My View From The Country

The U.S. Government Shuts Down; How Sad Is That?

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I hear some people talk about a bipartisan solution to these problems, but I don’t see it happening.

I’ve never been a big fan of government, especially big government. Thus, I’d like to think that the shutting down of the government would largely go unnoticed. It’s probably true that, like sequestration, we probably won’t see the type of negative impact from a government shutdown that some have predicted. But the government does provide some vital services; plus, it’s very likely that this whole exercise won’t accomplish anything.

Most folks believe that Republicans will blink soon. They may, but many feel this is just a warning shot leading up to the really big debate over the debt ceiling, which hits on Oct. 17. 

I hear some people talk about a bipartisan solution to these problems, but I don’t see it happening. Actually, I don’t see any solution occurring at all. Rather, we’re likely to see short-term resolutions to both the funding of the government and the debt ceiling, while the status quo is maintained.

We won’t see a bipartisan solution, as the whole Obamacare feud was created when the Republicans were completely shut out of the lawmaking process. Republicans feel the law was forced on them without any input, and the one-sided passage of the law is responsible for delivering them control of the House of Representatives.

Republicans feel they were elected to try and stop Obamacare’s implementation; meanwhile, the Obama administration and the Democrat-led Senate are committed to seeing its implementation. So there’s no room for compromise for either side.

It’s all about power

Thus, it comes down to power. Technically the constitution gives the House the power to originate funding bills, and so they should be able to force the Democrats to compromise. In reality, however, the power resides with the Democrats, as the Republicans seem to be drawing the popular blame for the impasse. Still, neither side can afford to let the government shut down for too long of a period, so the conventional wisdom is that the Democrats hold the winning hand. 

Yes, it may be a prelude to the debt ceiling debate that is on the horizon, but the Republicans will be wounded going in. And as we have seen, in a world where a reduction in unprecedented growth in government spending is portrayed as draconian spending cuts, nobody expects the government, which has gotten into the habit of operating without a budget, will do anything substantive about our nation’s march to joining Greece, the old Soviet Union, et al, in financial ruin. 

Real issues, including the farm bill and immigration reform, will probably get postponed as these fiscal battles play out. It’s important to understand that none of these battles were ever expected to change what both sides agree is a fundamentally flawed law (Obamacare), or to address our out-of-control spending and unsustainable debt creation. They are merely window dressing for both sides leading up to the next election.

It is a battle of lesser evils. Obama remains the most popular politician in D.C., though his approval rating is dangerously low. Compared to the popular rating of Congress, however, it’s actually pretty high.

So, how did we get in this mess? It began when we started these omnibus spending bills that allowed both sides to keep pork-barrel spending going. Now, overspending is the norm. If your ranch, every month, was spending over twice what it took in, you’d probably sit down, study every budget item, prioritize them, cut some, eliminate others, and keep doing it until you balanced your budget. That’s not how it works in Washington.

In Washington, you would increase your spending every year. In fact, you’d even add the purchase of what promises to be the most expensive entitlement of all time – health care – with no seeming way to pay for it.

That wouldn’t be an option in your operation, because the banker would never have allowed you to get this far in debt. Moreover, the bank’s only option for you as a client would be to get your spending in line with income.

Theoretically, that was what the debt ceiling was supposed to do – get spending in line with income. However, in Washington, anyone who advocates a reduction in the growth of the deficit is a heretic.

It’s been made clear that not raising the debt ceiling would lead to our country defaulting and that eventually would lead to the collapse of the entire system. I guess there have actually been similar situations in the real world; a business gets in debt so fast and so far that the bank is in deep trouble if it forecloses, so it loans the business even more money hoping the business can somehow turn the situation around.

Discuss this Blog Entry 2

gene schriefer (not verified)
on Oct 4, 2013

part of the fall of Rome was trying to support the same military force after the formula for their initial success had changed- invade your neighbors, steal their gold, pay for more troops. we've spent 1.5 Trillion dollars, on republican wars in Afghanistan & Iraq, what do we have to show for it? we're still incurring expenses. if we had spent a similar amount on debt reduction, or spent it at home stimulating our own economy, these discussions would be mute.

It may be tax and spend democrats but it is spend and run up the debt republicans that created the mess.

if we federal computers ever get running again go the CBO and look up the budgets since Reagan, and which party controlled congress when which budgets passes. there's a clear pattern.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Oct 5, 2013

"So, how did we get in this mess? It began when we started these omnibus spending bills that allowed both sides to keep pork-barrel spending going." I have to disagree with you here; this began, and we got into the mess with the passage of two constitutional amendments 100 years ago (1913) - - making Senators no longer representatives of their state legislatures in the national debate (which led to the states also looking at their senators as representing a proportion of the population, rather than a geographical unit, allowing the large population centers to control both sides of every state legislature - - and then it became mandated through supreme court cases) and the allowing of direct taxation by the central government (does no one recall that the major impetus to the revolution was despotic direct and discriminatory taxation practices by the British Government???)

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contribur Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.

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Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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