Personal Liberty Poll
When the federal government shuts down, it disrupts services that make taxpayer lives easier. Meanwhile, government shutdowns have very little impact on the warfare, welfare or police state.
That should tell you all you need to know about what a government shutdown really is: A political ploy.
This time it’s the Democrats who forced the shutdown drama before backing off. But we’ve seen the same game play out with Republicans.
And really, Democrat and Republican political insiders are the only people who believe the shutdown really makes any difference at all. President Barack Obama made sure to shutter veterans’ parks in an effort to make the GOP look bad during the shutdown which occurred under his watch.
Look what those meddling Republicans have done, was Obama’s intended message. Of course, it backfired. And the president and his administration came off looking like a bunch of petty bureaucrats attempting to politicize a shutdown.
President Donald Trump did his version of shutdown scaremongering last week, falsely claiming that a shutdown would ruin the military.
“If for any reason it shuts down, the worst thing is what happens to our military. We’re rebuilding our military. We’re making it — we’re bringing it to a level that it’s never been at. And the worst thing is for our military.”
It doesn’t matter, though, when you remember that shutdowns are purely political by their very nature. They are, in fact, as arbitrary as the budget negotiations they stem from– and which never end in sane budgets.
Bloomberg offered a nice little rundown of what is and is not being affected by the government shutdown in a piece published this morning. Reading through the article, which is worthwhile, one gets the impression that the shutdown is solely intended to inconvenience and scare taxpayers for political purposes.
That’s because it is.
As Bloomberg pointed out:
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission will stop investigating new victim complaints and taking fresh action against suspected wrongdoers. The National Labor Relations Board will stop investigating charges of workers’ rights being violated. The Bureau of Land Management will stop issuing permits for oil and gas drilling. The Federal Aviation Administration will stop issuing approvals for drones. The Justice Department will suspend civil litigation. The government will stop issuing Social Security cards, and anyone trying to visit a U.S. military cemetery overseas will find themselves barred at the gate. And NASA has suspended Twitter updates from the International Space Station.
This is all stuff that the system requires for people to do different types of business and things that carry emotional value, visiting cemeteries for instance.
And the rest of the Bloomberg report reads pretty similarly.
Here are some points culled from the article by Reason’s Scott Shackford:
- About 83 percent of the Justice Department’s 115,000 employees will continue to report to work if the government shuts down, according to the department’s contingency plan. Criminal litigation will continue without interruption; non-essential civil litigation is to be curtailed or postponed.
- The Federal Trade Commission will suspend antitrust investigations not related to mergers. Merger reviews by the FTC and the Justice Department will continue. The agencies say they will go to court to challenge deals if necessary.
- Federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have enough money from sources like fines and filing fees to continue most operations through Feb. 9, according to Jackie Koszczuk, a spokeswoman with the Administrative Office of the Courts.
- The Department of Homeland Security will remain largely unaffected, with 87 percent of its 232,860 employees deemed exempt from the shutdown. The department includes the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Coast Guard and the Secret Service.
And so, most of the government’s important business continues as normal.
A true government shutdown, the type we may experience if our economy ever does buckle under the weight of government debt, would look very different. Think austerity in places like Greece and Spain in recent years.
That’s probably not something we want to see happen, because it would make for a pretty chaotic and damaging few years for the United States. But at the same time, it would also likely serve as the impetus for a long overdue political restructuring in the country.
So let’s have a real government shutdown next time.