By Clinton Gill
Glade Sun editor
CROSSVILLE — Welcome to the shutdown, folks. By now, you've probably experienced disaster of biblical proportions – fire and brimstone coming down from the skies; rivers and seas boiling; earthquakes, volcanoes and human sacrifice; dogs and cats living together – it's mass hysteria!
In all actuality, unless you tried to go to Cades Cove or Big South Fork this week, you probably haven't felt any effects from the government shutdown. Of course, if this were like any other shutdown, you most likely wouldn't have noticed at all; but this is President Obama's shutdown and you will feel the pain.
I've read numerous reports from several media outlets reporting on how the shutdown is affecting the economy. According to NBC News, for instance, that price tag is about $1.6 billion a week, $300 million a day, or $12.5 million an hour. Here's how they arrive at that figure:
"During the 1995-'96 government shutdown, roughly 36 percent of the 2.2 million federal civilian non-postal workers were furloughed. If that same proportion was applied to the current 2.15 million workers, about 774,000 would be furloughed. Assuming an average annual salary per employee of $110,000, this would result in a loss of $1.6 billion in GDP for one week, or roughly $300 million per day based on a five-day work week."
The article goes on to say "the furloughed workers likely will get back pay when they return to work, as they did the last time Washington shut down. But for now, they are not performing the government's work, except for essential personnel ... the main impact of a shutdown is salaries of furloughed federal workers, since the government does not benefit from their work."
Is there something I'm missing here? Obviously, their math is a little fuzzy, but even if those figures are close to being correct, that means we spend $85.1 billion each year paying non-essential personnel to do jobs that aren't really beneficial. That's more money than we spend on the food stamp program ($82.5 billion). My question would be, if they are non-essential, then why are they there to begin with? If anything, this shutdown puts an exclamation point on how much we need to cut back on government, which is currently operating under $17 trillion in debt.
A further demonstration of that point is that one week into the shutdown and the sun still rises. Where's the crisis everyone has been squawking about? Contrary to what the statists will have you believe, the federal government is not the lifeblood of America. As more and more Americans discover this fact, the more President Obama must punish them for their insolence. That kind of self-awareness challenges the statists' power. The president and his elitist ilk believe you cannot live without the government's approval, and they'll use all sorts of Chicken Little scare tactics to persuade you that you can't. These statists are addicted to government, and like any addict, they'll do whatever is necessary to get more of what they need. But it's pretty difficult to sell Armageddon when 83 percent of projected 2014 spending has gone through virtually uninterrupted.
In fact, the shutdown has gone so unnoticed by the public that Obama has actively tried to sow fear into the financial markets, purposely trying to create chaos. He has further tried to gin up fear and resentment by closing down anything and everything he can think of to make Americans feel the pain. As one Park Service Ranger noted, “We’ve been told to make life as difficult for people as we can. It’s disgusting.”
Is this a fight worth making? We've often heard how elections have consequences. In 2010, the Democrats pulled a fast one over on the American people by passing Obamacare on a strictly partisan vote. Not one Republican voted for it. And in the 2010 election, the American people responded by electing a historical number of Republicans (gaining 721 seats) on the promise that they would fight Obamacare.
The Constitution was designed to restrain government's ability to oppress the people by creating a separation of powers that provides checks and balances to keep one branch from overpowering the others. Statists can't stand the Constitution, because it keeps them from imposing their will on the American people. Therefore, it is completely acceptable to violate the Constitution because they know what's best for everyone. The ends always justify the means. Of course, these are the same idiots who are so incompetent that they can't even run the signup website for their "signature legislation."
Congress is constitutionally required to pass a budget, yet for the last four and a half years they've been operating on the basis of back-to-back continuing resolutions. This is how the statists extract their demands for bigger government, by constantly taking us to the brink of economic disaster. Except, there isn't a disaster looming from the shutdown; the disaster is what will happen if the statists get their way.
As the government continues to grow, shutdowns will be more painful, because the government will control more things. I think the administration itself is making the best case against Obamacare in this regard. The administration’s decision to barricade the Lincoln Memorial marks the first time in its history the memorial has been totally off limits to visitors during a shutdown. Imagine if your doctor's office looked like the WWII Memorial with wired "Barackades." If the government is willing to bully 90-year-old war heroes for political purposes now, imagine how bad it will be when they run the entire health care system.
“Right now, there’s a reason to fear the IRS and other agencies, including the EPA, who are loaded with people who feel empowered to bend the rules against those they disagree with,” said California Republican Darrell Issa. How true.
That's what the standoff is about – a temporary majority making an overreaching power grab and passing deeply flawed legislation that will have untold negative consequences, including hurting those most who it is intended to help. One party that represents less than one third of the current population has dictated what will be for every single American both present and future, and they've done so by violating and contorting their own rules.
President Obama doesn't believe he has to negotiate, compromise or even communicate with the other side that represents tens of millions of Americans. His edict has been issued, and it is now up to us to either comply or to feel the pain. Only kings, despots and dictators lord over their people in such a way.