Shutdown: Ironies and revelations

The dreaded shutdown is here, and forces some people to think. Oh, the humanity! Photo: AP Photo/Charles Tasnadi (1995)

WASHINGTON, October 1, 2013 — The House kept trying to give the President and his Senate what they wanted: they softened their stance on Obamacare in three separate bills, but the Senate, under orders and along party lines, predictably rejected them all. Now “the government’s shut down,” and everyone is acting surprised.

SEE RELATED: We must shut down Obama’s “big lie” campaign, before it’s too late

The Obamacare exchanges are open, though. Obamacare was already funded for that. Funny – the whole debate, all the trouble was about whether Obamacare should go ahead as planned, or wait for another year, or ten weeks, or… until it’s ready. Or maybe until the legislators – who are the only ones with the legal authority to make changes to the Act – changed the Act some 2000 times, to keep up with the <i>illegal</i> changes the President has already made.

What else is “shut down?” Only 800,000 federal employees are furloughed, out of the millions who daily interfere with, inspect, delay, investigate, spy on, and generally live off the productivity of the working class.

SEE RELATED: Republicans hold the power in government shutdown

Of course, the President has tried, as when his “sequestration” idea blew up in his face, to pick the 800,000 employees who would be most-missed by the public. National Parks and monuments are now off-limits. Not because they aren’t there any more, but because the president doesn’t trust the American people to take care of them, themselves. He’s afraid crazies will invade Yellowstone and hunt Smokey, Bullwinkle, and maybe even Yogi Bear, himself. He obviously doesn’t trust Americans to climb the steps of the Washington Monument without… what, without supervision?

Ecologists, animal-rights lovers, and other enviro-tyrants should be happy that the National Park System is now off-limits to visitors. That will give the little creatures a chance to walk around undisturbed by those pesky tourists. (Never mind that 99% of Park visitors never get more than a hundred yards from their vehicles in these vast tracts of now-closed “public” lands).

SEE RELATED: KERN: Obama squandering America’s wealth, $111,000 every second

The Professional Aviation Safety Specialists union is infuriated in a statement that “Nearly 3,000 aviation safety inspectors are being furloughed by the Federal Aviation Administration as part of the government shutdown,” though that number is disputed by the FAA, which says it’s 2500 office people, including “some” inspectors; and adds that “Many employees will be on call and ready to return to work if necessary.” So, as long as they’re not “necessary,” why worry? In fact, why pay them the rest of the time?

A Reuters story on Monday warned that “As many as a million U.S. government employees were making urgent plans on Monday for a possible midnight shutdown, with their unions urging Congress to strike a last-minute deal.” Unions sure are angry with Congress. One must suppose they’re equally mad at the Senate, which wouldn’t go along with any of the compromise bills the House sent up, even though those bills apparently didn’t stop Obamacare, anyway.

They won’t be angry with President Obama, however. He never had any bills to sign; he’s insulated from this whole mess. As usual, his hands are clean of the grimy business done by his minions.

Hawaii’s KHON Channel 2 quotes one of roughly union 3300 shipyard workers at Pearl Harbor who faced layoffs: “How are you gonna pay your bills, gonna feed your family? I’m pretty sure everybody’s thinking like that.” Yes, it’s a problem for people who think that way, who make more than they could at any privately-funded job, who never saved a penny, who have no more credit available and don’t pay down their cards, who refuse to cut back, who have no contingency plans, who believe that the money will always come rolling in – who think, in other words, like the government itself.

Now that they have to live like the rest of us (who don’t assume we’ll always have jobs, who don’t spend every dime, and who maintain good credit to get us through the sparse times that we all know can come), they’re at a loss: Who will save them from their habits?

It’s a question they – and our rulers – should have been asking all along.

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Tim Kern

Tim Kern taught economics for fifteen years, and discovered that understanding life is easy; it’s recognizing reality that takes practice. He holds a music degree, and later earned an MBA in finance from Northwestern University. He has lived across the US, and now makes his home in Anderson, Indiana.

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