Unregulated Money and Decline of Independent Journalism Empowered Fringe Groups to Close Federal Government

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Posted Oct. 16, 2013

Interview with John Nichols, Washington correspondent with the Nation Magazine, conducted by Scott Harris

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With the government shutdown entering its third week and the threat of default on the national debt looming, Senate Democratic and Republican leaders came together to propose a deal, that if accepted by legislators in the GOP-controlled House, would fund the government through Jan. 15 and raise the nation's borrowing authority through Feb. 7. But members of the “Tea Party” faction in the House initially rejected the Senate solution to the crisis and were preparing to vote on their own proposal to end the political impasse.

The Republican-driven government shutdown, planned months ago with $200 million in support from the conservative multi-billionaire Koch brothers, has jeopardized many federal programs that assist the young, ill and elderly, such as nutrition assistance for women, infants and children; school breakfast and lunch programs for disadvantaged students and Meals on Wheels that feed vulnerable senior citizens.

Although Tea Party Republicans initially demanded the defunding or delay in the implementation of the Obamacare health reform law in exchange for reopening the government, those demands have now switched to cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Progressive Democrats and advocates for preserving the nation’s social safety net are concerned that earlier statements by President Obama indicate that he may agree to benefit cuts in these programs to reach a so-called “Grand Bargain” deal with Republicans in future White House-Congressional talks. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with John Nichols, Washington, correspondent with The Nation magazine, who discusses the political dysfunction that set the stage for the government shutdown, examined in his new book, "Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America," co-authored with Robert McChesney.

For more information on "Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex is Destroying America," visit Dollarocracy-book.com.

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