Oh, we definitely need a shutdown, all right. But this time, let’s try and get it right.
For whatever reason, many governments persist in destroying resources and fundamental liberties on the basis of a debunked epidemiological model. The national government should actively intercede, as it did to protect Americans’ rights during the Civil War and Civil Rights Movement, neither of which were very civil. But even if it doesn’t want to interfere with states’ rights today, under no circumstances should it FUND their oppression. Verily, I believe any attempt to do so will lead to a tax revolt, probably of the quiet variety at first. There is just no way Americans in the free states are going to fund the continued subjugation of their fellow Americans in California, Michigan, and elsewhere, which have essentially been invaded and occupied by their own governments.
But what then shall the poor state and municipal governments do? Obviously, they need to lift most economic restrictions so that taxes again begin to flow in. And they also need to cut their “nonessential” workers, which is essentially most of them. In the short term anyway, we need courts and police officers and other first responders. (Ultimately, we do not need any of them but this is no time for novelty, even if we have rich comparative and historical examples from which to draw.) But teachers, recorders, prothonotaries, and all sorts of other bureaucrats need to be furloughed immediately. (If you think that many will then join the ranks of protesters, you’re starting to understand the power of the purse! They can arrest some protestors, but not all of them, especially with their budgets so tight.)
There is no reason to exclude national government employees from furloughs either. The bailouts and other forms of hush money already paid out has to be repaid somehow, through higher taxes or lower expenditures. Why do we need parts of the SEC if no corporations are issuing securities? What good is the EPA if factories are shuttered? The USDA if meat processors are closed? What does the Department of Education do even in normal times? Surely most of the Department of the Interior can be let go.
Is furloughing 75 percent of government workers a draconian suggestion? Absolutely, but why shouldn’t government employees suffer along with the rest of us? You can’t expect civvies to bear all the burden of flattening an already pretty flat curve indefinitely. Plus, unlike the private sector, which is all “essential” or it wouldn’t exist, we know from budget battle government shutdowns that much of the national government is nonessential. Life goes on, and some think improves, without it.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the deadweight loss of the 35-day partial federal government shutdown in early 2019 at only $3 billion. We will be lucky to get out of the current mess for $3 trillion in deadweight losses.
Governments messed up by botching testing, then not stopping the spread of the virus when it was still manageable, then did so again by shutting down too much of the economy for too long to cover their incompetence, and now they want to be rewarded with continued nonessential employment, and the forced redistribution of wealth from all Americans to Constitution-smashing state governments? Where is the last straw?
There isn’t one, near as I can tell. Which brings us one step closer to the dropping of the post I mentioned at the end of this one, and am still putting together.
A government shutdown is the only shutdown that makes sense, which is why we do the opposite.