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.

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