Monday, September 30, 2013

A Government Shutdown? No Big Deal...

The Building Where Little But Political Posturing Gets Done - 2013

Tiring of the predictable sophistry and political hyperbole Rational Nation USA offers the following NPR piece as a informational data point for the last minute political junkies who continue to believe the sky will fall in should the feral government shutdown at midnight. It has happened before (more than once) and yet we all survived and the markets didn't crash. Sleep well tonight. Irrespective of the 11th hour outcome, whatever that may be, life, as well as the world will continue on pretty much as we've all become accustomed to. Pleasant dreams.

Remember that when all is said and done it really is just about politics and political brinkmanship. Of course the interesting factor is this... We continue to reelect the same strain of political buffoons over and over again. Go figure...

Public Service Announcement - In seven days, the federal government runs out of money.

While the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a resolution Friday that keeps the government funded through Dec. 15, the measure also defunded President Obama's signature health care law — which means it has virtually no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate.

If a budget resolution doesn't hit President Obama's desk before Oct. 1, that's a big problem: The government will be forced to close its doors.

With that prospect looming, here are eight things you should know about the possible shutdown:

It won't be the first time

Since a new budgeting process was put into place in 1976, the U.S. government has shut down 17 times. Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan each dealt with six shutdowns during their terms in office, lasting anywhere from one day to 2 1/2 weeks.

The last actual shutdown came in 1996 — though the government came close during budget negotiations in 2011.

The last shutdown lasted three weeks

The three-week shutdown that lasted from Dec. 16, 1995, to Jan. 6, 1996, ranks as the longest in U.S. history. As a result, about 284,000 federal workers were furloughed, and around 475,000 essential employees went without a paycheck, although they were eventually reimbursed.

They weren't the only ones inconvenienced. Some benefits for military veterans were delayed, and cleanup at more than 600 toxic waste sites was stopped. The government also shut down for six days in mid-November 1995, initially resulting in the furlough of 800,000 federal employees. The Congressional Research Service reported the shutdowns cost taxpayers a combined $1.4 billion.

Only the "essentials"

Only federal employees deemed "essential" would continue to come to work during a shutdown. Employees who qualify as essential include those involved in national security, protecting life and property and providing benefit payments.

That means members of the military, border control agents, air traffic controllers, the FBI and the TSA are among those who would remain on duty. The president and members of Congress are also exempt from furlough and must decide which of their respective staff members to keep around during a shutdown.

The checks are in the mail

Even in the event of a shutdown, Social Security beneficiaries will still find their checks in their mailboxes and doctors and hospitals will receive Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. However, if the government does not resolve the budget situation by Nov. 1, those entitlement program payments could be delayed by up to two weeks.

Even in a shutdown, the Postal Service delivers

One reason Americans will get their entitlement checks: A government shutdown would not hit the operations of the U.S. Postal Service. Government agencies that the Treasury Department does not directly fund, like USPS, would be relatively unaffected in the short term by a shutdown . Some postal employees would very likely face furlough, but it wouldn't be enough to completely close down the agency.

National parks and museums? Forget it

Have plans to visit a national park or go sightseeing in the nation's capital? You might want to cancel them. During the Clinton-era shutdowns, 368 national parks closed, resulting in the loss of 7 million visitors. In Washington, D.C., the public would be unable to visit the monuments and museums that millions of tourists flock to every year. The Capitol building would remain open, though.

Visa and passport delays

Those hoping to enter or leave the country during a shutdown would most likely experience some difficulty. The government was unable to process around 200,000 pending passport applications and a daily average of 30,000 visa and passport applications by foreigners during the 1995-96 shutdowns. This would result not only in a headache for would-be travelers but a loss in millions for the airline and tourism industries.

Who would be blamed for a shutdown?

Generally speaking, no one comes out looking good if the government shuts down. A Pew Research poll conducted Sept. 19-22 shows 39 percent of Americans would blame Republicans if a shutdown were to occur, compared with 36 percent who would fault the Obama administration and 17 percent who would hold both sides responsible. According to a Pew poll from a comparable period during the 2011 budget battle, the public spread the blame around nearly identically.

Via: Memeorandum
and Memeorandum


  1. The 6 shutdowns under Carter are very interesting in that he was working with both a Democratic House and Senate. And it really should remind us all that President Carter was hardly a liberal and that even though his Presidency was ultimately a failure he wasn't afraid to take on his own party when he had to.

    1. Yes Will, in many ways fiscal Carter was conservative. After all he was from Georgia.

    2. Wrong-o Will... at least as far as your characterization of the government shutdowns under Carter goes. They were not related to budgetary matters like the shutdowns of late, and therefore not "very interesting" for the reasons you infer.

      Wikipedia notes that "During the Ford and Carter administrations, there were 6 partial government shutdowns that affected only the departments of Labor and Health, Education, and Welfare. These partial shutdowns lasted from 8 to 18 days and the primary issue of dispute was federal funding for abortion".

      So, only partial, and they had to do with disputes over abortion. They weren't related to Carter's "fiscal Conservatism" as RN wrongly concludes.

      Perhaps a statement by me regarding the intelligence of both Will and RN as I see it is in order?

    3. Do you have any life at all, wd? Scanning the internet looking for incongruencies is no way to go through life, son. And, just for the record, the 5th government shutdown during Carter's Presidency DID have to do with spending; a defense appropriations bill and a series of public works initiatives that Mr. Carter (who I'm actually starting to respect more as time goes by) thought as wasteful pork.

    4. Will said something that did not sound right to me, so I looked it up. Don't know how the hell that means I don't have a life. I think Will's dedication to the spreading of misinformation is a better indicator of HIM having no life (countless global climate change "debunking" posts as well as anti-green energy posts).

      Good on you for your growing respect for Mr. Carter, but vetoing a defense spending bill because it included funding for a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is NOT something the Republicans would consider wasteful government spending (oops, there I go again saying Will speaks for the Republicans).

    5. What misinformation have I spread? Be specific. And I most definitely do have a life. I'm a dementia care coordinator and was recognized in 2008 by the Alzheimer's Association as one of the outstanding caregivers in the state of CT.

    6. And Mr. Carter was dealing with a Democratic House and Senate, not a Republican.

  2. It's easy to dismiss the government shut-down if you're not one of the hundreds of thousands of workers with no job to go to and the hundreds of thousands of workers servicing them with no one to service.


    1. Of course jmj, of course. Do you think Harry is thinking about these individuals? Boehner? Pelosi? Others playing the political charade game?

      Sorry jmj but worrying about this melodrama, or getting ones blood pressure up over it at this late date ain't going to change a bleeping thing.

      The monkeys in the circus act that are throwing wrenches at each other simply do not care. They only are interested in preserving there banana.

    2. I'm sure Reid, Pelosi, and Boehner are very unhappy with all this. They aren't bad people. The scumbags in the Tea Party wing of the GOP? They don't care at all.


    3. Yes jmj, I think of Pelosi and Reid precisely as you think of the Tea Party Republicans. Thing is though jmj I have problems with the TP Republicans as well and my posts are laced with them. Whereas the progressive partisans seem to blame EVERYTHING on their opposition and would be PERFECTLY happy with one Ring to Bind us all. The Demoncratic Party Ring.

    4. I'm happy with their "one ring" that reveals the truth (I'm speaking of Pelosi and Reid).

  3. The government may
    Be as great as they say,
    But it might not be missed,
    If it ceased to exist.


    1. Reason has jumped the shark and left the country methinks.

  4. Republicans say it is not their intention to shut down a government. The administration says otherwise. Who's to blame? This matter only makes searching for an income protection quote a wiser move rather than relying much on the elected officials.

  5. I am not inclined to bash all conservatives in broad strokes. There was a time when the word 'conservative' was also synonymous with the words 'caution’ and ‘go slow.’ It was an approach to governance that said: ‘Do not rush headlong into grandiose prescriptions that may have unintended consequences.’ Cautious conservatism was not necessarily anti-progressive.

    According to John Dean, there are at least 2-dozen schools of conservative thought, some in clear contradiction and often in conflict with others. Some strains of conservatism are decidedly authoritarian and antithetical to the ideals of a free and egalitarian society.

    Neo-conservatives (such as Perl and Wolfowitz who sold a bogus war to the American public) are the opposite of Andrew Bacevich, the conservative author of The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism.

    What passes for conservative today is not conservative at all. A government shutdown smacks of radicalism and recklessness, certainly not caution.

    Statements like this are cause for alarm ...

    FT: “What absolutely terrifies ME is that these poor, well-meaning imbeciles have the right to VOTE … THAT should worry EVERY thinking person of ANY political persuasion.”

    This is an example of extreme authoritarian, social-controlling conservatism - one that reserves the right to confer citizenship only on like-minded people, i.e. the right to decide who is worthy versus who is not, including but by no means limited to the right to vote. This is a prescription for bias, oppression, and ultimately tyranny.

    In 2008, the offspring of several prominent Republicans crossed party lines to support then-candidate Barack Obama. These include: Christopher Buckley (son of William F. Buckley), Julie Nixon-Eisenhower (daughter of Richard Nixon and granddaughter-in-law of Dwight Eisenhower, Susan Eisenhower (granddaughter of Dwight Eisenhower), CC Goldwater (granddaughter of Barry Goldwater), as examples. These are conservatives with a conscience, and I am grateful for their support.


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