Monday, October 7, 2013

To prevent a debt default, it's time for a *REAL* government shutdown

- by New Deal democrat

Like a runaway train, the US is hurtling towards a debt default, only about 10 days away, with no signs that the pepretators - the extremist anti-government gerrymandered GOP in the House of Representatives - is going to surrender to responisibility before then.

At least one reason why the impasse is dragging on in on is that we've only had a "faux" government shutdown, not a real one. True, the national parks have been shut down, and over half a million federal workers have been sent home, but the average citizen hasn't been inconvenienced in the slightest by this. And that only feeds into the narrative that the federal government really doesn't do anything.

The idea of keeping "essential" government workers on the job dates from a more genteel era, when it was understood that the two political parties were just posturing, and neither one was infested with anarchists intent on repealing everything that happened after 1861.

My old german grandmother used to have a saying which translates into english as "Those who cannot see must feel." Simply put, it is time for average Americans to *feel* what they need the federal government for. So while we're back to things like Atrios suggesting that a $1 trillion platinum coin be minted, and others are proposing that Obama simply ignore the debt ceiling law, I have a more honest proposal: instead of ignoring a law, actually enforce the lack of funds to pay for federal services.

Obama should announce that, as of twenty-fours from now, the federal government will shut down, for real. That means:

  • No National Weather Service - so no weather forecasts.
  • No customs bureau - i.e., the borders are closed.
  • No cargo inspections - i.e., the ports are closed.
  • No FAA - so airports are closed
  • No FDA inspections - so the food supply stops in its tracks
  • If the workers who ensure that federal checks aren't paid, then no Social Security or Medicare checks either

Am I really proposing this? Absolutely. Am I being heartless? Hell no, far from it. I predict that within 24 hours of the above measures taking effect - like they actually should have taken effect on October 1 - the government shutdown will end. Even more importantly, the move to actually default on debts Congress has already voted for should stop in its tracks. And that's because people will finally understand that their tax dollars actually support all of the basic things they take for granted.

Too many people simply don't see. It's time for them to learn by feeling.