Monday, February 28, 2011

Government Shutdown 2011: Something to Fear?

As the budget impasse in the Federal Government grows more protracted between Republicans who want to cut and Democrats who want to retain, the closing March 4 deadline for a plan grows more ominous. Without a budget with outlined appropriations, the U.S. Government will shut down.

Many pundits and policy wonks claim that a government shutdown would be disastrous for the United States. In reality, a government shutdown would stop everything except essential services in this country. The military will still stand guard. The post office will still deliver mail, but they and other federal employees will not get paid. Even Social Security checks will still be mailed out, if there are employees and resources still in place to process them. National museums and parks will close. Applications for passports, welfare benefits, and social security will not be processed.

In effect, a government shut down would provide an opportunity for the American people to witness how much they accomplish on their own without government. Do we not have private agencies which deliver our mail, and deliver it more efficiently? Would it not be better for elderly and retired persons to save their own money, ensuring for themselves a more secure future? Could not private and local interests fare just as well (if not better) in managing parks and recreational facilities in this country?

Notwithstanding legislators' wary recriminations about the 1995 shutdown, the Republicans now hold the high ground. Since Barack Obama became President, the United States electorate has grown much more aware, and outraged, by the deficit spending and the burgeoning national debt burdening this country.

The profligate appropriations, unsupportable entitlements, and utter irresponsibility of our lawmakers with tax-payers' money has brought this nation to this vulnerable turning point. A government shut-down may be just what it takes to shake loose services from the unconstitutional sway of the federal government and return them to state, local, and private initiatives, where they belong. If Americans realize that a stalled government hinders their daily lives far less than an active government, then the Republicans will have won the argument pressing for less federal regulation, intrusion, and control; and President Obama and the Democrats will have even fewer talking points to justify their statist agenda.

I vaguely recall someone in President Obama's coterie asserting, "Never let a good crisis go to waste." The Republicans have nothing to lose in capitalizing on this extensive financial debacle to further their agenda, the long-term financial well-being of this nation.

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