous post. Section 5000A of the Affordable Care Act specifies the penalties (fines) for non-compliance with the law. Apparently, Bjorn is ignorant of this or simply ignores it because it does not fit in with his screed.

          Or perhaps its about the actual data regarding the results of the implementation of ACA that Bjorn is referring to. No one is under any misconception that these are available. There are however, projections by the actuary used by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), that deal with the likely costs of healthcare under the ACA. A recent CMS report projects an increase in healthcare spending of about US$621 billion for the period 2012-2022. That figure takes into consideration the increase in the number of people availing of healthcare under ACA and the increase in insurance premiums. It will be at least a year before the actual effects of ACA can be documented and actual, meaningful data made available for assessment.

          The Obama administration does point out that since the ACA was signed into law in 2010, there has been a reduction in the healthcare cost escalation. However, the CMS report makes it clear that the slowdown is not out of line with the historical link between health spending growth and economic conditions. Medicare’s actuarial experts confirm that the lion’s share of the slowdown in health care spending could be attributed to the slow growth in the economy and greater cost-sharing, not specifically to the ACA.

          As for the rest of Bjorn’s rant — that seems a bit more confusing. And confused. First, Bjorn attempts to defend the implementation of the ACA by stating it can “literally be the difference between living and dying” and that the penalties are “really peanuts to pay for health ins.premiums in the 1st World.” Now he rants that Pres. Obama created the ACA specifically to fail? And then he conflates the health care debate with the global financial crisis.

          Best not to dwell on the intentions of the US president as imagined by Bjorn. The United States has perhaps one of the most convoluted, definitely one of the most expensive, health care systems in the world. Making the issue even more complicated by introducing Bjorn’s ramblings is not a good idea.

        8. @ SAint, YOU contradict yourself and then call me a liar, A) Fines and penalties in the ACT may be real, but they can be appealed, taken to court. The legal wrangling over that is just a spec of the issue over its funding OR WHOSE FAULT it is that the only jobs available in the USA are PART-TIME: the employers or the AFA? or the fact that profits drive every business but it leaves the workers to starve, just like somewhere else. HHHHMMMMM…. . EVER set foot in an American courtroom?
          YOU SAY “a study says” that it will be at least a year before anyone knows” and yet it has not even gone into full gear yet, YOU sight to many red herrings to comment on and call me convoluted. Sight a few clippings on the net, make an authoritative comment and think you got it all figured out. I know this, the AFA was designed to take peoples minds off of what was going on at the time and will be re-pealed one of these days, most likely when the Republicans have a majority in the Congress or when one wins the Presidency.
          UNTIL THEN, wish you were an AMERICAN!coz you just a ‘know-it-all, ‘wanna -be ‘ ‘flip-tard’, three in a row, dip shit, or does that make four? you count em, I ainna got no more time for flip tard ass!

      2. I was notcreferring to obamacare as I realize, as you point out, it will self destruct because it is unworkable. I was referring to the first, second, and forth amendments in particular – freedom of speach, right to bear arms, and illegal sesrches. Common core curriculum in the schools is another disaster.

        As Bjorn states below, plunder is rampant in the US,through lobbyists, sweetheart deals after office, and pet projects.In the US, bribery is a highroller’s game, reserved only for the rich. In The Philippines, you can still get some favor with Goldilocks.

        As far as the thousands of pages of useless legislation produced here, that is a non-issue because the people don’t obey them anyways.

        thanks for your response. I enjoy reading your opinions and appreciate your insight.

        1. My pleasure.

          It really comes down to the rule of law. Something which is very weak in the Philippines.

          Filipinos can be very liberal at times and we abide by the democratic processes. Just consider the number of voters who participate in elections. Then again, we fall behind when it comes to the administration of justice. There is a high incidence of crime, the courts take anywhere from two decades to eternity to decide a case, and, as we have seen from recent revelations about pork barrel, the rich and powerful behave with impunity. We can’t really be free if the society is chaotic and the majority live in fear.

      3. @ Saint, finally, I disagreed with your view that Obamacare is ‘Draconian’ and you get so bent out of shape that you wrote all of that?
        YOU ARE A WINNER!!!! of the 2013 ‘GIGANTIC EGO & TWERPIEST SELF-ESTEEM AWARD’ in a non-essential blogging category. the li’l boy who can never be wrong, then parlayed his winning that ‘AWARD’ into the 2013 ‘MOST OBVIOUS FLIP-TARD MOVE’ in a net blog, by accussing me of everything YOU did in your response to someone who merely disagreed with you. CONGRATUALTIONS JOHNNY, your the type of guy……

        1. And I responded by stating facts as to why the ACA may be characterised as draconian and oppressive. Information that is readily available from the Obama administration and the US federal government. Not fiction or half-baked conspiracies or profanity. If there is anyone who is overly worked up over this — as evidenced by his penchant for name calling — it is Bjorn.

      4. Continuing the updates posted by Bjorn…

        The ACA calls them “penalties;” the US Supreme Court determined that they have the functional equivalent of a “tax.” However you refer to them, they are fines imposed on individual Americans who do not avail of health care under the ACA. That is clear. As with any fine or penalty, Americans have the right to challenge their legality. That was never in contention, nor did I ever bring it up. The point being made (which Bjorn constantly overlooks) is that imposing this penalty is a form of coercion. One that defeats the individual’s right to choose. It runs contrary to Pres. Obama’s claim that the ACA is OPTIONAL and that Americans may choose whether or not to purchase health insurance. That is just one of the reasons the ACA has been characterised as oppressive and draconian.

        Whatever else Bjorn tosses out there regarding employment opportunities in the US or the state of employer-employee relations to confuse the discussion is another issue altogether.

        Bjorn now touches on “funding” (which was previously never mentioned in this thread). Health care in the United States under the ACA will still require Americans to pay insurance premiums when they avail of health insurance. Among the new impositions under ACA include increased federal spending on health care education and a portion to be spent on subsidies to be given to Americans to assist them in paying for health insurance. And then there are the ACA “navigators” — a NEW bureaucracy the federal government is paying to provide consultancy services to assist businesses and individuals in purchasing a health insurance product that the ACA made unnecessarily complicated. All told, a huge chunk of Obama-care funding ultimately rests square on the shoulders of an already overburdened American taxpayer.

        With regards to the “study” that was cited — the estimated PROJECTIONS come from the CMS actuary’s report on health care spending for the period 2012-2022. This is the federal government’s own actuary. The same people who now provide MEDICARE and MEDICAID. Apparently Bjorn is under the delusion that the CMS report contains the actual spending data. I am at a loss to understand how “projections” may be confused with the ACTUAL data from the ACA implementation. Information from which we can extract meaningful insights only after at least one (fiscal) year to judge its impact.

        With regards to Pres. Obama’s motives — again, that is beyond the scope of this discussion. Best not to conflate Obama-care with half-baked conspiracy theories.

  2. I still love the Philippines. Try to turn off the TV, the newspaper, the internet once in awhile. Open yr eyes. It’s not all about that and them.

    1. Ryex, but I agree w. you – you will love Philippines if you threat it like a whore. Hell yeah its fun. But like whores its only for fun and if you have money to burn.

    1. He ain’t as dumb as he looks, and neither is Bidden. These guys are all lawyers and did not get to where they are by being idiots. Try to remember these thespians that appear to be one thing, are usually something completely different. It is all an act, a well choreographed act.

  3. We don’t need to shut down the government. We only need to drag Aquino out of Malacanang. Then, burn him on a stake…

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