Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What Shuts Down in a Shutdown

Government shutdown. Sounds ominous, doesn't it? We've heard from our young Community Organizer President that shutting down the Government would necessarily lead to Social Security checks not going out. Nor those to the military. And a halt to all Government services. San Fran Nancy ("You have to pass the bill to find out what's in it") Pelosi, our ex-House Speaker who now has to fly commercial, poor thing, repeated that allegation. And Harry ("This war is lost!") Reid, Senate Majority Leader, has offered up even more dire predictions about a Government shutdown. You know, Grandma eating dog food and crime running rampant in the streets. That sort of stuff. Well folks, I decided to personally look into this matter and try and separate the wheat from the chaff. What's the truth and what's blatant, partisan demagoguery, I wanted to know. And here are the results of my research:

We have in the good ol' U.S. of A. what we call "essential services." These are the services that are so important they may not be shut down. Ever. They include mail delivery. The 600,000 unionized mail carriers are exempt from shutdowns. Gotta' get those coupons and Victoria's Secret catalogues out to the folks. Air Traffic Controllers. These are the guys who learned from President Ronald Reagan in 1981 that they are so important that they may not go on strike. They did. He fired them. Their replacements are essential. They stay on the job. Or else. The military. Our Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard keep on working in the event of a Government shutdown and we continue to pay them. Medicare will keep on truckin' and keep on paying our seniors. So will the food inspectors. Can't allow any Mad Cow Disease to occur while our Congressional leaders are engaged in a wrestling match. Health care for our Country's veterans will continue on unabated in the event of a shutdown. Our Federal courts will stay open even if the Government closes so we can continue prosecuting the bad guys. And last but not least (pay attention here, Mr. President), Social Security will continue working like Santa's little elves, sending checks along to the old folks. The dog is safe from Grandma, it seems.

So what services would be curtailed if the Democrats persist in spending at record levels and the Republicans are unsuccessful in getting them to spend just a wee bit less? Well, no visit to Federal parks or museums for you. You wouldn't be able to obtain a new visa or passport. Pity. Toxic waste cleanup at 609 sites would be curtailed. Recruitment of Federal law enforcement officers would be put on hold until an agreement is reached. All Federal contractors in and around Washington, D.C. would be sent home without pay (ahwwww…). No new patients would be accepted for National Institutes of Health clinical research. And there would be delays in processing applications for Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Explosives applications (I'm afraid you'll have to wait to buy that Dynamite!).

Now I ask you, is this extreme? Considering the plethora of absolutely incredibly stupid laws pouring forth from Foggy Bottom of late, I for one am quite looking forward to a Government shutdown. Remember what Mark Twain said on this subject: "No man's pocketbook is safe while Congress is in session." Just imagine if there were a shutdown in Sacramento. Over the past decade or so our Assembly and Senate members have put forth, argued about and passed an average of more than 950 new laws each year. And the Governor has signed into law an average of half them. Some of my favorites include the Paris Hilton law from two years ago. It's now a crime to drive with your teacup Chihuahua in your lap. And last year's new law requiring you to euthanize a mouse, rat or Guinea pig prior to feeding it to your pet Python. While going upside down an average of $22 Billion Dollars each year for the past eight, these otherwise unemployable dimbulbs found time to worry about the mental health of a rat just prior to being ingested. It makes one wonder what benefits would accrue to us, the taxpayers, if the Feds and the State were to send our lawmakers packing for a few months. Write your Congressman/woman/other and let them know your feelings on the subject…

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