WASHINGTON, October 9, 2013 — Thus far the government shutdown is a non-event. Other than the 800,000 government employees who have been furloughed, most Americans have not been affected directly or indirectly.
Many beltway insiders are embarrassed that our government is shutdown. However, many of us outside the Beltway could not care less and would be happy if the shutdown — or more accurately, the slim down — were a permanent condition. This shutdown shows that many of the 800,000 federal government employees are superfluous.
Furthermore, federal employees complaining about missing a week or so of pay is nothing compared to the 14 percent of Americans who are unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ U-6 figures, or the nearly 52 percent of Americans relying on part time jobs to make ends meet. Federal workers are nigh impossible to fire and retain full health coverage while furloughed, something the vast majority of Americans cannot claim.
Those insiders who are embarrassed are obviously lovers of big government who enjoy spending other people’s money. However, speaking as a taxpayer, I would rather see unnecessary employees laid off and our government restructured to operate with fewer employees. That would certainly save taxpayers money, help to balance the budget, and reduce the deficit.
Most of the posturing among the politicians is theater. It is unlikely that the Republicans will be able to delay Affordable Care Act or extract major concessions from our uncompromising president. This should not matter because Obamacare has the likely potential to collapse under its own weight. Cynical Republicans could argue that they should not defund the act, but rather wait for it to self-destruct.
But there is an unintended benefit of the shutdown. It further proves, along with sequestration, that America can get along with fewer government employees. And this revelation comes despite the fact that the administration has implicitly stated its intention to make the sequestration, cuts, and shutdown as visible harmful as possible rather than making smart, targeted cutbacks.
If the furloughed employees were put to work in the efficient private sector, imagine how much richer America would be!
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