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home : opinions : commentary February 5, 2016


10/9/2013 10:57:00 AM
Commentary
Government shutdown is nothing new
Dr. Harold Pease


The fear with respect to our latest "government shutdown" is amazing. The hysteria peddlers using this terminology, and the media that purposely play to it, must know these two words emit such an extreme emotional response. It appears designed to frighten the least informed either for or against the other political party, thus the terminology and subsequent blame game.

So what does a government shut down look like? Do the president and vice president resign now that the government ends? No, they stay on the job and receive full pay as before.

Does Congress fly out of Washington, D.C., the following day and cease to draw their pay, and the Supreme Court cease to deliberate on constitutional questions? Does the army come home and cease to protect us? No.

Do states, counties, and cities no longer function? No again, they have their own tax base and cops, prisons, and teachers remain in place. Will I still get my mail? Yes. The U.S. Postal Service functions as an independent business unit. Will I still get Social Security benefits? Yes! And food stamps? Yes. And unemployment compensation? Yes. And veterans' benefits? Yes, at least until late October. And will there still be a functioning federal school lunch program? Yes, at least through October (66 questions and answers about the government shutdown, by Gregory Korte, USA Today, Oct. 1, 2013).

We have had 17 government shutdowns since 1977 according to the Congressional Research Service, the Reagan Administration having eight of them alone. Because in 1979 the government was shut down for 10 days while Congress argued over a proposed salary increase for the legislative branch. Because we had a five-day shutdown between Nov. 14 and Nov. 19, 1995, and a second one of 21 days, between Dec. 16, and Jan. 6, 1996, and none of the bad things mentioned above happened. In fact, the public as a whole didn't even notice.

A government shutdown is really only a partial slowdown that may actually be healthy. Let's call it such in the future so that we don't frighten the less informed and they overreact.

Dr. Harold Pease is an expert on the United States Constitution. Find more on the web at LibertyUnderFire.org.


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