I'm darkly tickled to hear that Democrats and Republicans are both flinching from the so-called shutdown of the Federal Government -- not for any noble reason, like worrying a defense contractor or snail darter or your gramma will be harmed but because they're both afraid they'll be blamed.
What they're lacking is called "spine." Not only do they not have it, they don't want it.
I wrote "so-called" shutdown, since whatever Washington considers "essential services" will keep right on percolating. Unsurprisingly, the portion of the IRS that receives your tax payment is considered essential -- but the part that sends you a refund check if you overpaid is not. (Tam points out that the parts that are non-essential might as well be auctioned off: "There you go. Budget balanced, problem solved.") (National parks? Let WWF and the various Green organizations run the parks, Disney can run the lodges and public access -- and we can have retired Federal judges arbitrate between 'em, funded by both sides. I've been on the slow-mo automotive lockstep through Yellowstone; we could hardly do much worse.)
The local TV news grimly observed the Feds are the area's largest or second-largest employer (I was half-awake and they didn't put the story on their website. Foo!) There's a problem with that, too: if you're operating the darned thing (er, "our mighty and noble Federal government") on taxpayer dollars, as the number of Federal employees becomes an increasingly greater percentage of the taxpayer base, y'kinda start running out of dollars -- of course, the Feds have a fix for that, one as old as paper money: print more. The Chinese tried that, not too long after inventing paper and printing. It didn't work then and the inexorable laws of economics haven't changed in the intervening centuries. Come to think if it, it's already been done here, too -- look up "Not worth a Continental." That left a mark.
But if you're concerned about the looming shutdown of the Federal government, don't worry; your legislators, no matter their party or inclination, aren't looking brave enough to try it. When these folks play chicken, they like to quit early. Oh, they may stumble and fumble their way into a few days of impasse, especially if they can figure out how to make it look like an accident, but don't look for anything lasting, or any rhetoric on a level higher than kindergartners in a mutual-blame circle. I'd suggest sending them white feathers but you know some fraction of the poor dears will turn out to have allergies and we'd be scolded by their Moms for insensitivity -- or by the FBI, which comes to much the same thing.
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