By Will Folks || First of all, to the 800,000 federal employees who are about to be furloughed as part of the government “shutdown,” I feel your pain.
Not really … but whatever.
Fortunately, since most of you have been grossly overpaid for years – including several years spanning the worst economic recession in eight decades – I am sure you have saved up more than enough money to survive this manufactured political crisis.
Wait … a “manufactured crisis?”
Isn’t this “shutdown” the result of draconian Republican budget cuts? Errr … Democrats’ refusal to compromise? Err … reproductive rights? Err … women’s health screenings? Err, anything and everything else that politicians of both parties can find to hang their ideological hats on?
Of course not … the “shutdown” isn’t about anything. Well, it isn’t about anything other than partisan game-playing at least … but in the Democrats’ rush to blame it on Republicans and the Republicans rush to blame it on Democrats, all logic (and perspective) goes out the window.
Here’s a little bit of common sense math that ought to put things in context …
According to preliminary Congressional Budget Office estimates, the federal government ran a deficit of $189 billion during the month of March. That’s on top of the record $223 billion deficit it ran during the month of February.
In other words, in the last two months alone our government has spent $412 billion that it doesn’t have – which is being lumped on top of a $14.2 trillion mountain of previously-spent money that we also didn’t have (i.e. the national debt). On top of that, another $1.5 trillion in deficit spending is forecast for the coming fiscal year.
By contrast, over the next seven months Republicans want to save a paltry $61 billion – which in fairness is $61 billion more than Democrats want to save. Still, that’s less than $10 billion worth of savings a month … or not enough to make a smudge in the dent on the fender of the larger problem.
And we’re supposed to “shut down” government over that?
This nation is truly fucked, people. Royally fucked, in fact. And neither Republicans nor Democrats (who bear equal responsibility for the fucking) have a clue how to un-fuck it up.
Even the most audacious proposals simply don’t go far enough …
Obviously, legions of mainstream media reporters will be glued to their iPads and smart phones come midnight Friday … eager to break the specifics of the latest meaningless budget extension (or in the event of a “shutdown,” to burden your conscience with sob stories about National Park closings and the “human cost” of furloughs).
So while your kids may not be allowed to see “Old Faithful,” rest assured there will be plenty of water works.
What will most reporters not discuss? The 2 million non-military federal workers who will show up Monday like nothing happened, or the entitlement gravy train that will “keep right on keeping on.” Oh … and your taxes are still due on April 18, which is probably why it’s a good thing the Post Office isn’t shutting down.
Also, let’s not forget the “retroactive payments” that any furloughed workers will receive whenever the “shutdown” ends – because God forbid anything in Washington, D.C. have any actual consequences associated with it.
Anyway, you can hear (or not hear) about all of that from other reporters.
As for me, I’m going “off the grid.”
“Shutdown” or not, when the clock strikes midnight on Friday I’ll be in the middle of the South Carolina backwoods, people … my feet kicked up by a campfire beneath the stars.
If this country is going down (and it is), then I would humbly recommend we all carve out some moments to unplug and enjoy the view … while we still can.