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Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Shutdown and the Debt Clock

Listening to the radio the other day, I noted that Glenn Beck was ranting about the debt clock being unrealistically slow, as if to say that it's being slowed down to make Obama look good. Normally, the debt clock is running so fast that the numbers on the end are just an unreadable blur. To see what the debt is at any point in time, go to this site. Hit refresh every second or two and you can see our national debt go up by a few tens of thousands of dollars. It's great fun!

It then occurred to me that America was in the midst of a government "shutdown," meaning that only the essential functions of government were in operation -- the military, national security, etc. Because of this, our rate of expenditure was drastically lower than normal, so our debt was increasing very slowly. (Sadly, though, it was still increasing.)

I also noted that Wall Street was on the rise through most of the shutdown. Could it be that a less-intrusive government is actually good for the economy? Could it be that supply-side, free-market economics actually works? Though analysts were constantly reporting on Wall Street, none of them even brought up this question. Even FOX analysts reported on the numbers as if Wall Street was hoping the shutdown would end; no one got the real lesson: Less government = good business.

I realize that the Republicans lost the war of words over the shutdown. Well, it's hard to win a war when you're only fighting defensively. As usual, the Republican Party chose to respond to criticism rather than level any. They chose to allow President Obama to set the tone and framework of the argument. I should have seen every Republican leader in Washington angrily wagging a finger at the president, laying the blame for the shutdown squarely on his shoulders. He refused to even discuss the issue, holding the nation hostage over a pet program he himself admits needs to be improved. He refused to fund individual programs, sent one-by-one, in a tantrum of epic proportions. He failed to respect the Constitutional framework which grants the power of the purse to the House of Representatives. He ignored the will of the people, the vast majority of whom are dead-set against his ironically-named Affordable Health Care Act.

The Republican Party should have been spending wads of money on a barrage of attack ads on radio, television, and the Internet. Instead, they allowed themselves to be whipped into submission. Why do the spineless ones always get control of our party? How do they do it? You would think the assertive would be the logical winners in a power struggle. It makes no sense to me.

The debt clock will soon be a giant digital blur in the sky. It saddens me. For a brief time, we almost had our spending under control. It makes me wonder, why does the government even hire workers who are nonessential in the first place? Perhaps that is the most important issue, again ignored by the media, to come out of this whole debacle.

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