March 31 2011
Conservatives (and yes, even Libertarians!) will admit that there are legitimate, basic functions that the government should perform. But now, in Congress and in the White House, there are policymakers who are willing to shut down the entire government for the sake of making a point about their pet projects. (Pet projects like ObamaCare for example.)
I'm afraid that to some politicians, "government shutdown" is a game. It is just another tool in their playbook that, if executed correctly, will score political points when the public blames the other team. But to the American people, shutting down the government is not a game. It's not funny, we are watching, and we will know who is to blame if a shutdown happens.
Furthermore, a shutdown at this point is completely avoidable. The House of Representatives passed a budget 40 days ago. The Senate - controlled by Harry Reid - is now just playing politics. It's time that our Senators, regardless of party, realize that elections have consequences. Sixty billion dollars in cuts may sound like a lot of money, but check out this video:
Do you mean to tell me that our Senators can't agree to cut 1.6 percent of our federal budget? How many American families have slashed their own budgets to deal with unemployment, foreclosures or failed business ventures during our nation's economic slowdown? Maybe if bureaucrats in Washington could follow their example, our economy could recover!
And liberals, like Howard Dean, who are "quietly rooting for" a shutdown, should take notice of the huge differences between today and 1995. The national debt, the deficit, the budget, government spending, unemployment, the price of oil - these are a few numbers that are much higher today than they were in 1995. One number is much lower: growth!
As Steve McCann points out at the American Thinker:
The Democrats cannot escape the fact that all this devastating economic news over the past 3 years occurred when they either controlled Congress or had a stranglehold on White House and the Congress.
In 1995, the American citizen was not engaged in the political process. Per the above statistics, the economy was doing well and the average citizen was content to go about his business.
There were no foreign wars ongoing, no terror activity, and no upheavals in the Middle East with the very real prospect of jihadist takeovers in Egypt, Libya and Yemen in addition to a nuclear armed Iran. The world is a far more dangerous place than it was in 1995 or even 2008.
In the venue of the media there was no Fox News, no internet blogs or news and commentary sites, and talk radio (dominated by conservatives) was a quarter of what it is today. The media that so aided and abetted the Democrats to spin the 1995 shutdown as a Republican blunder is a shadow of its former self.
McCann's ponderings about the shutdown spin are backed up by polling numbers. The Washington Post reports in a blog entry today:
In a survey conducted by Democracy Corps, a liberal polling consortium, in 50 competitive House districts currently held by Republicans, a majority of independents (53 percent) favor the GOP plan to cut $61 billion from domestic programs this year. Just 38 percent of independents oppose that idea.
Asked whether they were more concerned that Republicans would go too far in making cuts or that Democrats wouldn't go far enough, 57 percent of independents were more concerned about Democrats not cutting enough, while 35 percent were more worried about the GOP cutting too much.
The American people supported shrinking the government when they went to the ballot box in November. They still support spending cuts today. Politicians in D.C. should focus less on scoring points (or punting the problem for another few weeks - recently their favorite play), and focus more on doing what's best for the American people. A shutdown is completely avoidable. The Senate (and President Obama) should accept that spending cuts are necessary.