Headlines in newspapers across the country today declare we are on the verge of a “government shutdown” because the Republicrats and Demoplicans cannot agree on whether to cut an infinitesimal amount of federal spending ($40 billion demanded by House Speaker John Boehner at last report) or an even more infinitesimal amount ($33 billion, the deal lawmakers had been working on until Boehner’s $40 billion demand yesterday).
The newspapers tell us unless there’s an agreement by Friday, there will be no money to fund government operations, forcing a “government shutdown.” This is happening because Democrats, who last year controlled the presidency, House of Representatives and Senate, did not pass a budget for the current fiscal year. A string of short-term spending measures has been approved, and the latest of them expires Friday.
But a government shutdown? Come on.
You can bet America’s military will continue to drop bombs and missiles wherever and whenever the president wants them dropped. The Treasury Department will continue to issue debt and the Federal Reserve will continue creating money from nothing to buy the debt. The Treasury will continue to accept our tax payments, and the IRS will continue to process our tax returns.
The Securities and Exchange Commission will continue to fumble and bumble. The federal prisons will continue to imprison. The Environmental Protection Agency will continue telling us the carbon dioxide we exhale with each breath is an atmospheric calamity. The FBI, CIA, NSA, DEA and other law enforcement and security agencies will continue reading emails and listening to phone calls and battering down doors. The TSA will continue to grope our groins at airports.
No, the government will not shut down. At least not those parts of it that most Americans fear or despise. Those parts of the government will stay in business, because government’s first priority is to keep itself in power, and the way government stays in power is through force, intimidation and coercion.
So those parts of the government that harass, punish, intimidate and coerce will continue as if nothing is wrong.
National parks or monuments might close or see hours reduced. Tax refunds, Social Security checks, and other payments might be delayed. Those parts of government that people depend on for help or enjoyment likely would be the parts that are affected.
There are two reasons for this:
1) Government does not depend on those parts for survival.
2) Those are the parts that will upset people if they no longer work as well. Cutting off what people like about government will have people clamoring for government.
In other words, government will hurt the people it supposedly serves to preserve its powers of force, coercion and intimidation here and abroad.
So it wouldn’t be a government shutdown. It would be a shutdown of government that people want and a continuation of government they don’t want.