What a real ‘shutdown’ would do

What would people in Washington City be doing right now, if they were really preparing for the federal government to be “shut down” thanks to the refusal of Democrats to trim spending by even 1.5 percent — the pathetically inadequate goal held out by the supposed “radical, Tea-Party” GOP?

(And if you want to hear some wailing, just Google “proposed federal budget cuts 2011.” There, Online, you’ll learn “Proposed federal budget cuts could have ‘drastic’ impact on poor!”; “Proposed federal budget cuts threaten U.S. food supply!”; “Proposed Federal Budget Cuts Would Be Devastating to Public Health!” etc. How on earth did our grandparents ever survive?)

1) For starters, there’d be an unholy rush to sign an agreement with the Canadian Air Force and Navy to defend us from attack, since all our planes and ships will be in mothballs. Of course, it’s not clear how we’d PAY them, since there won’t be anybody in the office to cut any checks, nor anyone over at the IRS to collect any taxes to BACK any checks. In a kind of “two-birds-with-one-stone” approach, maybe Washington could offer Ottawa the deed to Detroit.

2) They’d be getting our overseas troops (including those in Libya, where if we have no “boots on the ground” it’s because our target spotters are wearing sandals) down to the beach, onto barges and out of there, NOW. With no government to buy or send them any ammo, current supplies will doubtless be gone in a few weeks, at which point it’ll be Custer at the Little Big Horn, all over Mujahideenistan.

3) Open the doors to all the cells in the federal prisons, hand them bus fare. With the “government shut down,” guards and prison kitchen workers will only stay on the job for so long without pay. Few are violent felons, anyway — violent felons get tried in STATE courts. Most federal “criminals” just failed to get their proper permits, or demanded that the IRS provide a legal definition of the word “income.”

4) Speaking of the IRS, order that nest of “we interpret the statutes as we see fit” bandits, the most hated gang in America, to loudly and publicly instruct taxpayers not to send in any money or tax returns till further notice, since there’ll be no one to open the envelopes.

(In fact, if Republicans REALLY want to call the Democrats’ “shut-down” bluff, Congress should enact an order that no one will owe any taxes, ever, even retroactively, on any income earned or activities conducted during any of the days, weeks, or months the government is “shut down.” Providing you could actually convince Americans this wasn’t a trick, the resulting overnight boom in economic activity could be a wonder to behold.)

5) Close the Post Office. But authorize private entrepreneurs, for the first time, to deliver First Class mail for a profit. And they can stay in business when the government “re-opens.”

6) Leave the gates to the national parks open, but put up signs warning people they’ll now have to pick up their own trash, restoring conditions to just what visitors would have found a century ago. It wouldn’t make any sense to lock the gates, since if people climb the gates and enter the parks, there’ll be no one on duty to write them tickets for “trespassing” on their own property, because the government will be “shut down” … right?

Needless to say, none of these things will happen, because there will be no real “shutdown.” The last time the government “shut down,” in the mid-1990s, any citizen “trespassing” in the Lake Mead National Recreation Area was immediately written a ticket by a uniformed ranger. Do you really think those rangers put on their uniforms and went to work for free? ALL government employees received full pay for the time the government was “shut down” … even the million or so who really got to spend a few days searching for Internet porn from home, instead of the office.

The “shutdown” is a public relations ploy designed to start the tourists wailing when they find the Washington art galleries no longer open for school tours. This is merely a variant of the ploy your local school superintendent pulls when he wants parents to raise Holy Ned with state lawmakers about tiny trims to America’s largest welfare jobs program for the unemployable, the mandatory youth propaganda camps. He threatens to cut not mid-level bureaucrats (which would bother no one), but art classes, music classes, and the basketball team.

A government shutdown — one that would last a year or more — is precisely what Americans need, to demonstrate how little the federal government really does, other than tax and regulate us.

What would we miss? The federal courts? Maybe. Though a 90 percent reduction in federal prosecutions of people like Bernard Von NotHaus, purveyor of silver rounds more reliable in value than the current cupronickel garbage churned out by the U.S. mint, would render us a far freer country, with an alternative currency we could soon need.

No more Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security checks? Doctors used to post cash price lists and accept IOUs, refusing to see deadbeats a second time. It worked for centuries. Social Security was never advertised as anything but a “supplement” to private retirement plans; kids and grandkids would simply have to do more to help the elderly. Given that everyone’s paycheck would be suddenly bumped by the 20 percent no longer being forwarded to the IRS, we could afford it.

Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict went further Friday, calling for “a permanent shutdown of most of the federal government.”

“Just think how a permanent government shutdown would allow so many Americans to regain the blessings of liberty,” Benedict pointed out. “Education would blossom as the Department of Education ended its War on Learning, no longer wasting our money and preventing educational innovation with one-size-fits-all centralized mandates.

“Job opportunities at companies big and small would multiply, providing opportunity and choice for American workers. … Crime would plummet as the government’s War on Drugs ended, no longer sustaining a giant violent black market and overfilling our prisons. The life of many poorer Americans would improve as welfare programs stopped, no longer trapping low-income families in an endless cycle of government dependency. “All Americans would feel a huge burden lifted every April, as they were no longer required to wrestle with a byzantine and oppressive IRS. …”

America is addicted to government. We’re going to have to go cold turkey eventually. “Tapering down” might be less painful, but any sensible plan to “taper down” would have to reduce the federal budget by at least 10 percent each year for a decade. (No, that doesn’t get you down to zero. More like 35 percent. Went to a government school, did you?)

Which party would do that? Republican Congressman Paul Ryan answered for his own party on April 5.

“Americans hoping to get real about our national debt just got sucker-punched by Republican Paul Ryan,” responded Mark Hinkle, national chairman of the Libertarian Party, back on the fifth.

“Republicans want to spend $40 trillion over ten years. That averages a staggering $4 trillion per year. As recently as 2000, federal spending was only about $1.8 trillion. They also want to increase the federal debt. …”

What Congressman Ryan’s proposed “stripped-down” budget shows “is Republicans are hypocrites,” Mr. Hinkle the Libertarian continued. “They have no intention of cutting the federal government down to size. … Paul Ryan is the Military-Industrial Complex’s best friend. He apparently can’t find one penny to cut from Obama’s bloated levels of military spending. … When the Republicans controlled both houses of Congress and the White House from 2001-2006 … Paul Ryan was busy voting for expensive foreign wars, No Child Left Behind, and the huge 2003 Medicare expansion. More recently he’s voted for the TARP bailouts and even ethanol subsidies. …”

Until the bond-and-dollar collapse, the chances our genetic engineers will give us flying pigs are considerably better than the chances Americans will elect a Libertarian majority. For the record, though, “Libertarians would cut the federal government down to less than 10 percent of GDP, and we’d keep cutting once we got there,” Mr. Hinkle vows.

Instead, acting out their tired Punch and Judy show, Republicrats and Demopublicans again pretend to have a knock-down, drag-out fight over whether to cut the federal budget by 1.5 percent … or 0.86 percent.

It’s enough to make you wish they’d make a movie of “Atlas Shrugged.”

What? Oh. www.atlasshruggedpart1.com/demand.


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