The spineless Republicans in charge of Congress live in terror of “shutting down the government.”
It’s not really shutting down the government that they fear. They know full well that matters considered essential government services — Social Security checks, military defense — will continue regardless. What they really fear is being criticized for shutting down the nonessential (i.e., the majority of) tasks of the federal government.
Somebody should tell Republicans that he who lives in fear of criticism or condemnation will never change a thing. On this issue, Donald Trump gets it right.
Bloomberg News reports: Donald Trump said the Republican-led Congress should take the plunge, appearing Monday on conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt’s show, where Trump was told the “only way to get rid of Planned Parenthood money” is to “shut the government down” when money expires on Sept. 30. “Would you support that?” Hewitt asked. “I can tell you this: I would,” Trump responded.
Forcing citizens who do not believe in abortion to pay for “free” abortions is a much greater outrage than shutting down the portion of the government whose services — by the government’s own definition — are nonessential.
Forcing citizens to pay for others’ medical care, groceries, schools, and even cell phones against their will is likewise outrageous. In fact, most of what the federal government does every day is far more outrageous than shutting it down would be for a few days, hours or even weeks.
Why are those who propose trying to trim a few dollars off the rate of government growth treated as moral monsters, while the real outrages go uncommented upon, day in and day out?
If the government is so disorganized, corrupt and bankrupt that it cannot sustain itself enough to stay open, then what business does it have being there, in its current form, in the first place?
If there is so much dissension over things like federally funded abortions, then what business does government have funding them, in the first place?
Trump, to his credit in this case, correctly recognizes that the issue is wider than Planned Parenthood. Take Obamacare.
“If the Republicans stuck together, you could have done it with Obamacare also. But the Republicans decided not to stick together. And they left a few people out there, like Ted Cruz,” Trump said, referring to the Texas senator and rival Republican presidential candidate who pushed hardest for the 2013 shutdown, and is deploying similar rhetoric now over Planned Parenthood.
Ted Cruz was right and courageous on Obamacare. And he was left twisting in the wind by his fair-weather, completely phony friends in that weeniest of institutions, the Republican Party.
There’s nothing to fear from shutting down the government. The challenge is to get most of it shut down — the nonessential parts, i.e. most of it — as quickly and permanently as possible.
Nobody rational proposes shutting down the military. The military should be expanded and strengthened, if anything. People will debate the specifics on this, and that’s fine. The military is a valid function of government. So are police, criminal courts and civil courts, for the purpose of prosecuting fraud and the initiation of violence only.
As for Social Security and Medicare, they should ultimately be privatized. (And they will be, once fully bankrupt.) In the meantime, those payments are considered essential, since many (not all) receiving those benefits paid into them, for past retirees, at least.
As for the rest of the federal government — who needs it? The government does far more harm than good. The Department of Education subverts education, and the Department of Labor and Commerce undermine labor and commerce. The Department of Energy and the EPA routinely throttle business, prevent economic prosperity and directly or indirectly raise oil prices (hurting the poor and middle class the most, by the way). The FDA adds years to bringing new drugs to market, eliminating freedom of choice in life-saving matters. The FCC curbs freedom of speech and now has its paws on the Internet. Agencies like OSHA are great for attorneys, but horrible for anyone trying to start or operate a business, not to mention consumers who pick up the cost in increased costs for products. And the IRS is plain old tyranny. Homeland Security does a good job frisking old ladies, children and nuns at airports, but does nothing to stop the intentions of terrorists seeking to nuke or blow us all up — particularly when people like Obama and John Kerry seek to provide Iran with its very own terrorist stimulus package.
If shutting down these departments temporarily, and most of them for good, were to be the result of a controversy over Planned Parenthood, Obamacare or anything else — why, exactly, would this be a bad thing? It might be the best thing to happen to the American economy since the American Revolution; and it could help alleviate the dissension and nasty feelings (presently growing in our own era) that led up to the horrific tragedy of the Civil War.
Shutting down government as we know it? It’s the stuff of dreams. Good riddance to bad rubbish. If Republicans are frightened of government shutdowns, what does this say about the authenticity of their claimed commitment to abolish most of big government as we know it? Do professional twits like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell really care or know anything about the Constitution, individual rights or liberty? Or are they really more concerned with who says hello to them at the next cocktail party?
Elected officials should have the courage and integrity to do the right thing, win or lose. Just once. And if American voters punish them for it, then at least we know the voters themselves deserve the consequences of a leviathan state run amok. Sooner or later, this monstrosity of a government we are creating will come knocking on their doors.
Republicans, embrace what you fear. Or own up to the fact that you’re really on the other side, and join the other party.
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