How tragic, though, that all “services” won’t cease. Imagine a world free from such horrors. No more politicians and bureaucrats sponging off us, no more cops writing tickets that rob us of the few pennies taxation overlooked, no more busybodies running our lives nor dictators forcing us to act against our own interests in favor of theirs. No more licensing, minimum-wage laws, or compulsory unions and their destruction of jobs. No more war, torture, denial of habeas corpus. No more thugs at the airports, ogling and groping us, massacring our freedom of movement. No more official eavesdropping on our phone calls and emails. No more inflation nor regulations whose compliance doubles or triples the costs of products.
Shut the monster down! Stab, shoot, and strangle it lest it ever again rise to bully and impoverish us. Then behold the peace and prosperity flooding the country, lifting everyone higher and higher – as high as the politicians, bureaucrats, and corporatists who formerly preyed on us!
Any sensible person would welcome so blessed an event. Which may explain why statists in and out of office lament it. They mourn the last time “open political warfare shut down the government” in 1995 and 1996. And it’s good that they remind us, because who remembers? The disasters supposed to plague us didn’t — until government resumed operations. Planes didn’t fall out of the sky; it took 9/11 and the Feds’ negligence to induce that catastrophe. Farmers and processors didn’t seize the chance to poison us, though government daily adds toxic chemicals to our sustenance.
The “services” Americans lost for a few days in the mid-90s — and ones we’re likely to forfeit again should the government temporarily desist from some of its evil — generally fall into three categories. First are those the Feds have unconstitutionally usurped from the private sector and ought to return to it forthwith: “National museums and 368 national parks closed their doors; nine million visitors were turned away.… New patients were not accepted into clinical research trials at the National Institute[s] of Health…” Search the Constitution over, but there’s no section anywhere empowering the Feds to swipe land, then force taxpayers to construct parking lots and concession stands, ticket offices and exhibitions or hiking trails. Ditto for medically experimenting on us.
Next come those “services” we neither want nor need but must “patronize” to satisfy government’s dictates. “Hundreds of thousands of visa and passport applications went unprocessed as some passport agencies shut down while others operated with minimal staff.” Why not abolish the unconstitutional mandates for visas and passports instead? Why must free people obtain bureaucrats' permission before they cross an imaginary line in the sand – and pay oodles for it, too?
Then there are the “services” with which the State bribes half the population into supporting its tyranny over and theft from the other half. “The five-day government stoppage in 1995 caused delays in processing of Social Security, Medicare and veterans' checks.” Calamities don’t come any worse than Americans’ having to wait for their welfare.
No wonder the media doesn’t ask those of us footing the Feds’ bills what we think of shutting this cesspool down. Instead, reporters interview cranks like “Howard Gleckman, a resident fellow at the Urban Institute.”
Comrade Lyndon Johnson established the Institute to provide propagandistic cover for the metastasizing State — sorry, “to foster sound public policy and effective government.” Naturally, the Institute depends on massive “public support,” a.k.a. our taxes, for its budget. So it definitely has a horse in this race. But you won’t discover that from ABC News, which quotes Howie as though he’s some sort of disinterested expert: "People don't think about how much it is that the government does for them,” he opines.
Oh, but Howie, we do — with every pothole our cars hit, with each incandescent light bulb we stockpile thanks to Our Rulers’ “phase-out” next year, and, of course, we'll think about Washington, DC, all day on April 15.
“There would be no planes if it weren't for TSA and air traffic controllers,” Howie continues with blithe disregard for the fact that planes existed long before either the TSA or federal air-traffic controllers did. “And as far as Social Security, somebody actually has to run computers to make sure checks run." Somebody actually should leave Americans alone rather than cheating them with this Ponzi scheme.
When the Feds shelved bits of their wickedness for a few days in the ‘90’s, and likely this time around as well, Our Rulers kept “essential functions” up and running while suspending “non-essential” ones. If you suspect your definition of “essential” differs considerably from theirs, you’re right. “Some” of the “government functions determined to be ‘essential’" were “national security,” – gotta keep bombing those little brown villagers overseas! – “law enforcement” – how will government’s coffers overflow if the loot from fines doesn’t continue flooding them? – “and emergency assistance” – we might ask Hurricane Katrina’s survivors whether the storm or FEMA damaged them more.
But here’s the kicker: “During the five-day shutdown in November 1995, about 800,000 ‘non-essential’ employees were sent home … A longer, 21-day partial shutdown — the longest in history — followed at the end of that year and ran into 1996. About 284,000 workers were furloughed.” And then, despite the government’s own admission that over a million of its employees are superfluous, recalled to the public trough.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) thundered, “The most irresponsible thing we can do is shut down the federal government…” Wrong. The most irresponsible thing you can do is keep this criminal enterprise going.