They shut down the federal government and all they got was this lousy…

As a deal to reopen the federal government is underway, folks might be asking themselves what the big prize is for shutting everything down for 16 days. Was it major concessions over the Affordable Care Act? No. How about serious budgetary changes that fundamentally reshapes the form of government? Nope. Apparently it’s a toothless income verification system for a subset of applicants on the individual exchanges established by the ACA. That’s what House Republicans are walking away with (well, other than some earmarked project for Republican Senate Minority Leader McConnell).

Frankly, it’s difficult to imagine constructing a legitimate argument for why this was necessary — unless you’d like to make the case that it was worth exposing the utter ineptitude of those legislators who are not interested in efficient public policy. Our modern political crisis cycle has produced significant economic costs and real human harm (among so many other examples) for continued inane and redundant fist-shaking over the desire to provide sick and low-income Americans health insurance. So while reams upon reams of writing will be produced to grapple with “what it all means,” and I’m sure those will be swell, at the very least it should put to rest any question on whether the GOP is ready to seriously govern itself or the country.

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