American Elephants

A Government Shutdown? Much Ado About Nothing. by The Elephant's Child

The media, always ready to do the bidding of the Obama administration, continues to shriek about a government shutdown — as if a shutdown were unusual. It isn’t. Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) even stretched mightily to claim that a shutdown would be “as dangerous as the break-up of the Union before the Civil War.” Mild. Harry Reid has called us “anarchists” and the president’s communications director Dan Pfieffer said Congressional Republicans were “terrorists with bombs strapped to their chests” in an apparent contest to come up with the worst insult.

— There have been 17 funding gaps since 1977. Under federal law, operations and services continue for those essential for “the safety of human life or the protection of property” as well as those programs funded through multiyear or permanent appropriations.

— Crucial government services and benefits continue without interruption.  A 1995 legal opinion said “the federal government will not be truly ‘shut down’… because Congress has itself provided that some activities of Government should continue.”

— Social Security and veterans benefits will continue to be paid. 80 % of Social Security Administration employees kept working in 1995 because they were considered ‘essential’ to making benefit payments.

— National Security, including the conduct of foreign relations, is considered an essential function.

— Food and Drug safety would not be affected.

— Air Traffic Control and other transportation safety operations are considered essential, and TSA agents will continue to search you.

— Federal law enforcement at all levels will continue to operate, FBI, Border Patrol, Bureau of Prisons all stay open and functioning.

— The Federal Reserve and the Treasury Department continue to function, and the IRS keeps on collecting money.

— Emergency and Disaster services are essential services in the case of hurricanes or tornadoes.

— Federal employees who are not considered essential would be furloughed. Based on past examples this is a small number compared to the federal workforce.

Not much is shut down. Museums may not be open, Parks may be officially closed, but it really isn’t a big deal, contrary to the horrified shrieks of the Media. It’s just politics as usual.

2 Comments so far
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See, and I’m one of those who thought that when Obama and Reid announced that they would not negotiate, that pretty much took the onus off Boehner. I mean, if they’re really serious about not negotiating (despite all the talk from Reid and Obama about how they should work together, and that congress is about negotiation and compromise), Boehner should just finish up the day’s work and go home.

Incidentally, have you noticed that the Democrats, who once loudly declaimed the Republicans as “the Party of No” (supposedly, as an insult), have not produced any proposal of their own? All they’ve said is that if the Republicans don’t give them everything they want with no restrictions, they’ll turn down anything else that’s sent to them. Party of “No”, indeed…

No, the Democrats won’t be that happy with a shutdown, mainly because it shows the farce for what it is. Out of some 11 million federal employees, they are announcing the furlough of fewer than 700,000. And even that is pushing it, since where my brother works (MARFORSYSCOM), half the people who were told they were being furloughed have been told to come in anyway. Same thing at the Smithsonian.

And all Boehner needs to do is simply do the work that the House is there to do, and simply announce (every day, if necessary) that the House has made a number of good-faith proposals, but until Obama comes to the negotiating table, there is simply nothing more to be done.

And, as a personal opinion I’d just like to throw out, John McCain should just shut the hell up.


Comment by Lon Mead

Obama made a huge effort to make the sequester painful for the public, and pretty much, as far as I could tell, nobody paid attention. The big build-up from the media about the dreaded government shutdown will probably meet about the same amount of enthusiasm. I think it would actually would be a great favor for the Dems if they delayed a year and dumped the device tax. It would be nice if Republicans spent their time insulting Democrats instead of each other.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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