The Default of Civilized Government
By: Tom Chatham
The government shutdown has been anything but a shutdown. It has morphed into an exercise in police state tactics. The events taking place in the U.S. today are unprecedented and are more commonly seen in failed African nations than modern industrialized countries. The temper tantrum being acted out by the current president is anything but what one would expect from an American president. This is what happens when you elect a 50 year old man with a 10 year old brain to run a nation.
The president has made it his job to punish the American people until he gets what he wants. He has barricaded open air war memorials, closed parts of the ocean, closed privately owned businesses, closed highway viewing areas, closed parking lots and shut down commissaries on military bases while approving an immigration rally to take place on the closed national mall and keeping the golf course open at Andrews AFB so he can play golf. Some animals are more equal than others.
What is mind boggling are the things being closed down during this government shutdown.
– Biscayne National Park is shut down and no fishing is allowed. Charter boats in the area are prohibited from taking anglers into the 1,100 sq. miles of ocean in the bay due to the government shutdown.
– Lake Meade is closed and all of the people who live on houseboats on the lake have been evicted until the government shutdown is over. It is even rumored that NPS has torn up docks to prevent owners from getting to their boats.
– War memorials in open air locations have been barricaded at multiple locations across the nation to prevent viewing.
– Privately owned businesses along the highways in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have been closed by NPS because the buildings sit on rented federal property. The highways through the federal lands are open but the businesses next to the highways are closed depriving people of their livelihood.
– Mount Rushmore National Monument is closed but so too are the highway viewing areas that allow people to see the monument from a distance.
– The government could not close Mount Vernon because it is owned by the Mt. Vernon Ladies Association but they have blocked off the parking lots next to the historic site which the ladies association jointly own with the federal government. The organization has forced the reopening of some parking.
These are but a few of the childish reactions to the current impass in Washington. The fascinating thing about all of these closings is that the National Park Service (NPS) is on furlough with many other federal employees but they are still working and harassing people to cause as much suffering as possible as ordered by the president according to some NPS employees.
All of this is to protect Obamacare which has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with raising taxes. Over the next 10 years this bill will raise 1.9 trillion dollars of additional revenue for the government and that is probably a low figure once it gets momentum. The figure heads in government keep harping on the potential default if we do not raise the debt limit so they can spend more. Here are some figures you should know.
U.S. Treasury data on tax receipts indicate that through July of 2013 the government has taken in an average of 238 billion/month. It has spent an average of 283 billion/month giving us a deficit of 45 billion/month. To take care of basic necessities would cost the following.
52.8 B/Mo. Interest payments on debt
73.5 B/Mo. Social security payments
7.17 B/Mo. Veterans pensions
78.3 B/Mo. This would cover the entire HHS budget including Medicare/Medicaid, Childrens health insurance program.
211.7 B/Mo. Total to cover these payments leaving 26.3 B/Mo.
Military funding amounting to 39 B/Mo. was appropriated by a bill passed by Congress and signed by the president before the government shutdown so it is not included here but even if it had to be included it would only leave a gap of 12.7 B/Mo. which likely could be cut from non essential spending at HHS and/or military cuts to fuel and spare parts acquisition.
As this list shows, all of our basic necessities could be covered with the current tax revenues coming into the treasury so talk of a default is fear mongering at its’ worst. The fear in Washington is that the people will realize we don’t need a lot of the spending we now have and loss of that money would mean loss of government control of a segment of the population. There will not be a default unless the President chooses to default on the debt to initiate a bigger crisis. In this case expect creditors to get large chunks of U.S. territory as payment for their loans.
The thing we have to fear is not a potential default in finances but a current default in civilized behavior from our elected representatives in Washington. This deficit in moral behavior will almost certainly grow and end with blood in the streets. It is rumored that President Putin said negotiating with Obama is like playing chess with a pigeon, the bird knocks over all the pieces, shits on the board then struts around like he won. This is a good analogy of the episode now playing out in D.C. One thing is for certain, no matter what solution we get, the suffering will increase as time goes on and the people will pay the price for the dysfunctional government they have created.