Think About It……… October 9, 2013
You’d be surprised at how much government you’ll never miss. That seems to be the takeaway from last week’s partial shutdown of the federal government; after Congress and the President were unable to come to an agreement on a continuing resolution to keep the government’s doors open.
First, let’s get some straw men out of the way. Contra Senator Harry Reid assertion that Tea Party Anarchist wanted nothing more than to watch the world burn, While even the most fervent advocates of small government don’t think twice about funding vital military, national security or public safety personnel. Or, do they want to see seniors stop receiving their Social Security checks or the kids in Washington D.C. to go to the zoo.
You see what these same limited government advocates understand; however, is that there are awful lot of federal employees whose responsibilities are decidedly more superfluous than that. That is not just the opinion of Tea Party types it’s actually the official policy of the Federal government. That’s why during the shutdown or more accurately the slim-down; I guess, federal agencies and departments made a distinction between essential employees, needed to remain on the job, and non-essential employees who are dispensable enough to be furloughed.
The results were telling. Certain organs of the government understandably, required a greater portion of their workforce to stay on the job in an extreme and likely excessive example. The State Department furloughed virtually none of their workers. The Department of Veterans Affairs kept 95% of its staff, Homeland Security and the Justice Department kept about 85% of the workers on the job. Those numbers aren’t beyond the realm of plausibility for departments that are essential for the basic functions of government.
The story is much different else however. The Department of Labor kept only 22% of its employees; the Interior Department kept only 20%; the I.R.S. is getting along with only 9% of its employees and the Environmental Protection Agency, the E.P.A, listed only 6% as essential. And who knows, the Department of Energy, a totally useless and non-performing agency, could have probably released all of their employees.
It seems to make sense that any federal government department that can continue to perform its essential functions with a one in five, one in ten or only one in eighty of its normal staff; must be a judged, to be unnecessarily bloated on a day to day basis. And some departments, such as the National Park Service are probably non-needed at all and everyone should just stay home and take important jobs in the private sector.
There are many unfortunate side effects of the government shutdown, but one of the benefits has been the way it has deflated long standing liberal conceit. One put into words by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi just last month when she said quote, “The cupboard is bare and there are not just no more cuts we can make to the federal budget”.
This has long been one of liberalism favorite rhetorical tropes, claiming that cutting even the slightest bit of government would reduce our nation to a primitive state. Now however, we’re living in Madam Pelosi’s helscape and you know what? It’s not really that much different, except for the fact that it’s a considerably cheaper way to operate the federal government.
Let’s hope the shutdown goes on long enough for more Americans to realize that.
Think About It! John C. Davis 10-9-13