Saturday, March 26, 2011

Government Shutdowns

The GOP is currently considering actions that will result in a shut down.  Slow down, you say, you blame the Democrats?  Sorry, that makes no sense.  The Democrats are (according to the GOP, at least) all in favor of more government, not less.

First, lets talk about what a shut down is not:

  1. The army still fights (some civilan D.o.D. employees - less than 1/3 of them - don't work)
  2. People still get Social Security (new applications still get worked on - but slower)
  3. Courts, FBI, Border Patrol, Cost Guard, Prisons all still work
  4. Post  Office still works
  5. Medicare, veteran benefits, air traffic control, food inspection, etc. still work.
What gets substantially shut down (loses more than  1/3 of their workers)
  1. Parks get shut down
  2. passport applications slow to a crawl
  3. toxic waste cleaners stop cleaning
  4. new regulations are not worked on
  5. federal paychecks sometimes are delayed - but still payed.
  6. federal contractors don't work
  7. EPA practically shuts down
  8. NASA goes dark (still minimum maintenance - we are talking 7% of normal working pop)
  9. Census bureau stops working 
Basically, what happens is we cut government down to the smallest possible size, without risking being invaded by other countries or by criminals, or interfering with the money we owe senior citizens or health care providers.

Wait a second, isn't that exactly what the GOP says they want????

They continuously state that they want small government.  A shut down is the smallest government we think we can have safely.  QED, the ideal conservative government is practically identical to what we get if we simply shut down the government.

It is very, very clear, that the Democrats want to spend more money than is spent when the government shuts down, so clearly the Democrats do not want a shut down government.  The GOP claims to want a small government, so it makes sense for them to want it.

So, why don't they intentionally do it?

I have never heard a 'small government' GOP explain why 'shutting down' the government permanently - or at least for a year to help get our deficit under control - is a good idea.

But I think I know why.  It's a 'be careful what you ask for' thing.  It is a two fold issue.

  1. Most of the GOP is not being sincere when they say the want a small government (and that the Democrats want a big government).   Oh, some of them are honest (and naive), and want a small government - but they are in the minority. The small vs big, spend vs cut is mostly partisan "truthiness", not real, honest to god truth.   The real issue is what we spend our money on (and who will pay it), not how much we pay.
  2. When the government shuts down people suddenly realize the government was doing things they WANTED to do.  That no, the government was not wasting your money, (shutting down does not save a lot of cash), the money buys things we want.   A shut down government reveals the truth - that government does good and necessary work and that a microscopic government is not a good idea.  It teaches Americans that no, government does not waste all their money, most of it is well spent and that we, as Americans WANT a big government - we want national parks, an EPA, NASA, etc.   

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