Egad! Another government shutdown?
Most of the denizens of official Washington are fanning themselves over the prospect of a government shutdown. That’s because, as usual, Congress hasn’t done its job of passing the 12 necessary appropriations bills that give the government the authority to spend our money.
They now have precious little time to get that done. Existing authority expires at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time Saturday, Sept. 30. The media and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) are all now coming down with the vapors.
It’s interesting that none of that crowd was terribly upset in 2020 when restaurants, churches, schools, funeral homes, manicure parlors, barber shops, florists, theaters, night clubs and frozen yogurt stores were forced by government diktat to shut down. Washington elites and their media stenographers didn’t need to be defibrillated when tens of thousands of small business owners were pushed to the brink of bankruptcy and beyond. By the apparent estimation of our betters in government and media, denying millions of law-abiding, tax paying citizens the ability to make a living is no big deal.
Government employees who were told to go home in March 2020 simply set up their laptops on the kitchen table or in the spare bedroom and pretended to put in a full day’s work while continuing to get paid. A huge percentage of those employees have still not set foot in their actual offices even though you and I keep paying for the space.
(To be fair, I’m sure that many government employees put in a proper day’s work during the pandemic. But I’d wager that for the majority of government workers, the pandemic very closely resembled paid time off.)
But now we’re talking about actually cutting off their pay because Congress hasn’t passed the necessary spending authorization. Now we’re told that closing up shop at the Department of Education – which, in its 43 years of existence has seen to a steady decline in student achievement and high school graduation rates – is unthinkable. Sending the Senior Assistant Deputy Director at the Bureau of Economic Analysis home without pay is an outrage. Being without whatever it is that they do at the Bureau of Industry & Security, the Center for Parent Information & Resources, the Stennis Center for Public Service and the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights will cause disruptions from which we will never recover.
(No, until now I’d never heard of any those government agencies either. But they, along with dozens and dozens and dozens more, actually exist. Here’s a list.)
We’ve had government shutdowns before. Aside from being unable to visit Carlsbad Caverns or take a White House tour, how badly was your life impacted?
And make no mistake. The government won’t really shut down. “Essential” services like the military and Social Security will continue apace.
And thus, we are confronted with the question. Why is a country that is $33 trillion in debt and spending $2 trillion a year more than it takes in spending money on anything that is “non-essential?”