WHY NOT SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT?
In a government debt crisis, the only thing worse than a weak and feckless spendthrift President, like President Obama, is a strong and efficient spendthrift President. Having no detailed plan to balance the budget and save the nation from drowning in a sea of ever mounting debt, the President defers to a dysfunctional Congress for the answers, and Congress has none. We are told that come September 30 the government will shut down. We are supposed to be horrified, gasp and cower at the prospect. Truth be told, if our elected officials refuse to lead by proposing and adhering to a program of substantial governmental downsizing, a prolonged shut down is the next best way to bring about such a plan or, if not, at least to cut the budget and relieve corporate America of some regulatory burdens.
President Obama has never proven that he has what it takes to lead in a crisis. He is too risk averse, too calculating, too distant from Congress (even from his own party leadership), and far too distrustful of a free market. He has never presented a detailed plan to restore fiscal stability to America. He cannot do so and still support the massive expansion of the federal government that he so desperately advances. He, the Democratic leadership in the House and Senate, and his liberal base of support cling to costly government programs and entitlements that are entirely unaffordable without admitting that fact.
Obama is content to leave American business under an enormous regulatory and tax burden. Indeed, he is adding to that burden every day, encouraging a continuous stream of new regulations from each of the over 250 federal agencies, including a veritable avalanche of tens of thousands of pages of regulation for Obamacare implementation alone.
Under this heavy regulatory and tax burden, the private sector is quaking. Businesses, particularly small and medium sized ones, are unable to expand, keeping the economy on the brink and denying the voracious government the tax revenues needed to satisfy its ravenous appetite.
While the inept handling of the fiscal crisis is not Obama’s alone (Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress are likewise to blame), a dysfunctional President in the midst of the present crisis is appropriately assigned primary blame.
If by September 30, Congress and the President have not passed a stopgap spending bill to keep the government funded, the government will not be able to meet all of its obligations and, by about October 15, it will be forced to shut down non-essential functions. If there is no agreement to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling, the resulting government shut down will not stop entitlement spending for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, etcetera. If there is not agreement by October 15, then the government will be forced to reduce spending to the amount of money government takes in from taxes, fees, fines, duties, and other revenue raising mechanisms.
Would a government shut-down be the end of the world? Not at all. In fact, it would be beneficial. It will cut government spending and achieve a degree of regulatory relief. I would welcome a program that would shut down federal Departments or agencies for several months a year on a rolling basis to help reduce the national debt. I would likewise welcome the elimination of many public functions that could be replaced by private enterprise. Forcing the federal government to prioritize and eliminate non-essential functions is essential, and if it takes a prolonged shut down of the government to predispose Congress and the President to achieve that end, then it is worth doing.
Government growth is unsustainable. Our economy simply cannot afford the government we have and certainly cannot afford the government we have coming, particularly the addition of over $1.4 trillion in debt over the next ten years for Obamacare alone. As Obama waives good-bye from Marine One on his last day of office, he will enter a luxurious, taxpayer funded retirement, leaving behind him a national debt that he substantially amassed of over $23 trillion. The enormity of that debt load will force further reductions in the nation’s credit rating, will eventually cause creditor nations to impose higher rates of interest on the money they loan to the United States, and will make it more likely that the world will replace the dollar with the Renminbi, Yen, or Deutsche Mark as the world’s reserve currency. All of that means a lower American standard of living, much lower, with higher costs for borrowing money, fewer business start-ups, less job creation, and more abysmal GDP figures.
House Republicans met September 18 to iron out a plan of action. House Republicans have agreed to a measure that would defund Obamacareas a precondition for a debt ceiling increase and a funding bill that would avert a government shut down. Senate Republicans have already caved on the deal, and the Senate Majority Leader, Democrat Harry Reid, intends to kill the House bill as soon as it arrives in the Senate. The President refuses to negotiate over the debt ceiling but says he will consider whatever Congress sends his way, all of which we may translate into further proof that he is a follower, not a leader.
No one is leading a national campaign to grapple with and resolve the overall debt crisis by dramatically cutting federal spending, including entitlement spending. Both parties treat the debt as if it were a Port Wine stain that can be covered up cosmetically. The only solution to the recurring fiscal crisis is to cut government spending and relieve the private sector of regulatory and tax burdens that are stifling economic growth.
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In my book Restore the Republic, I provide a detailed plan for making the necessary cuts and for privatizing government functions. I recommend phasing out entitlement programs in favor of a system of corporate and individual tax deductions that will create private charitable incentives for institutions and individuals to provide food, financial support, and healthcare for the indigent. It is, I believe, the only way out of the crisis that can achieve restoration of the limited federal republic established by the Constitution and revitalization of free markets. In Restore the Republic, I also explain that whether or not those we elect lead the movement to downsize the federal government, that downsizing is going to happen of necessity. Federal welfare programs and services are destined to become increasingly dysfunctional, ultimately falling apart, because the government cannot afford to finance and support present and promised programs and services, given projected spending and debt levels.
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