Sunday, September 29, 2013

OMG, Teh Fed.Gov Is Gonna Shut Down!

     Oh, Congress and the Executive, you and your sweet, sweet talk...!  Hey, maybe it will, though usually the fools whine at one one another awhile and then the budget-stoppers blink, no matter how high-handed the White House or intransigent the House.

     C'mon, what happens, really?  They close the cafeteriae in the Capitol? (Probably not.)  The United States Postal Service already tries to pay its own way and  (by gummint standards) usually comes close enough that they'll shamble on for several months without kiting checks.*  Congress already arranged to keep soldiers, sailors, airmen (airpersons?) and coasties paid.  Air-traffic controllers might start to lose out on overtime, national parks might have to make payroll directly from gate receipts and if you think Power & Light companies are gonna pull the plug on the National Weather Service, you'd better take another look at how much they rely on weather forecasts to preallocate manpower.

     Nope.  I'll tell you what happens: the same thing that happened where you work, back in 2008, '09 or '10: layoffs.  Cutbacks.  Inspiring speeches about "Doing More With Less."  Smaller enterprises will go to the wall.  --And oh, how they all will complain, because unlike those of us outside Federal employment, their pay and benefits have kept on chugging unstoppably upward, slow but steady, as the private economy twisted and wriggled like a run-over snake on a hot August-afternoon highway. 

     Besides, eventually both sides will, weasel-like, find some way to slink to compromise after a few weeks or months of blessed savings.  Maybe a nice slowdown could even help the deficit!

     Meanwhile, in the strange and twisted world of Congress, some Democrats are claiming the only reason for any opposition to the President's budget is 'cos GOP politicians just plain hate Mr. Obama (and they imply that loathing is due to the hue of his complexion).  So, how's that race card holdin' up?  It's looking a bit tattered from here.  Y'know, POTUS could be a blue-eyed blonde with a model's physique and it wouldn't make his (or her) proposed budget -- or the onrushing healthcare mess -- any nicer.  It's pretty damned difficult to make a compelling claim that "The Man" is holding the President of the United States down and, conversely, slowing up Presidents is part of Congress's job, no matter what their respective creeds, ancestry or parties may happen to be.
* And they could probably fake it well past crossing over into the red: Postal Money Orders are well-trusted,  just like the Post Office being able to print their own money.  Besides, that's what the Fed does already.  Eventually the chicken -- or stylized Federal eagle -- comes home to roost but it's a fine ride while it lasts, right?


John A said...

I don't know where I read it, but there was an article pointing out that the same type of "shutdown" is almost routine. Among others, Presidents Clinton and Carter both had a "shutdown" period.

Old NFO said...

DOD is basically being told to go away... Of course congress and staff will CONTINUE to be paid!

John A said...

Via Volokh, a tale of shutdown threats and practices back as far as Eisenhower -

Jess said...

When the government is supposedly shut down, some spending is cut, which is a good thing, although the bureaucrats have probably spent 6 months of their budget during the last 24 hours.

The Old Man said...

Last shutdown everybody at the agency EXCEPT "essential" personnel were sent home and the paychecks stopped for one and a half pay periods. (Being "essential" let me tell the office chief I'd call FPS (Federal Protective Service) on his a** if he didn't stop coming to work but that's another story). After being the only one in a 19 person office to work the shutdown, Congress "re-funded" the gov.

Six weeks later the other 18 got paid for the shutdown period. They liked that just fine - rumors were flying DURING the shutdown (via e-mail) that no pay would be lost. You can bet Barry will pay his elves with taxpayer money - it's the system!

Bubblehead Les. said...

Armed Military w/o Pay for weeks at a time?

Trust me, we don't want to go there.

Which is why the House just sent up a Bill to ensure that the Pay still flows to the Troops. The Vote was 423-0.

Gee, you think someone on the Hill made sure that the definition of "Mutiny" was crammed into those Idiots heads? said...

When I was in the Air Force during the Carter and Reagan administrations, you just didn't count on those October paychecks. There was lots of grumbling, but no mutinies.

I'm sure the folks that are now blaming a Republican Congress for the this shutdown held the mostly Democratic congresses of Reagan's time blameless for the 8 shutdowns. (That's every year folks. OTOH in those days it was understood that there wasn't a budget until congress passed one and the President signed. "Continuing Resolutions were strictly temporary, not a way to avoid passing a budget for years...)

But who the heck did they blame when there were 5 shutdowns in just 4 years with both houses of Congress and President Carter being Democrats?