News media commonly warns that a “government shutdown” will result if there’s a breakdown in funding negotiations between Democratic and Republican politicians. But there is no pending “government shutdown.
Nor has there ever been anything close to a “government shutdown” in modern American history.
A government slowdown merely reduces spending to the level of taxes collected. In other words, it balances the budget. And that’s bad — why?
The term “government shutdown” is designed to scare people into thinking there can be no police protection, military defense, road repairs, or other essential services unless Americans cough up more money to fund the ludicrously over-funded federal government.
This is a manipulation and a lie.
Let’s review what happened during the 16-day government slowdown of October 2013:
- Not a single emergency service was suspended.
- Politicians gave full back pay to 100% of government employees who they had furloughed immediately after the slowdown ended. It amounted to a free vacation for government employees (who already get, on average, far more generous personal, sick and vacation time than private sector employees).
- Despite claims that the U.S. economy would lose $24 billion, it suffered no loss, only a shift in where money was spent.
- When the slowdown ended, Democratic and Republican politicians raised federal spending and government debt – again.
“Call it what it is: a government slowdown,” said Nicholas J. Sarwark, Libertarian National Committee Chair. “And tell Americans the truth: We need much more than a slowdown. We need to dramatically and permanently roll back the federal government to an appropriate size.”
“The federal government should be limited to protecting American lives, liberty, and property,” he said. “We must start by removing government barriers that prohibit or impair free market alternatives to health care, education, finance, communications, housing, manufacturing, agriculture and virtually every market where it improperly intervenes. This will allow Americans to enjoy high-quality, competitively-priced goods and services.”
“Such a small, lean, accountable federal government with a strong military defensewould cost no more than a few hundred billion dollars – about ten percent of current spending levels,” said Sarwark. “This would stop mass surveillance, inflation, destructive foreign wars, the failed Drug Prohibition, laws that disarm innocent Americans and other infringements on our rights.”
“Government downsizing would put an end to mounds of wasteful red tape and bureaucracy, allowing American businesses to thrive in a competitive world marketplace,” he continued. “Transferring wealth out of the government sector and into the private sector would create roughly twice as many productive jobs as the number of government jobs lost – a win for both government employees and the millions of Americans looking for jobs or better pay.”
“What Americans should really fear is the likelihood that, despite the hullabaloo we hear over a phony ‘shutdown,’ the government will stay big and continue to grow,” said Sarwark. “The Libertarian Party exists to correct this. We are the only political party in America dedicated to making government small, enabling prosperity and advancing freedom.”