Matthew Cohen, MSW

Matthew Cohen, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Government Shutdown Is Not A Problem For The Problem Solvers

It’s easy to lose faith in your government when it decides to close its doors over bipartisan ideological conflicts. Republicans blame the Democrats, and vice-versa, in one feel swoop leaving out the shades of grey that accompany all of life, not just politics. Not all Republicans are radical conservatives, and not all Democrats are bleeding heart liberals. In fact one such group has emerged, they call themselves the Problem Solvers and they have come on the scene at just the right time.

The problem solvers are a group of 87 Republicans and Democrats who meet regularly in an effort to forge bi-partisan trust, and a more singular vision for American leadership. The Problem Solvers were born out of a special interest group called No Labels, but this group is unique among their special interest peers:

We are unlike any organization in America. The most powerful interest groups in our nation’s capital work to push our leaders and our political parties apart. No Labels is working to bring them together to forge solutions to our nation’s problems. We welcome all Americans as long as they are willing to collaborate with one another to seek a shared success for our country. This new attitude is what No Labels is all about.

This is a novel approach, as Democrats spend most of their time pointing fingers and Republicans spend all of their time trying to repeal a law that is simply trying to give 50 million uninsured American’s a break. No Labels and the Problems Solvers are showing a clarity that is rarely met these days, an understanding that it is a government’s job to create a functioning political machine that’s has only one aim, expressing the will of the people. Instead the country is left with a blind devotion to fixed ideologies on both sides.

In their short time they have unveiled a legislative package aimed at “making government work again”. At the center is a provision that would tie Congressional pay to the budget that has recently shutdown the government. In addition, they are calling for a bi-annual budget process to save time and money associated with having a yearly budget. These are the sort of common sense measures that should appeal to Americans who simply want an efficient and dependable government.

For those in the center the No Labels blog is a treasure. Here a person can expect to find a more rational stance, such as Rep. Patrick E. Murphy’s entry on the government shutdown:

This past week has shown once again why the popularity of Congress is at an all-time low—down there with cockroaches and root canals. The unwillingness of our nation’s leaders to work together to simply keep our government operating has been put on full display for the whole world to see. Our ongoing recovery can’t afford the type of brinksmanship that threatens economic growth and suspends key services to our seniors and those who serve our nation.

Additionally, actions by the House Leadership continue to undermine the creditworthiness of the United States.  Just as a drop in your personal credit rating can make it harder or more expensive to take out a mortgage to buy a house or borrow to send your child to college, hurting America’s credit rating makes it more difficult for our country to keep our promises and make smart investments for our future.  The United States of America should not break its promises to the seniors who built this nation, the veterans who defended her, or the people who invested in her.

This is the time for sound reason and logic, which we can expect from one of the few members of Congress who have decided to donate all of their pay while the shutdown looms:

Today, U.S. Representative Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18) announced that in the event of a government shutdown next week, he will donate the pay he receives during the shutdown to Renewal Coalition, a local organization that serves wounded service members, veterans, and their families.

Rep. Murphy and his colleagues in the Problems Solvers should be credited for acknowledging that leadership must be done by example. No Labels and The Problem Solvers are fledgling organizations in the vast history of the American political landscape, in fact the Problem Solvers Coalition only began meeting in January of this year. There has not been enough time to measure the success of either venture, but the simple efforts of raising awareness for cooperation and a government based on reason should be a sign of hope and inspiration for all of those Americans who continue to be stuck in the middle of a Congressional civil war.

Perhaps in the not too distant future we can find a significant percentage of voters discarding the chains of the Bi-Partisan system and instead opting to throw their weight behind an candidate that has thrown their lot in with the side of cooperation, reason, and the American people.

For more on No Labels and the Problem Solver visit

Written By Matthew Cohen, MSW
SJS Staff Writer

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