By Mike Knebel-Nebraska Libertarian Party
If you’re like me, you probably spend more time on the internet than you should. I’m assuming that’s the case, because I bet half of you are reading this article at work right now. Tsk, tsk. Is that what they are paying you for? Regardless, if you’ve tried to check out say data on near Earth asteroids, or get the latest crop reports, or even see a close up picture of Mt Rushmore in the last week, you have noticed this has become very difficult on the web. All of these things are casualties of the fearsome partial shutdown of the government that has seen 17% of the departments temporarily closed. And of course, when your department gets furloughed, the logical thing to do is shutdown the website. Ignore the fact that you are paying for the domain name, and actually have to do more work to shut it down than just to leave it open. I mean, the original website for the movie Space Jam is still operational. Mid 1990’s graphics and all. If that website can stay open, surely we can leave the lights on for NASA and the other government sites.
But this takes us to the larger issue, and that is when will the parts of government that we truly dislike shutdown, and not just temporarily? With a roughly 90% disapproval rating, I’m pretty sure we could close up Congress without back pay. Let’s let Lee Terry try to pay for that nice house and college tuition from something other than taxpayer funding. While we are closing things down, can we also shutter the TSA and DHS? Pretty sure these monstrosities have done nothing to make us safer, and have only caused us to dislike travel even more.
Now as a Libertarian, you probably assume I’m enjoying this shutdown. Well, that’s mostly true. But I do want to clear one thing up. Libertarians don’t want to see people out of work, we just want to see less government bureaucracy and less agencies sucking up our tax dollars. What would be a great thing is to have less government workers, because they all found themselves better private sector jobs. Now I don’t want you to think I’m saying all private sector jobs are better than all public sector jobs, and certainly a job is a job when it comes to giving someone money to spend and spur the economy, or feed their children. But through free association and free markets, we can have an economic system that is thriving and not dependent on the Fed to stimulate us. We should be looking toward each other to help create jobs, and not Washington.
Besides, this government shutdown is all for show. We have the debt ceiling discussion coming into play as well. And unless we default, the biggest contributors to our debt and this whole government debacle will still get funded. Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and the interest on the debt must be paid, and are automatically paid unless we default. The biggest reason we should really stop and look at this whole debt limit debate is because the larger our debt, the larger our interest on the debt. And if that has to be paid automatically, that leaves even less money each year to fund things like the Bureau of Engraving and Printing or the Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds!
As I type this, the shutdown has become the 6th longest over the last 100 years, falling behind the fabulous Jimmy Carter year of 1977 and the Clinton shutdown of the 90’s. Pretty sure this one will go up until the 11th hour, and we will narrowly avoid a default scenario. But whatever happens, I hope this is signaling something to the majority of Americans. And that is the two party system is a rigged and corrupt system. It no longer has your best interest at heart. Sure, I would love to say a three party system would be better, but honestly we need a lot more parties involved. Or maybe we go another way and eliminate all parties. I’m pretty sure if either scenario were allowed to happen, more people would realize they have more libertarian tendencies than they let on. The real key here is to eliminate this two party stranglehold that only causes more problems.
But the shutdown has had some serious effects. Those that depend on WIC have not been able to get checks. Libertarians aren’t heartless, we believe the poor need to be helped. We also know government is horrible at helping people. But right now, some people depend on this, and they are hurting. Over 800,000 are furloughed, but most of them should receive back pay. The markets are seeing a retracement and volatility is increasing. But thankfully, the Federal Reserve and our ineffective Border Control (Fast and Furious anyone?) and DHS are functioning. Just didn’t want you to think we weren’t still wasting money.
Despite what Boehner said the other day, both parties are playing games with us. Our megalomaniac President has kept saying he won’t negotiate and demands 100% cooperation to get the government up and running. Republican leadership has decided it will try to cherry pick a few things here and there to fund, but want to try and defund the Affordable Care Act. The Libertarian Party is all aboard fighting that ACA, but will distance itself from the main two parties because they no longer know how to work on anything that will benefit Americans.
All in all, this is what I hope is another wake up call. Our government is so bloated and out of control that they feel like they should try and force control over every aspect of our lives. Maybe this shutdown will end the same day this is published, maybe it will go on even longer and cause a default. What I will say is that we can do without a large portion of this government. And it’s time we stop looking at losing parts of the Federal behemoth as a tragedy and start planning on how to trim more from the beast. We don’t need government to help us with food, clothes, medical care, rent, etc. We just need more average Americans looking out for one another.