The “Nonessential” Federal Government

Here we go again with another partial government shutdown.

The fact that “government shutdowns” are so regular, and annoying to some — but never a catastrophe — tells you something.

The fact that the vast majority of the federal government is “nonessential” enough that the vast majority of Americans can get by just fine without it tells you something.

Basically, it’s national security and defense — including border protection, by the way — that are considered essential. Gee, that’s interesting. That’s basically what the U.S. Constitution mandates for the federal government. Everything else was left to “the people” and the states. There’s also Social Security and Medicare. Retirement and health insurance were not part of the Constitution. But once the government passed laws making them promises, they became essential. Whether they government should have done that is another discussion.

Beyond that, pretty much everything is “nonessential”.

We have all these histrionics and theatrics every so often about a government shutdown. But the government only partially shuts down. It appears that the vast majority of what the federal government does is nonessential, so while inconvenient, it’s not the end of the world. It proves that everything the federal government does that’s shut down during these periods could be provided for just as well — actually, much better — by the private, voluntary, and/or for-profit sector.

The founders of the United States who drafted the Constitution got it right. Imagine that!


Follow Dr. Hurd on Facebook. Search under “Michael Hurd” (Rehoboth Beach DE). Get up-to-the-minute postings, recommended articles and links, and engage in back-and-forth discussion with Dr. Hurd on topics of interest. Also follow Dr. Hurd on Twitter at @MichaelJHurd1, and see “Michael Hurd” on MeWe.