It has done this seventeen times since 1977, and--Surprise!--despite dire predictions, the Republic has survived. The media commentary on the shutdown is generally absurd, predicting a "cataclysmic" result which will cost the economy billions of dollars. Many of the press reports, and the commentary on Tweeter by the low-info crowd which makes up the base of the Democratic party, seem to equate government shutdown with country shutdown. There is a concerted effort to let Obama evade any responsibility for the shutdown, and to promote a mind-set that argues that Republicans in Congress have to go along with anything Obama and Reid want. Much of the commentators need to read the Constitution and understand that the basis of our Republic is "checks-and-balances." No branch of the government has all the powers, and for every power a branch has, it is counterbalanced by a power residing in another branch. It is an intricate and extremely clever document that seeks to avoid government overreach. And that is the subject of tonight's rant.
A seemingly infinite number of stories (I won't link to them, you can find them easily enough) are discussing the "shutdown" in breathless terms. It's a phony "shutdown." The government, read the politically motivated masters of our executive branch, are closing down activities which make no sense to close but which draw lots of public notice. They, for example, shut down the World War II Monument in DC, putting up barricades and Park Police to keep tourists out, when the Monument, essentially an outdoor plaza, easily could have been left open at much less cost than closing it: it takes more police to prevent an activity than to allow it.
The Pentagon has announced plans to cancel the already sold-out Army-Navy football game, which, of course, makes no sense. On a more bright note, however, the White House has suspended Michelle Obama's Tweeter account, stating that, "Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, updates to this account will be limited." An impertinent question: Why does the FLOTUS have a government supported and staffed Tweeter account? Can't she tweet herself? The account is free, after all, and FLOTUS is not a federal employee. Go on the FLOTUS account, and catch up on the absurdity of it, and see some very funny tweets left by people reveling in the account being down. Congress, of course, will continue to get paid, and unlike shutdowns in the private sector the relatively small number of Federal employees furloughed will get all their pay retroactively without getting docked for annual leave. I wonder, can we 40% who actually pay Federal income tax, prorate our 2013 tax bill to deduct for the days the government was "shutdown"? Let's all "tweet" the IRS and find out.
I see little commentary, however, on something much more important. In 1962, for example, total employment by the federal government (military included) was 5.35 million persons. In 2011, that employment number was 4.4 million, about one million fewer. Sounds impressive except the decline has come from the military which went from 2.8 million uniformed personnel in 1962 to 1.58 million in 2011. The legislative branch employment went from 30,000 persons to 64,000--more than doubling in fifty years. Executive branch civilians went from 2.48 million to just under 2.76 million. (NOTE: It is not clear from the OPM data how the US Postal Service is handled. The 1962 numbers might well include USPS workers, while the 2011 numbers do not.) More important than those raw numbers, however, the role of the federal government in all of our lives has grown exponentially in those fifty years. We have allowed the federal government to become much too important and much too much of a factor in our lives. As I have written before,
The liberals insist that the country is the government and vice-versa, at least when they run it, and when they don't, well then, they have folks such as Bill Ayers. The liberals have gone from bombing the government to running it; from desecrating the flag to now wrapping themselves in it and insisting that it stands for the government; from resisting the government to using it to transform permanently our country.and also wrote earlier that ,
The GOP goal should be a government in which 95%-98% of the time it makes no difference to the average American citizen who is president. The US President should matter more to foreigners than to Americans. Except for foreign policy, national defense, times of national crisis, and providing a very broad economic vision, it should not matter who controls the White House. That means keep the government out of as many areas as possible, and where it has been involved deeply and for a long time, try to push the responsibility and resources out to the states, counties, cities, and people.That is the real tragedy of what we are seeing played out on TV sets and on the other media outlets: the obsession with government. The government, simply, should not matter to our lives the vast majority of the time.