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Government shutdown looms, and the worst thing for liberals would be a nice long one
This shouldn't even be possible with Republicans controlling the House and the Senate. But ah, we have the filibuster, which means no one really controls the Senate because you can't pass anything with short of 60 votes unless it complies with the Senate's lunatic budget rules.
So with Democrats making idiotic demands and President Trump in no mood to give in to them, we're looking at the possibility of a government shutdown as soon as Friday - since that's when the most recent spending bill funding the government expires. (Say, how about getting back to passing real budgets that fund the government for an entire year like we used to do before Harry Reid found it politically expedient not to starting in 2010?)
Every time we get to the brink of one of these things, the two parties start jocking for position in how to most convincingly blame the other, and this time is no exception:
President Donald Trump on Wednesday again raised the possibility of a U.S. government shutdown by week’s end - blaming Democrats for that possible outcome - one day before he is due to host Republican and Democratic congressional leaders for talks on a spending bill.
Trump’s warning came as some of the most conservative members of the House of Representatives pushed for increases in military spending along with either a freeze or reduction in domestic programs.
Their bid is likely to be rejected by Democrats, who make up a minority in Congress, and could further complicate behind-the-scenes negotiations by congressional leaders that have been going on for months aimed at figuring out government spending for the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1.
A temporary spending bill passed by Congress is due to run out on Friday. If Congress cannot agree on a measure to continue the funding, parts of the federal government could shut down.
As a condition of backing a new spending measure, Democrats have demanded legislative protections for the nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States. But Trump has criticized that demand, saying it could set the stage for an impasse.
“The Democrats are really looking at something that is very dangerous for our country,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “They are looking at shutting down.”
Before I get to my main point, I'll just point out that the Republican majority in the Senate could eliminate any Democrat veto over spending priorities by getting rid of the filibuster, and they refuse to do so.
Now, that said, let's consider the question of a government shutdown. The default presumption about these things is that a shutdown would redound disastrously to the interests of the politicians held responsible for it. That's why potential shutdowns are always covered as desperate attempts to avoid a massive crisis - particularly in the minds of Republicans who figure they will be blamed by the media regardless of who actually prevented a deal from being completed.
I think differently.
Contrary to the belief that the public would go into hysterics over the non-operation of much of the government (remember that "essential" operations will continue, and Washington considers an awful lot of what it does to be essential), I think a prolongged government shutdown could turn out to be the left's worst nightmare. Why?
Because if we found ourselves living over an extended period of time with much of the government not functioning, what people would find out is that it's not that big a deal. Would your life really be any less pleasant if some obscure agency within the Department of Agriculture, or the EPA, or the Department of Commerce wasn't open for business? Would you really miss it if the Department of Transportation took a month off? Or six months?
This is what liberals don't want people to realize: Your life would be just fine if most of the government shut down, and stayed shut down. You would not miss it. Your life would be exactly the same, and possibly better. The longer the shutdown went on, the more people would realize that they really don't need this massive behemoth that costs so much money and dominates so much of our attention. They would not demand that it re-open. They wouldn't care. Before long, they'd figure it would be fine to just keep it shut down.
Oh the media would regale us with stories of all the disaster caused by the shutdown, but people have figured out that the media mostly propagandize, and more importantly, they wouldn't feel it in their daily lives. Now the people who are totally dependent on government for their subsistence would surely make themselves heard, and they would be treated by the media as unassailable saints deserving of their checks or whatever. But those who are self-sufficient would start to notice a pattern - that the only people who seem to care about the shutdown are the people who don't support themselves.
Over time, a prolonged shutdown could seriously alter the way people view the role of the federal government in their lives, and not in the way liberals want. It would make people realize we don't need it, and we wouldn't miss it if it was gone.
So go ahead, Democrats. Shut it down. And be careful what you wish for.
Dan's new novel, BACKSTOP, is a story of spiritual warfare and baseball. Download it from Amazon here!