As America continues its political civil war, the rest of the world is feeling the pain.
Republicans are fighting vigorously against Democratic President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, and at the moment, there are plenty of casualties, most notably government workers and those that do business with the government. When an economic engine the size of the U.S. government stalls, albeit deliberately as it has since Tuesday's stalemate on the short-term funding bill on its plate, the reverberations are felt all over.
Even here in Nanaimo, most notably robot manufacturer Inuktun Services Ltd., which does a significant amount of its business below the 49th parallel.
It appears that a large number of Republicans view Obamacare as their Waterloo, as universal health care is a socialist ideal that many U.S. free enterprisers see as simply a major expense and threat to their economy. Despite the projected health benefits, they believe paying for it will be a financial nightmare for business and taxpayers.
Sure, the current system has more than its share of flaws and is expensive, but it does work, somehow.
Canadians, and a lot of Americans, obviously, live under the assumption that there are U.S. citizens who can't get health care. The truth is there is health care available, just on different levels. There are clinics for those who can't afford top tier care or don't have insurance now - they just have to get in line.
It sounds a lot like the Canadian health care system, where we have long wait times before getting surgery for a number of non-life threatening procedures.
The pushback is significant.
The medical system that exists is also threatened. Doctors make far, far more than they do under Canada's socialist health care system, and will face the possibility of significant roll backs under Obamacare.
There won't be much push back from American families, who are paying hundreds and in some case over $1,000 per month for basic health care insurance.
We've seen this movie before.
Four terms ago, the Republicans stonewalled Democratic president Bill Clinton in budget battles. Despite the fact Clinton was embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, he was able to wriggle out from the stranglehold and curried favour with the American public when he emerged victorious.
The Republicans looked mean spirited and stiff. They're looking that way again. If this continues for any length of time, Obama's approval rating will rise, like Clinton's did.
If they keep it up, they will ensure a Democratic dynasty, with Hollywood preparing to prop up Hilary Clinton with a movie and likely successor to Obama. The next serious Republican presidential candidate is? Canada has done well to diversify its economy and look to deepen its ties with Asia, and is working on trade agreements with Europe and South America. All of those new, unfettered markets bode well for the future of our exports, but there will always be that dependence on the United States.
They're our closest trading partner and ally. Even with the Conservative/Democrat differences, Canada needs a strong U.S. economy.
Shutdowns of this magnitude are costly, for it takes a long time to get an economy like the U.S. up to speed, much like a freight train.
Let's hope a solution to the stalemate is found quickly, and the U.S. gets back on track.
The world, including us on Vancouver Island, depends on it.
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