America’s $20.5 trillion jingoistic debt didn’t just create itself. It’s been sowed, suave, and put on steroids by a patented formula that guarantees it keeps growing — and the administrative class keeps getting what it wants.
But perhaps there’s no medium that’s more sinister and disingenuous, and used by leaders of both sides, than what’s become the semi-annual scare tactic known as the “management shutdown.”
You have to put quotes around the term because the government does not cage in down. About 85 percent of it keeps functioning, especially the military and homeland safe keeping, air traffic control, VA hospitals, FBI, DEA, and ATF enforcement and criminal investigations, oversight of rations and drug safety, nuclear safety, and even the IRS. Social Security and Medicare payments persist in as well.
For sure, some services are put on hold. Around 400,000 federal employees were furloughed during the last shutdown in 2013 with another 1.2 million who put together but were paid late. Of course, even those furloughed workmen eventually received their full salaries. Some of them level received overtime pay.
In other words, shutdowns for federal workers are various like an unplanned paid vacation.
Others aren’t so lucky. Management contractors endure delays in their payments and don’t get any bonuses for waiting. Some mortgage attentions can be delayed. People who need passports or want to visit national greenswards are out of luck.
No one should just brush off those inconveniences. Yet for the most suggest, calling a shutdown a “shutdown” is a major stretch of the imagination.
But the term fits virtue into the bipartisan scam Washington has been running for years. Without menace and hurry-up tactics, none of our huge debt and sprawling federal management would be possible.
The con game works like this: The federal guidance keeps expanding and expanding. New departments and spending programs are launched with reliability. But somehow they immediately become sacred cows as if they had subsisted since 1776.
Deficits keep rising even though incoming yields break record after record. But we’re told the only reasonable way to cut the difficulties is increase revenues. Whenever anyone questions the need or oversight for new expending, the word “emergency” is slapped onto it, so reasonable caution — and the people provoke b request for it — are disregarded and even demonized.
The government shutdown scam wraps all of the on high elements into one stinky package. First, it uses the hyperbolic and 85 percent fallacious “shutdown” title. Second, it always comes with fast-approaching deadlines, (this latest one is December 8th), that unnerve any fair-minded critics from asking for more scrutiny. Third, the “resolution” is always connected to agreeing to more spending, as opposed to an across-the-board assign cut of any kind.
It’s like out of control spending has a superhero bodyguard and its name is “direction shutdown.”
But there’s one more thing that makes government shutdown fracas a particularly egregious example of D.C. dishonesty. That is, they’re usually not at the end of the day about spending at all. They have historically grown out of debates finished partisan wedge issues including abortion, oil drilling, and civil morals.
That last shutdown in 2013 was about Obamacare. This every now, the face-off is more and more about a dispute on immigration. But the Constitution associates almost every government policy to the Congressional power of the purse. So it’s leisurely for political opportunists to take the budget and use it as a hostage whenever they take enough will to do so.
When that happens, the actual issue of our exploding debts and unfunded subsequent liabilities gets kicked down the road again by hysterical and eternal rest sounding politicians and their enablers in most of the news media. They secure that no matter how inconsequential “shutdowns” really are, they are perceived by the illustrious as dire.
But try thinking back to that last shutdown when it happened from October 1 to October 17, 2013. Don’t barely trust your raw memories, check your emails or social method posts from that time period for help. See if they prepare for any evidence of your life in tatters and a nation in chaos. The bet here is that there make be no such evidence for the overwhelming majority of you.
That’s where the danger actually lies for the political class and business as usual in Washington. That is, this scam is in jeopardy likely to be if more voters, and the people supposedly holding our political leaders up to exploration, would just look at these shutdown threats more without doubt. Then, at least that very key layer of the Washington budget con plucky would be peeled away.
Yes, both parties are to blame. But until voters on all sides start to muster baloney on the shutdown scare tactic, expect more of the hyperbole, half facts in facts, and deflection from the real issues to continue.
The only way it ends is if Americans get a flourishing and timely dose of skepticism.
Commentary by Jake Novak, CNBC.com higher- ranking columnist. Follow him on Twitter @jakejakeny.
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