The Not-So-Nice Truth About the Government Shutdown

“So if the government’s closed all this time,” our dinner guest pondered last night, “do I have to keep paying for a service I’ll never get?”

We admired the logic.

Why, after all, should the government continue to take its piece of the pie… when the pie has already been stolen off the windowsill?

That’s the beauty of Big Government.

It doesn’t exist to provide for its citizens. Its citizens exist to provide for it.

Don’t believe us?

That’s okay. The numbers are on our side.

Earlier this week, the head economist at S&P Global did some cipherin’.

She tallied up the economic damage of the standstill in Washington.

The figure? Close to $6 billion if things don’t open this week.

That’s more, of course, than the big hunk of concrete and steel the swamp is arguing about.

It’s proof that it’s not money that’s on the mind… it’s control of it.

The Death of Liberty

We’re fascinated by the actions of Washington over the past month. It shows the town’s true colors.

As devout fans of Liberty, we hope our fellow citizens are paying attention.

We hope folks see what’s really going on.

When they do, we’re convinced voters will make smarter, more informed decisions… decisions that aren’t influenced by the same media that set out to destroy a handful of presidential-supporting kids over the weekend.

We smile each time we hear someone talking of the federal government’s “nonessential” employees.

After all, if we have nonessential employees on our staff… we’re soon going to have former employees.

And yet some 380,000 of them are sitting on Washington’s sidelines these days.

For a sense of scale, that figure is nearly identical to the population of Cleveland, Ohio.

We feel bad for those folks. And we feel bad for the 420,000 folks who are working and not getting paid.

For them, we offer simple advice: Don’t work for crooks and you won’t have to worry about getting paid.

Again, this isn’t about dollars or sense. We all know that.

If the dopes in Washington truly cared for the people and the health of the nation… they’d pay their minions and reject their own paychecks.

But no, they’d rather hold their people hostage – make it hurt until they squeal so loud their opponent must give in.

That’s not Liberty, folks.

That’s not freedom.

That’s ridiculous.

A Growth Strategy

The sad thing is the government will likely get bigger after all of this.

It always does. After each fresh mistake, Washington creates another layer of bureaucracy to cover it up and prevent it from happening again.

It’s how we got the TSA… SEC… SSA… FHA… and the rest of Washington’s “alphabet soup.”

And it’s how we got 380,000 nonessential workers.

This mission creep is what’s ailing our great nation and is ultimately going to bring it down.

Take for example the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It hasn’t always been called that.

When it was launched in 1946, there was no “prevention” in its name. With a mere million-dollar budget, its main goal was to study malaria and the mosquitos that carry it.

Simple.

Over the past 72 years, though, its mission has expanded.

In 1992, the folks who were paid to run the center lobbied to get “and Prevention” added to the agency’s name.

Although it has nothing to do with what the group was founded to do, the addition allowed the CDC to jump into the budget-expanding business of alcohol consumption and drug use.

It’d be one thing if nobody else in the government were tackling these issues. But according to recent research, the fine folks at the CDC (with its budget that now exceeds $7 billion annually) now duplicate the work of 19 other government agencies.

We’d deem that “nonessential.”

Wouldn’t you?

It’s the same story at the Department of Homeland Security.

We all remember the gusto used to launch it. After the 9/11 attacks, America was angry.

With everything Washington had, it saw a chance to have even more.

It launched the new department with a simple mandate.

Here’s what the law said:

The primary mission of the department is to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States; reduce the vulnerability of the United States to terrorism; minimize the damage, and assist in the recovery from terrorist attacks that do occur within the United States.

Sounds like a good idea.

But give the government an inch… and they’ll take your whole damned wallet.

These days, the folks in charge of protecting the homeland are apparently pinning down folks pirating movies… selling fake pro sports merchandise… and they’re even tracking petty crimes.

“They’ve kind of lost their way,” the nation’s first-ever Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said recently. “I was proud to be associated with those men and women, but it just seems to me… the focus – the primary focus – has been substantially diminished.”

Again… these stories remind us how we can tell 380,000 workers to stay at home and the biggest story the media can create is how these workers aren’t getting paid.

That’s no fun. We pity these folks. But we beg readers to wonder why there are very few stories about how nothing is getting done or how the nation is falling apart.

The reason we’re not hearing those dire tales is simple.

The government has gotten so big that its mission is no longer to protect the American people… Its new job is to employ them.

It’s dangerous.

We hope the debacle in Washington opens a few eyes.

For the folks who are paying attention and who are willing to think for themselves, there’s a valuable lesson in it all.

The government can send a third of its workers home… and still function just fine.

From here, we wonder when they’ll be mailing all those refund checks to us. We’ve paid for far more than we’re getting.

But that certainly didn’t start in the last 30 days.

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