Although some positive soundbites were coming out of Washington as at Friday, there seems no pathway at the moment that could facilitate a decision by Thursday, 17th October, when the authorised fiscal instruments need to be extended.
The U.S. Debt which stands at some $16.7 Trillion, is a sizeable amount, but with the essence and integrity that is the United States of America, the sum is precisely just an overdraft for the productive economy whose turnover is some four trillion dollars per annum.
The main obstacle to the pathway is the President's unwillingness to water-down the Obamacare, which has already been signed and put onto the Statute. The Republicans would like to see it repealed or revoked or at least re-negotiated. It becomes clear to understand why, when the cost implications for the working man and woman are put into focus.
Today on the Huckabee show on Fox News, a woman interviewee stated that her medical insurance costs were previously $75 a month, but under Obamacare her insurance company will not extend this cover but is able to offer her cover at some $361 a month. This is an increase of some 381 percent!
Clearly this would not be affordable by most people who were happy previously paying $75 a month. Clearly it is not fair, and probably penablises the swing voters who voted for Mr Obama at 6h November, thinking Obamacare is a necessary and good measure and useful to everyone in the tough times. Few may have realised that the way it is structured, it frustrates the people it is meant to serve.
People were happy to see Obamacare come into being, imagining it to be somewhat similar to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, which brings universal health care benefits to the vast majority of the population at a cost that is levied upon each working individual to add to a pot that serves the whole nation. That was the charter granted under kind King George in 1947, even when the national debt of the UK was, at that time, a massive £6 billion. At that time, the implementation of the NHS service brought many benefits to the economy, the creation of many hospitals which could serve the wounded soldiers who had just returned from the war, the creation of alternative jobs in nursing for people who were previously engaged in the war effort, and together with this scheme the necessary creation of hospitals, training colleges, rehabilitation centres, psychiatric hospitals and so on.
The NHS has done Britian proud, and is reputed to be the best in the world. It puts peoples' health first.
My suggestion is that something tailored along the lines of the British National Health Service may be something our American friends should consider. If it be called Obamacare, that is perfect as this President has championed it on behalf of the citizens whom he cares about so deeply. The costing and delivery of such a service must be perhaps re-worked so that it offers universal medical coverage at an affordable price for the average citizen. Perhaps creating some pool of money on behalf of the unwaged and the retirees to supplement contributions made by working individuals would prove fair and affordable.
Definitely the lady interviewed by Mr Huckabee would like her medical insurance cover to be available at a price similar to one previously ($75 a month).
With this in mind, it may prove practical to re-introduce some elements of this Bill for renegotiations.
On this I do believe the Republicans have a point which should be re-considered.
However, the Debt Ceiling issue is of prime urgency. If a decision is not reached by 17th October, then it seems the alternative will be the signing in of an additional amount under a Presidential Prerogative under the 14th Amendment, to safeguard the interests and economy of the United States.
I have highest regard for Mr Obama, but I would suggest that the Obamacare bill needs to be re-worked so it delivers benefits to the people it is meant to serve, and does not instead cause hardships working individuals or impose conditions on employers which all would not be able or willing to meet.
Hopefully with the rescheduling of some elements of the Obamacare bill, the main obstacle would be cleared for the Republicans and Democrats, both Representatives and Senators, to sit down and in a spirit of bi-partisan co-operation sign in the extension of the fiscal instrument to enable the Debt Ceiling raise. For a nation of some 330 million people, a multiplier of 4K* per head would give a very reasonable figure (say, $1.32 Trillion) for the next twelve months, enabling the economy to add to the gains made since Mr Obama became President. In view of the continuing Recovery and the jobs created and the debt burden of $2.5 Trillion reduced recently, I guess the bankers would call it a bankable proposition.
This necessary and prudent step will enable confidence to once again fill every home around the world, so that all people can be busy and productive and nations produce and transport and exchange their unique resources with the rest of the world. May the worldwide economic Recovery continue, so that in due time, it may turn to a common Prosperity for all people of the world. For that I pray.
*Postscript. Figure should of course be 4K, and not just 4.