Never did rational types doubt that the Cruz-led fight to defund President Obama’s health-care reform law would prove damaging to the nation at large. Now that the results are in, we see the carnage first-hand.
• 6.6 million days of lost work.
• $2 billion of back-pay costs.
• 20,000 private-sector job losses.
That information, released Thursday by the White House, places real-world figures on what heretofore had been a discussion about political damage, the inconvenience of closed national parks and government offices, and assumptive lost wages by government-paid employees.
Cruz and his far-right fellows on the fringes of the Republican Party now can be asked if costing the government $2 billion in back-pay costs and more than 6 million days of lost work was worth the anti-Obamacare fight — a fight that rogue element of the GOP was never going to win.
“This manufactured crisis damaged the economy, cost us jobs and hurt middle-class families,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski, the Maryland Democrat who is chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told The New York Times. “The American people deserve a government that works as hard as they do. It’s time to hear from the middle-of-roaders. It’s time to work together on a bipartisan basis.”
That’s underway, for what that means. We’re encouraged to hear that a bipartisan group in Washington is crafting a budget agreement that, if reached, would avoid a wintertime replay of the October shutdown. But with D.C. being what it is today — entrenched partisanism, virtual political gridlock — it’s better to delay heady optimism until a concrete plan emerges.
The Ted Cruz Shutdown of 2013 is one of many government stoppages in U.S. history; it’s hardly unprecedented. But the Cruz shutdown’s legacy now can be couched in cold, stark numbers as well as harsh political truths.