Mark Steyn brilliantly puts the government shutdown crisis in perspective. To wit:
This week’s “shutdown” of government, for example, suffers (at least for those of us curious to see it reduced to Somali levels) from the awkward fact that the overwhelming majority of the government is not shut down at all. Indeed, much of it cannot be shut down. Which is the real problem facing America. “Mandatory spending” (Social Security, Medicare, et al.) is authorized in perpetuity — or, at any rate, until total societal collapse. If you throw in the interest payments on the debt, that means two-thirds of the federal budget is beyond the control of Congress’s so-called federal budget process. That’s why you’re reading government “shutdown” stories about the PandaCam at the Washington Zoo and the First Lady’s ghost-Tweeters being furloughed.
Nevertheless, just because it’s a phony crisis doesn’t mean it can’t be made even phonier. The perfect symbol of the shutdown-simulacrum so far has been the World War II Memorial. This is an open-air facility on the National Mall — that’s to say, an area of grass with a monument at the center. By comparison with, say, the IRS, the National Parks Service is not usually one of the more controversial government agencies. But, come “shutdown,” they’re reborn as the shock troops of the punitive bureaucracy. Thus, they decided to close down an unfenced open-air site — which oddly enough requires more personnel to shut than it would to keep it open.
When the Democrats had control of both the House and Senate. as well as the White House, they pushed through the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. No Republican voted for Obamacare. If Obamacare were to come before lawmakers today, it certainly would not pass. Yet, all we hear from supporters of the act is that it is established law, and debate should cease. It sounds a lot like global warming (a.k.a. climate change). Carbon’s destroying the environment. It’s settled science, so shut up.
Do you get the feeling that we’re living in a time where molding perception is far, far more common that facing reality? The federal government is running record deficits, piling up record debt. Current entitlements are set to go broke in the years to come. Just north of 63% of adults are participants in the labor force. That’s the lowest rate since 1978. However, we have to enact another huge entitlement we can’t afford because it’s “established law.” Really? That’s your best argument? Obama’s unilaterally handed out exemptions even after the law was “established.”
Democrats are depending on most Americans being ignorant of what’s really going on. They shutdown elements of the government which are easily highlighted in the media. Hopefully, turning veterans and other citizens away from “an area of grass with a monument in the center” won’t just reflect negatively on Republicans. It should reflect negatively on us all. Some of us are being manipulated while others are willing perpetuators of a narrative that favors bolstering future political support through government programs over solving a fiscal dilemma that will certainly cause massive amounts of pain in the near future.