Friday, April 08, 2011

Government Shutdown

It is obviously a farce to call what will happen "government shutdown" because of the many areas that will not be shut down. If the government goes in to "shutdown" that does not mean that the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, and other countries will cease. Nor will any person in federal prison for victimless crimes be released. Nor will the legislators who are fighting with each other with regards to the shutdown fail to receive their pay. Nor will the DEA stop harassing medicinal marijuana clinics that are authorized under state laws. Nor will the IRS cease harassing any person who may be delinquent or deficient on their taxes.

Also, if the government goes in to "shutdown" that only impacts portions of the federal government, and not the state or local governments as their budgets, taxes, and spending are all separate from the federal budget. The schools, the police, the utilities if they are municipal, and other various local agencies will still operate.

In spite of that, there is a lot of coverage in the mainstream media of the local economic impacts that shutting down a tiny portion of the government will have. Particular attention is paid to communities that exist near the "non-essential" functions such as parks. The coverage completely overlooks the question of whether or not the government should be involved in non-essential functions in the first place.

So many places and endeavors throughout the country have become dependent on federal spending, federal projects, or federal support. For example, there are communities that exist outside of federal parks, and they would lack the spending of the tourists if the federal park itself shuts down. This only shows just how bad the situation really is. In a free economy, the impact of the federal government is negligible.

That is one of the many reasons why bringing the federal government to a balanced budget would be so difficult, bringing it to constitutional levels would be even harder, and bringing it down to libertarian levels seems to be an impossibility. Every single cut has a fiercely supportive built in constituency, those who have become dependent on the drug of government spending.

Therefore when someone suggests even a minor cut, he gets fierce criticism. And when Randall Paul suggests cuts that really are substantial but even he admits don't go nearly far enough, people think the suggestion isn't serious at proof that Senator Paul is too radical. It seems a great idea to harshly criticize anyone who suggests any cut to any program, and a great idea to reward anyone who supports a program that anyone likes. Doing so is a great way to ensure that the government does eventually become completely insolvent.

Perhaps complete insolvency is the only way out of this budget dilemma.

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