Bring on the shutdown!
Seriously, you can’t turn on a TV or radio and not hear about the imminent “shutdown” of the federal government.
I’m sick of hearing it.
Why? Because it is all political posturing. Very little will be “shut down.”
Don’t believe me? Fortunately, we have fairly recent history to look to for proof.
Since 1981, there have been five government shutdowns, but only the two in 1995-1996, which pitted President Bill Clinton against House Speaker Newt Gingrich, are remembered by anyone except historians and federal employees who got a few extra, albeit nervous, paid vacation days.
Who was affected in the last shutdown? Largely those on vacation — tourist attractions maintained by the government (like the Smithsonian museums) and some national parks were shuttered. The issuance of passports was delayed. Other paperwork was delayed by the 21 days of less work.
But everyone kept getting their government checks on time. And the military kept working, and so did the FBI, CIA and 87 percent of federal workers deemed “essential.”
Politicians have until midnight Friday to cement a budget deal. So far, they’ve not been able to agree to cut $33 billion from the federal budget. If I was $14 trillion in debt, I think I could vote “yes” to trimming at least that much from my spending.
I am betting they run it up to the wire to maximize how much face time potential 2012 presidential candidates get on Fox or CNN. A pity they can’t use their time keeping federal workers working.
UPDATE: Wednesday, a White House official said the shutdown would close national parks, delay tax refunds and prevent 800,000 workers from going to work. There’s also word that military members would not get paychecks in a timely fashion during a shutdown, but in the past Congress has always made sure servicemen are taken care of.
** The Washington Post has a nice Q&A on what effect the shutdown would have.