James Williamson guest blog: Federal shutdown? Who cares?

Editor’s note: James Williamson is a former Ohio resident (currently residing in Nevada) who has written other guest blog pieces for Buckeye RINO. I am grateful for his contribution, especially as I am desperately trying to finish writing a thesis to obtain a masters degree. (Once I complete my degree, I hope to blog frequently.)

Guest bloggers at Buckeye RINO express their own opinions which may or may not represent my own opinions. That being said, I take issue with the following assertion that appears within this article: “Remember the Wisconsin fight over collective bargaining rights? Um, neither does anyone else.” I think Ohioans remember that fight, for they fought over public union collective bargaining rights, too, and the outcome of that fight in Ohio was markedly different than the outcome in Wisconsin.–DJW

Federal shutdown? Who cares?

With everything that has been going on for the last few months it’s hard to even pin down a topic to blog about. White house scandals, Anthony Weiner, Bob Filner, unrest in Egypt, our (non) involvement in Syria, the list goes on. With this smorgasbord of juicy discussion topics I am going to pick something that is not getting much press…. yet….

The government’s fiscal year ends September 30th which means there are a little more than 60 days for Congress to pass some sort of budget or continuing resolutions to fund the government starting October 1st. Already liberal pundits are salivating over the possibility because of what happened in 1995-1996. This idea that things turned out badly for the Republicans in 1995 so it will be turn out the same again is a fallacy of logic. While I’m not sure what the fallout would be if a shutdown does take place I can be certain of a few things:

1. Economic growth was much higher in 1995.
2. None of the sticking points of the budget (education, environment, Medicare, etc.) were as unpopular as Obamacare is.
3. John Boehner is not Newt Gingrich.
4. The senate was not controlled by Democrats in 1995.
5. Barack Obama is not Bill Clinton.
6. There is not a presidential election in 2014.
7. Unemployment was much lower in 1995.
8. Unemployment was much lower in 1995.
9. Unemployment was much lower in 1995…

Obviously, I think the unemployment rate will have an outsized impact on public reaction. I believe (based on personal observations) that there is much less sympathy (if there ever was any) for federal workers now than there was in 1995. Not only are private sector workers envious of the near impossibility of getting fired or laid off if you work for the federal government, the wages and benefits have now eclipsed that of the private sector. The Government will quickly discover that there is as much or more voter apathy toward their worker’s plight as there is toward the unions. Remember the Wisconsin fight over collective bargaining rights? Um, neither does anyone else.

Since the federal government does not provide services that affect everyday lives of average Americans immediately (like utility services, vehicle licensing, education) I doubt many people would be upset over the government shutting down for a few months. In fact, after the IRS scandal they may even cheer. Unfortunately this means that the people that would be the most upset by a shutdown would be government employees and federal contractors. So who will this constituency blame? The party that controls 1/2 of congress or the party that controls 1/2 of congress and the white house? Will that affect Senate and House elections in 2014?

Personally I think as long as the department of defense doesn’t shut down the majority of the public won’t miss much. They certainly won’t miss having the IRS pester them. They probably won’t miss the Department of Energy, Department of Education, Department of Agriculture, TSA, GSA, or any other of the myriads of federal bureaucracies. Oh and the entitlement programs that liberal constituencies love so much? They don’t stop if there is a shutdown. They won’t get roused one way or another and this won’t be a major draw for them to go to the ballot box next November. Remember that last time the Democrats failed to gain control of the House of Representatives and lost two seats in the Senate. This time there is no presidential election in 2014 and in 2016 the incumbent is ineligible to run.

Government shutdown imminent? I say, “Bring it on!”

3 Responses to “James Williamson guest blog: Federal shutdown? Who cares?”

  1. James Says:

    I did make the observation regarding the Wisconsin fight from a local perspective and that concur that voters in Ohio may have a different view than voters in Nevada. On a national level i believe sympathy for government unions remains weak and that is the idea i tried to convey.

    • buckeyerino Says:

      Differences aside, I wish the federal government would stop raising the debt ceiling and hold down expenses. Paying interest on the debt to avoid default costs money. The government splurges on spending by ballooning the debt, but it’s a vicious circle because interest payments mean that the government always needs bigger and bigger cash grabs from citizens and businesses just to provide the same level of services. Austerity to pay down debt may be a bitter pill for politicians to swallow, but increased looting of the private sector by the feds undoubtedly dampens the economy.

      • James Says:

        Agreed. Unfortunately the fiscal discipline in Washington is so bad it will take something catastrophic to change it.


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