What Does a Government Shutdown Look Like?

If the scared Republican leadership in Washington would look at a government shutdown from the perspective of Dr. Harold Pease and disregard the scare tactics of the mainstream media then we might have a chance of reducing the deficit and ultimately eliminating Obamacare. Unfortunately, the will to take a strong stand in congress appears to be lacking.

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. He has dedicated his career to studying the writings of the Founding Fathers and applying that knowledge to current events. He has taught history and political science from this perspective for over 25 years at Taft College. More articles by Dr. Pease may be found at libertyunderfire.org

April 16th, 2011
Dr. Harold Pease

The paranoia with respect to a government shutdown is amazing. The hysteria peddlers using this terminology, and the media that purposely play to it, must know these two words emit such an extremist, emotional response. It appears designed to frighten the least informed either for or against the other party, thus the terminology and subsequent blame game.

So what does a government shut down look like? Do the president and vice president resign now that the government ends? No? Does Congress fly out of Washington D. C. the following day and cease to draw their pay, and the Supreme Court cease to deliberate on constitutional questions? Does the army come home and cease to protect us? NO, No, No! Do states, counties, and cities no longer function? No again, they have their own tax base and cops, prisons, and teachers remain in place.

There will never be a government shut down because none of these things will ever happen short of an overthrow of the government from within or a successful invasion from without. So cease the media frenzy and subsequent over-reaction.

How do we know this? Because we had a five-day shutdown between November 14 and November 19, 1995, and a second one of 21 days, between December 16, and January 6, 1996, and none of these things happened. No! Not even one. In fact, the public as a whole didn’t even notice. So what did happen? “The Federal government of the United States put non-essential government workers on furlough and suspended non-essential services…(Wikipedia).” Essentially all went on as before except some paychecks were a few days late. Apparently the federal government does (when forced to do so) know what non-essential services are after all, and is capable of closing them if it has the will.

So at worst a government shutdown is still really only a partial shutdown of non-essential services. So the federal government goes on a long overdue diet and gets back to the basics. This is precisely the Tea Party position (“cut it or shut it”) and the reason they do not fear such. If you have a budget of $3.7 trillion and you have taxes covering only $2 trillion simple math tells you that either you double taxes or cut half of your expenses. You simply can’t keep increasing the national debt, now nearing $14.300 trillion, which has been laid on the backs of our new slaves—our children.

When you have cancer you must surgically remove the infected tissue. Of course it is painful, but the longer you wait the more painful, drastic, and life threatening it becomes. Most of the programs cut in both shutdowns, were not areas of clear constitutional authority as defined in Article I, Section 8, so in time such cuts should become permanent cuts or be subjected to the amending process for appropriate authority.

Usually diets have some benefits in and of themselves. In the case of the federal government shutdowns of 1995 and 1996, both parties benefited: Democrats, under President Bill Clinton, because thereafter he was credited with “the first four consecutive balanced budgets since the 1920’s” and Republicans because they retained control of both houses of Congress largely because of the popularity of their hard line on the budget (Wikipedia).

So a government shutdown is really only a partial shutdown that may actually be healthy. Lets call it such in the future so that we don’t frighten the less informed?

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