Tag Archives: Government Shutdown

Government Shutdown – Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell offers his take on the shutdown:

Even when it comes to something as basic, and apparently as simple and straightforward, as the question of who shut down the federal government, there are diametrically opposite answers, depending on whether you talk to Democrats or to Republicans.

There is really nothing complicated about the facts. The Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted all the money required to keep all government activities going — except for ObamaCare.

This is not a matter of opinion. You can check the Congressional Record.

As for the House of Representatives’ right to grant or withhold money, that is not a matter of opinion either. You can check the Constitution of the United States. All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which means that Congressmen there have a right to decide whether or not they want to spend money on a particular government activity.

Whether ObamaCare is good, bad or indifferent is a matter of opinion. But it is a matter of fact that members of the House of Representatives have a right to make spending decisions based on their opinion.

ObamaCare is indeed “the law of the land,” as its supporters keep saying, and the Supreme Court has upheld its Constitutionality.

But the whole point of having a division of powers within the federal government is that each branch can decide independently what it wants to do or not do, regardless of what the other branches do, when exercising the powers specifically granted to that branch by the Constitution.

The hundreds of thousands of government workers who have been laid off are not idle because the House of Representatives did not vote enough money to pay their salaries or the other expenses of their agencies — unless they are in an agency that would administer ObamaCare.

Since we cannot read minds, we cannot say who — if anybody — “wants to shut down the government.” But we do know who had the option to keep the government running and chose not to. The money voted by the House of Representatives covered everything that the government does, except for ObamaCare.

The Senate chose not to vote to authorize that money to be spent, because it did not include money for ObamaCare. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says that he wants a “clean” bill from the House of Representatives, and some in the media keep repeating the word “clean” like a mantra. But what is unclean about not giving Harry Reid everything he wants?

If Senator Reid and President Obama refuse to accept the money required to run the government, because it leaves out the money they want to run ObamaCare, that is their right. But that is also their responsibility.

You cannot blame other people for not giving you everything you want. And it is a fraud to blame them when you refuse to use the money they did vote, even when it is ample to pay for everything else in the government.

When Barack Obama keeps claiming that it is some new outrage for those who control the money to try to change government policy by granting or withholding money, that is simply a bald-faced lie. You can check the history of other examples of “legislation by appropriation” as it used to be called.

Whether legislation by appropriation is a good idea or a bad idea is a matter of opinion. But whether it is both legal and not unprecedented is a matter of fact.

Perhaps the biggest of the big lies is that the government will not be able to pay what it owes on the national debt, creating a danger of default. Tax money keeps coming into the Treasury during the shutdown, and it vastly exceeds the interest that has to be paid on the national debt.

Even if the debt ceiling is not lifted, that only means that government is not allowed to run up new debt. But that does not mean that it is unable to pay the interest on existing debt.

None of this is rocket science. But unless the Republicans get their side of the story out — and articulation has never been their strong suit — the lies will win. More important, the whole country will lose.


It is fact that spending bills originate in the House of Representatives.  I would rather have the House vote to allocate enough money to the budget short of the amount required for Obamacare and then let the actors figure out what they wanna cut, but that’s details.

Obama’s Press Conference

Barack Obama

I only caught a few minutes of the President’s press conference this afternoon but one thing I did hear that I found interesting is this:

Now, the good news is, over the past 3 1/2 years, our businesses have created 7 1/2 million new jobs. Our housing market is healing; we’ve cut the deficit in half. Since I took office, the deficit is coming down faster than any time in the last 50 years.

The irony is thick.  The whole reason the deficit is coming down so fast is due to House Republicans forcing the administration to accept cuts.

Obama is taking credit for republicans doing exactly what they’re doing now.

Up Is Down – Democrats Object To Entitlement Programs That Incentivize Not Working


Another example of how whacky this debate has gotten.  We actually have a democrat lecturing a republican on the tender mercies of government largess:

“Now we’re saying to federal employees: We’re going to pay you when this is all over with,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said minutes after the 407-to-0 House vote. “But right now, you just stay home … watch TV, play chess, whatever you’re going to do, because we won’t let you work.”

Truly remarkable.

By the way, the strategy is working:

The Senate is expected to OK it as well but adjourned Saturday without a vote. The Democrat-controlled chamber will not scheduled a vote until at least Monday afternoon, when members return to Washington.

Government Shutdown – Obama Making It Painful: Part I

Amber AlertWow.  Just wow.

Obama has shut down the Amber Alert program.

The Pentagon Furloughs Hundreds Of Thousands


So, as a Libertarian, there is a lot to like in having the government shut down.  First, the guilty pleasure and second, the opportunity to display to the nation we can do without much of the government apparatus we have in place.

But here is a benefit that I would expect the Left to embrace:

Half of the department’s 800,000 civilian workers are slated for furloughs beginning Tuesday.

As far as I’m concerned, the Pentagon is just another government agency, although much more legit than many others, and is subject to bloat in the same way that all agencies are subject to bloat.


The Outcome Of Government Shutdown

Government Shutdown

What happened the last time the government shut down?

The democrat President compromised, the budget was balanced and we saw welfare reform pass.

I would like Obama to do that.

Government Employees

One of the fallacies that the main stream leftist has of upper middle class America is that these upper middle class folks they simply have their world given to them.

You know, they’re white and male therefore don’t have to work or achieve.  They just walk in a room and get given the bounty of life.

The truth is far from this perception.

Consider this:

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development said it will close its offices at 1:30 p.m. Other agencies, such as the Labor Department, expect most employees to be gone by mid-day, but haven’t set a specific time.

Once they head home, furloughed employees are under strict orders not to do any work. That means no sneaking glances at Blackberries or smart phones to check emails, no turning on laptop computers, no checking office voicemail, and no use of any other government-issued equipment.

Every single vacation I’ve taken in the last 5-10 years has included my work laptop.  My wife and I got married on the beaches here in North Carolina; we spent 10 glorious days celebrating with friends and family.  We brought work laptops with us.

When I am NOT on vacation, I often times check my email before my feet hit the floor in the morning and one of the last things I  do before going to be is check my work condition.  I often interact with global teams located who knows where, and their needs may not fit a US based schedule.

My point?  Government is without a clue and these people are only making it more painful than they need to be.

Government Shutdown

First, I would like to point out that I fully support a shutdown of the government.  The aspects of the State that I think are essential are not in jeopardy of being turned away; we only face the fat of the pig.

Second, this is the hammer I would wield if I were a republican lawmaker.  I would simply slip the paper to Reid and Obama, look them straight in the eye and say, “Manage your career as you see fit.”

There is support across the political spectrum for delaying the individual mandate one year and using the government funding bill to implement the delay. Additionally, the survey found that by a 5-point margin, respondents support using every opportunity to defund or delay the ACA rather than simply passing a “clean” bill to fund the government.

Fully 56 percent of respondents support the individual mandate delay in the context of a continuing resolution debate, including 55 percent of independents, and 52 percent overall in “swing districts.” The survey also found that strong majorities across the spectrum oppose the Affordable Care Act, including 60 percent of independents, and a majority in “swing districts.”

If brought before the people in districts that will swing, defunding the bill will win.

Game over.

Obamacare – Law Of The Land

So, as the country moves into a government shutdown, I’m reflecting on politics.

Consider North Carolina.  We here have elected a republican governor, a republican controlled house and a republican controlled senate.

All legitimate.

Together, these bodies have submitted, debated, passed and vetoed laws; only later to be over ridden.

One of the most controversial laws passed is the Voter ID law; of which the United States has sued to challenge.

Is there a democrat alive that would not support using any means legally necessary to overturn that law?  Shenanigans or not.

Now, consider the opposition.  That is how they feel concerning Obamacare.

And like it or not, it is the House of Representatives that are negotiating and compromising, not the Senate.

Government Shutdown of 1995-1996

I wasn’t paying attention back in 1995-1996.  I was managing a jazz club at the time and national politics couldn’t have been further from my mind.

If I could go back in time I might have been able to tell you that the government shut down, but maybe not.  It certainly didn’t impact my life one iota.

Come to think of it, that simple fact, that I wasn’t impacted in the least, speaks volumes to the import of most of what the Federal Government has become.

I digress.

As it turns out there are some similar themes between then and now:

The United States federal government shutdown of 1995 and 1996 was the result of a conflict between Democratic President Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress

A majority of Congress members and the House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, had promised to slow the rate of government spending; however, this conflicted with the president’s objectives for education, the environment, Medicare, and public health.

Congress had passed a continuing resolution for funding and a bill for debt limit extension, each of which was vetoed by Clinton,who denounced them as “backdoor efforts” to make cuts.

And then this:

The government shutdown took place in two phases. The first lasted five days in November 1995, until the White House agreed to congressional demands to balance the budget within seven years. But talks on implementing that agreement failed, and the second shutdown lasted 21 days, from Dec. 15, 1995 to Jan. 6. 1996. (Then a blizzard struck Washington and local federal workers could not get back to work for days after that.)

The sticking point was the GOP demand that Clinton agree to their version of a balanced budget. In months of negotiations, Clinton had actually given a far amount of ground, infuriating Democrats on the left. He agreed to a balanced budget over seven years, to tax cuts, to changes in mandatory spending programs such as Medicare. But the two sides were remained far apart on the pace of spending cuts — and even further apart on the policies behind those cuts.

Two things seem clear:

  1. It was Clinton who shut the government down the first time until finally agreeing to Republican demands.
  2. History is too kind to President Clinton.  He most certainly did not balance the budget.  That honor falls to the Republican held House of Representatives.

We’re seeing the same thing here.

We have a Democrat spender who wants to not only ignore cutting spending but wants to INCREASE spending.  Add to that his incessant “Class Warfare” and you have the perfect villain.  The set up is pretty close.

Then, as now, it’s the conservative movement that is driving the government to a balanced budget.  It’s conservatives who are holding the line on spending and insisting on cuts.  It’s the democrats who are refusing to give in.

The difference?  Boehner.  He was there in ’95.  He saw the mistakes Newt made:

  1. Seeming to relish the idea of a shutdown
  2. Allowing himself to be caricatured as a crybaby

The result is that you have a Republican caucus that knows it’s values are supported by America.  They know how the Democrats are going to act and they know that a government shutdown will force those Democrats back to the table.  And America will support the will of the conservatives.

They did in 1995 and 1996.

They did in Minnesota.

They will again in 2011.

The lesson is this:  When the Democrats come back and agree to your deal; TAKE IT!