Apocalypse Now, Shutdown Edition

Just turn the government off and leave it that way!

Once you'd seen the Drudge headline confirming that, yes, the government is shutting down, there was absolutely no need for anyone to continue to read or listen to any news broadcast for the remainder of the week.  Everyone with any sense knew exactly what they were going to say: The sky is falling!  And it's all the Republicans' fault!

Every single satirical trope of media leftism was on full display.  The classic joke about "World To End Tomorrow; Women, Minorities Hardest Hit"?  Thank you, CNN.com.  The old "Swap the parties and the article would be totally different"?  Of course.  Lies and deceit?  Everywhere.  Our self-appointed ethical superiors even put forward a sob-story government employee who's headed for bankruptcy if the shutdown continues on - one with four cute kids, no less.

In the unlikely event that America was actually thinking about what was being said, the contradictions were obvious.  How is the shutdown the fault of Republican intrasigence, when both Mr. Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate specifically refused to negotiate?  Obama even hauled in the leadesr of both houses of Congress for a formal but brief meeting where he told them the same thing again: He's not negotiating, they just need to shuddup and do as they're told!

But the polls seem to indicate, once again, the power of the biased media: the shutdown has been blamed on Republicans for months now, and it looks like voters are swallowing it.

Which means that it's time for the Republicans to double down.

You've Paid The Price, At Least Take The Win!

Think about it: Whatever problems ensue from the shutdown will be blamed entirely on Republicans.  Whatever problems arise in the next year that have nothing to do with the shutdown, will be blamed on the shutdown and hence Republicans anyway.  Heck, whatever problems show up for the next three election cycles will no doubt be blamed on the Republican shutdown; after all, Mr. Obama's still blaming Mr. Bush for everything and he's been cutting brush on his ranch for half a decade now.

Therefore, as Hillary might say: what difference, at this point, does it make if the shutdown goes on?  For that matter, what difference does it make if we slam right up against the debt ceiling and are forced to actually live within our means?

Yes, Republicans will be blamed.  They always are.  But this way, Republicans will have actually accomplished something that they and a clear majority of Americans say they want, in principle: a Federal government cut down to size.

Is this the right way to trim the size of government?  Most certainly not.  Is it the most efficient way?  Absolutely not.  Is it what a serious country would be doing?  Out of the question - but it's been clear that we're no longer a serious country for a long while now.

Alas, the past thirty years have proved that calamity and crisis is the only way the government will ever be cut.  Mr. Reagan couldn't trim the size of government.  Newt Gingrich couldn't shrink the government - though at least he balanced the budget by preventing it from growing faster than the boom-year tax revenues.  Nothing anyone has done has, in actual real dollars, shrunk the size of government - until the sequester, which did if only by a smidgen.

A government shutdown that lasted for a reasonably long time would also shrink government spending - by the salaries that won't be paid, and by the ex-government workers that get tired of waiting and go find a real job, insofar as there are any to be had.

Colliding with the debt ceiling would shrink the government even more: we currently borrow around a quarter of the amount our Federal government spends, so not being able to do that anymore means an automatic 25% cut.  That's the stuff conservative dreams are made of, though in a sane world the cut would be 75% or so.

Now, we know absolutely that Mr. Obama will try to apply those cuts in the most visible, harmful, annoying and damaging way possible - already the news is full of stories of the Park Service barricading open parks that have no staffed facilities, shutting down facilities that don't received any Federal funds, and even attempting to barricade privately-owned attractions that merely seem like something run by the government but aren't!  But just possibly, the Republicans in the House learned how to deal with that: with great fanfare, pass a short bill that fixes that one single problem that's annoying the voters, and dare Mr. Obama to veto it.

That is how the Republicans ended up not getting blamed for the sequester.  When it went into effect, the FAA was furloughed so our nation's airways jammed up.  Voters got angry, and within a couple of days, the House had passed a bill to provide funds for the FAA.  The Senate didn't dare not pass it, and Mr. Obama didn't dare not sign it.

The FAA got its money, the delays ceased, and the voters stopped caring.  Meanwhile, the remaining 99% of the sequester savings went ahead as scheduled and remain to this day.

It's Now Or Never

One of the leftist media's favorite rhetorical arguments against "Republican intrasigence" is the idea that since Obamacare was duly passed, and Democrats weren't thrown out of office by angry voters in the several elections following, Republicans have no right to oppose what is now the law of the land.

Let's suppose that is true.  Remember, though, that conservatives believe that a socialized health care system will fundamentally transform America into a European-style leftist welfare state just as Mr. Obama himself promised.  As Mitt Romney pointed out and discovered on election day, once everyone is a ward of the government, the government can never be trimmed down until it collapses in bankruptcy as we see happening in Greece.

Therefore - isn't it better just to blow the place up now?  There won't be another chance, and if we don't, we'll end up like Greece.

At least this way we're only technically bankrupt; we still have something resembling a functional economy, with many private firms that produce useful stuff which could succeed if government would just get off their backs.

Compare that with Greece, where everybody cheats on their taxes, most people work for the government, and the whole country produces next to nothing save tourism.  How can you get out of that trap?  You can't, they haven't, and they won't.

The choice before Republicans is this: Cause severe pain now, in the hopes that it's the necessary surgery and we're able to recover afterwards.  Or let things go until the patient is terminal, at which point it won't really matter who gets the blame.

It's an indictment of our politicians, both parties, the media, our entire elite establishment, and indeed the voters themselves that it's come to this.  But of all the available options, a shutdown and debt ceiling collision are the least bad available outcome - because that outcome alone provides some hope, however painful, that we'll get our financial house in order.  And if we don't, we're doomed eventually anyway.

Now to pray that the Republicans can just hold in - not knuckle under, not fund Obamacare, and not raise the debt ceiling.  We've paid the price, at least reap the rewards!

Read other Scragged.com articles by Hobbes or other articles on Bureaucracy.
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