The same media and Democrat communications apparati (but I repeat myself) that have been claiming that the Republican-proposed budget would kill 700,000 children are now wringing their hands about a looming “government shutdown,” which we may assume would be fictively responsible for an astronomically higher number of deaths than a federal budget that spends 98.4% of what was spent the previous year.
If passing a budget alone really is the difference between life and death for hundreds of thousands of young Americans, the Democrats sure do have a lot of blood on their hands for the last year-plus they spent not passing a budget so that they wouldn’t have to have difficult votes on their records heading into last November’s electoral referendum on unsustainable fiscal practices.
However, as usual, this Democrat-and-media handwringing and fearmongering does not reflect anything even remotely approaching reality. The fact that a “government shutdown” simply requires that “non-essential” personnel be furloughed (historically, they’ve even received back pay for time missed) makes the Chicken Little cries that the Sky Is Falling just so much more sensationalism. In fact, the very fact that government agencies and organizations have non-essential personnel present in the first place could be viewed as a testament to our bloated, overfunded (with borrowed money), unsustainable government, which is badly in need of trimming and streamlining.
The only real issue with a so-called shutdown, military pay, is only an issue because the Democrats have fought to make it one. Historically (see, for example, 1995), those serving in the military have continued to be paid during a shutdown. However, in their desperation to keep America on an unsustainable fiscal course, President Obama and his congressional Democrats are determined to ensure that our wartime military is both a pawn and their best leverage in this budget fight. This effort, which is almost as despicable as the late Rep. Jack Murtha’s “slow bleed strategy” to force troop withdrawal from Iraq, has no place in civilized debate, discourse, or legislative activity.
Unfortunately, Republican efforts to take military pay off the table by guaranteeing its funding regardless of a “shutdown” have been met by absolute refusals by a president and congressional caucus who are unwilling to allow our men and women in uniform to be anything other than pawns in a political game of chicken.
A “government shutdown” would do all Americans a favor by removing “non-essential” workers from the taxpayers’ payroll, at least for a period of time. Regardless of whether or not such a so-called shutdown takes place, though President Obama and the Democrats in Congress – who could have avoided every bit of this had they passed a budget last year, when they could have done so without a single Republican vote – should man up and take military pay off the table as a negotiating tool. Unfortunately, they’re unlikely to do so – a fact which speaks volumes about them as individuals, and about their priorities as an executive and as legislators.