The [Insert Name Here] Shutdown

Silly. That’s the first word that came to my mind when I began paying more attention this week to the government “shutdown” coverage that is so prevalent in the media hardly any “news” is making it through the editing rooms. I decided to do some research on the facts of the situation, since raw facts [sans spin points] are nowhere to be found in the media.

dragnetFrom comments I receive, I know that readers of my blog posts are almost all NOT in the category of people one popular radio talk show host calls Low Information Voters [the only reason for the “almost” before “all” is that one can never assume that “all” people can be classified in any particular way 😊.] So the approach I’m going to take here is to simply list facts, more or less in descending order of their effect on how individual legislators will vote on any particular resolution to this impasse that is ultimately found. Please note the very last item — it’s actually the one that’s the most important, even though it’s on the very bottom of this list of facts influencing our decision makers.

    1. Who is ultimately blamed for this “shutdown” will matter much more than anything else it may accomplish.
    2. Perceptions of the level of “pain” the “shutdown” causes matters much more than whatever level of “pain” it actually causes.
    3. The campaigns of members of the party that best manages this “spin cycle” may be made more effective than those of members of the other party in the 2020 election [stated this way, this statement is a fact — change “may be” to “will be,” and it’s no longer a fact.]
    4. This situation is about as clear a confirmation as you could find that there is a major paradigm shift well underway in this country [the main evidence that a New Paradigm is already replacing the current soon-to-be Old Paradigm is that under the current/old paradigm, problems aren’t getting solved and desirable new things aren’t being developed.]
    5. Millions of actual real people are adversely affected by “shutdowns.”
    6. The $5.7 billion [at most] for a wall that is actually the last “hurdle” to overcome [which if not singled out as the single biggest issue would not have resulted in the “shutdown”] is 0.13% of the proposed 2019 Federal spending level [that’s slightly over one tenth of one percent!] It could easily be funded by cutting 0.38% [less than four tenths of one percent] of the proposed budgets of all departments [including the non-wall components of the Homeland Security proposal.] These “cuts” would be in proposed increasesnot current expenditure levels. The proposed expenditures contain no cuts anywhere, and are on average 8.88% higher than Fiscal Year 2018 levels — so if all were reduced by 0.38%, the average increase would still be 8.5%.

I considered another title for this post — Send In The Clowns, the title of Judy Collins’ 1975 hit song written by Stephen Sondheim. The The [Insert Name Here] Shutdown title won out because winning the perception battle in the eyes of Low Information Voters — i.e., what ends up replacing “[Insert Name Here]” in their eyes — is the only thing that actually matters to our legislators, who are described very well by the fourth verse of the song:

Don’t you love farce? 

My fault, I fear. 

I thought that you’d want what I want… 

Sorry, my dear! 

And where are the clowns 

Send in the clowns 

Don’t bother, they’re here.

Thanks for reading this post, and if you regularly follow my Blog, for that, too. Please consider sharing this or other posts with your friends, colleagues and associates.

img_7026 Charles M Jones

Charles M. Jones

Author: Charles M. Jones, PE, CPA

[retired — neither license active]

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