Journal of the Great Shutdown: Day Two

My trip to Petco was uneventful. A cheerful greeter at the door handed me a coupon for Eukenuba Lamb and Rice dog food, so I bought that instead of the Dinky Dee I had set out for.

I don't know who's more foolish: the greeter standing there, cheerfully helping shoppers, or the other customers who weren't panicking and hoarding like I was. Don't these idiots realize that the government is shut down?!?!

The lack of rioting at Petco encouraged me – might there still be actual human food on the shelves at other stores? Swung by Whole Foods where I saw canned goods…and large cuts of beef and pork on sale at $1.99 / lb. Remembering a trick from Lucifer's hammer, I bought all the meat I could fit in the shopping cart, took it home, sliced it thin, and dehydrated it.

As I stayed up until 4am slicing meat I couldn't help but dwell on the fact that the customers at Whole Foods are just as deluded as those at Petco. Fools. Pathetic fools. The societal breakdown might not be that obvious yet, but by day three of the government shutdown they'll be hammering at my door, looking for salted beef.

Sadly, I've realized that my preparations aren't as far along as they should be. Ammunition will soon grow scarce, and I'll need other weapons to defend myself from bikers and feral children once the government shutdown really hits. I recall from Dies the Fire that crossbows can be made from truck leaf springs. I'm going to go onto Craigslist to try to find a blacksmith or craftsman I can barter with, but I fear it may already be too late – has Craigslist survived this long?

For that matter, will this missive ever reach you, dear readers?

The FCC has furloughed 98% of its employees, so I worry that without thousands of government heroes to keep the internet from collapsing, when I click "post" this message will go nowhere. I may have to find an alternative way to get this note to you.

If this message takes days, weeks, or even months to reach you, please understand – that's the best we can hope for with no government.

Last 5 posts by Clark

Comments

  1. Analee says

    I am so proud of myself. This is the first time I recognized sarcasm and/or satire in a Popehat post on the first try!

  2. KR says

    Speaking of Lucifer's Hammer, did you take care of printing out and waterproofing scientific/engineering knowledge to help preserve it in the coming Dark Ages?

  3. mcinsand says

    Don't forget the teams of soldier cannibals. Also, when you find your group scientist, be sure to learn a lesson from the book and either get one that's not diabetic or secure an insulin supply!

  4. John Nevill says

    Clark, you entitled white smarmy ass. Maybe because you aren't a poor women or child that could be affected by the shutdown of WIC, your trip to the store went without a hitch. Although, perhaps this is just commentary on the scare-mongering tactics used by modern media to keep viewership high, and not a privilege-blind whine from a self absorbed ass.

  5. eddie says

    I decided it's easiest just to join the winning side, so I went out yesterday and got bitten by a zombie.

  6. Tyrone says

    As far as I know, welfare, foodstamps, social security checks are still going out. It's only a partial shutdown – nonessentials. But things like scientific .gov websites and data repositories which are automated and probably paid up for all I know are down "due to the shutdown" to make the point clear for anyone who doesn't have time to watch TV news. Interesting that science and engineering is considered "nonessential" by the current administration. I thought they were the science good guys.

  7. Analee says

    @eddie

    You got zombies? What the shit! Johnstown got ZERO zombies! I feel somewhat cheated.

  8. says

    Maybe because you aren't a poor women or child

    Or somebody who would like to visit an open-air, previously-open-24-hours monument that has been closed in a cynical act of theater by fundamentally dishonest people (out of petulance towards other petulant fundamentally dishonest people).

    Although, perhaps this is just commentary on the scare-mongering tactics used by modern media

    Or by the aforementioned petulant dishonest government officials trying to frame the story.

  9. TomB says

    Dies the Fire

    My God I read that book! At least part of it, I rarely don't finish a book, but this one was special.

    It was horrible. Juniper Mackenzie and her renaissance fair friends save the day.

  10. says

    @John Nevill

    Clark, you entitled white smarmy ass.

    I love the smell of racism in the morning. It smells of…victory.

  11. says

    @Joseph Ratliff

    I'm starting to think "The Book of Eli" here…

    Damn it, this is my schtick – stop reading ahead!

  12. Tarrou says

    Clark, you entitled white smarmy ass.

    Do I sense the idea for a politically themed porno?

  13. BBnet3000 says

    The weakest suffer first, those who need the benefits the government provides on a continuous basis. Hence the comment about WIC, which you chose to address in a completely tangential way.

    We already know that the W in WIC just need to work harder, how about the I and the C?

    As for the parks/monuments etc, government employees (or private employees contracted) handle their upkeep, garbage collection, etc. Some of these could be money-making operations in private hands (think of the Statue of Liberty ferry operators), but many would never be without turning Yellowstone into an overdeveloped recreational park.

  14. bill. says

    I bought a septic tank just so I could hide my books in it. We'll see if the neighbors are still laughing after I slingshot mustard gas over the fence.

    Now I want a hot fudge sundae for lunch.

  15. Jo says

    Tyrone:

    As far as I know, welfare, foodstamps, social security checks are still going out. It's only a partial shutdown – nonessentials.

    Forbes:

    The government shutdown may be keeping National Parks closed and furloughed federal workers at home, but worse real-world effects could soon be felt by low-income mothers and their infants — already a marginalized group with unstable food supplies.

    On Tuesday, the government stopped funding the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC.

  16. marco73 says

    On NOAA.gov, the following message appears:

    "Due to the Federal Government shutdown, NOAA.gov and most associated web sites are unavailable. However, because the information this site provides is necessary to protect life and property, it will be updated and maintained during the Federal Government shutdown."

    Now it's still Atlantic hurricane season, and we've had significant storms in late September into October. Charleston SC was hit by Hugo Sept 21, 1989. And, oh yeah, Sandy hit the Northeast October 26, 2012. Pols have such short memories.

    Does the US public still have access to accurate hurricane information? Yes. If some NOAA guys are non-essential and taking days off, and something significant happens, will we be able to blame Obama just like Katrina was Bush's fault? No, since its the evil Republicans who shut down the government.

    There is no money sitting in some account to keep all of NOAA operational watching for hurricanes, but apparently there is money to hire goons to shut down the WWII monument. That is all you need to know about what your government thinks of you.

  17. TomB says

    Jo:

    It always helps to keep reading:

    The USDA estimates that most states will be able to continue WIC operations as usual for “a week or so” before running out of money. The department’s Food and Nutrition Service has a contingency fund of only $125 million available for this $7 billion annual appropriation.

    Nobody is suffering (not even the vets), this is just more theater.

  18. MrSpkr says

    In anticipation of Ken's using alternate means to get this and future missives to us, the loyal survivors, I just broke my office window and am in the process of retrofitting my office to serve as a carrier pigeon waypoint.

  19. Jonathan says

    I enjoy a good piece of satire as much as the next. That said, FWIW I have a number of relatives who work in furloughed positions – including one who is a reservist who works on helicopters for the TN National Guard – and they have been furloughed at great hardship to their families.

    So there is legitimate harm occurring by means of this foolish bit of theater.

  20. says

    Oh, I don't know if you should be so panicked yet. Some nice young gentlemen came to our door this morning and said there is some wonderful, safe, government sponsored free housing set up in secure compounds that we are more than welcome to shelter in while this blows over. They were established by FEMA so you just know they'll be comfortable. In fact, there isn't even a charge to stay there! All we have to do is let them stockpile our guns and we're in!

    And Clark, a word to the wise – forget the food, buy all the tinfoil. If you can't get into the camps you can shroud your house in it ;0)

  21. Jo says

    TomB: Did I say anyone was suffering? I was addressing a specific misstatement made by Tyrone. It always helps to not keep reading into.

  22. KR says

    In anticipation of Ken's using alternate means to get this and future missives to us, the loyal survivors, I just broke my office window and am in the process of retrofitting my office to serve as a carrier pigeon waypoint.

    Good idea. Should be easy to convert your network to IP-over-Avian.

  23. Shane says

    @Jonathan

    … reservist who works on helicopters for the TN National Guard – and they have been furloughed at great hardship to their families.

    Please explain to the readers how reservists have day jobs too. So said reservist is not without income, unless he or she was foolish enough to be a federal employee also.

  24. jackn says

    This trend will continue as long as the president is not white. I hope an afro american women is elected soon. Man, that would really piss them off. The white candy asses would probably vote for a civil war.

  25. says

    Re WWII memorial–It's a "memorial". I think it is a little less important than, say, getting people the aid they need to feed their kids. Just remember, if it weren't for whiny Republicans there would not have even been an opportunity to shut down the memorial.

  26. Mark says

    Sir,

    Carrier pigeon information transfer may fall under the patent (http://www.patents.com/us-5652573.html) Apparatus for the acquisition of events, in particular in carrier pigeon racing which a Texas Client will strongly defend. You may not transfer information to your computer or reader from the pigeon thusly:

    We claim:

    1. A System for the manipulation-resistant acquisition of identity information items (19) obtained in carrier pigeon racing, including means for the contactless remote reading-out of identification carriers located on the racing participants; including an intermediate memory storage for inductively receiving the identity information, said memory storage comprising a transportable interim memory storage (39) either connected to reading means (22) for the encoded receipt of the identity information (19) including arrival real-time information (27) for the operation of at least one interrogating antenna (17) or for transporting the items of information to evaluating means (43).

    It says nothing about using ponies.

  27. TomB says

    I was addressing a specific misstatement made by Tyrone.

    It wasn't a misstatement, "welfare, foodstamps, social security checks are still going out".

  28. TomB says

    Re WWII memorial–It's a "memorial". I think it is a little less important than, say, getting people the aid they need to feed their kids.

    Yes, much less important. So why the hell is the administration going to such great length to shut down things that are usually open 24/7, 365 days a year? It doesn't make any sense at all.

    Just remember, if it weren't for whiny Republicans there would not have even been an opportunity to shut down the memorial.

    "Whiny Republicans" "Shut the government down" in 95 (although it was HW Bush that was to blame in 90, go figure), and none of the memorials were shut down. What's the difference now?

  29. Chris F says

    Please explain to the readers how reservists have day jobs too. So said reservist is not without income, unless he or she was foolish enough to be a federal employee also.

    I actually know a couple people who work full time in the reserves. I'm not sure if they're considered service members exempt from being furloughed or not but I wouldn't be surprised either way.

  30. says

    @Darryl:

    Re WWII memorial–It's a "memorial". I think it is a little less important than, say, getting people the aid they need to feed their kids. Just remember, if it weren't for whiny Republicans there would not have even been an opportunity to shut down the memorial.

    This is a perfectly arguable point. But it raises the question: if memorials are less important, and feeding the poor more important, why is the administration devoting resources and attention to shutting down open-air open-24/7 memorials? Is there any reason other than political theater?

  31. Ryan says

    I know Clark's an anarchist, and I actually kind of like this piece (or what I assume will be a series of pieces) because it does legitimately point out that civilization doesn't end when government is scaled back.

    Where it falls down and fails is in a few areas:
    1. Only a tiny proportion of total government services in the United States are actually shut down (i.e. a proportion of federal services; state and local are unaffected).
    2. There is very real harm being done by – as Ken said – a bunch of dishonest political nitwits which will affect the greater economy and already potentially affects several million people (workers and their families; dependents on these services), to which all the shutdown-cheering is spectacularly insensitive.

    I understand Clark's point, but his smarminess comes at the expense of other people's livelihoods being affected. I wouldn't think the people who are currently affected by the shutdown would be cheering if Clark and his family suddenly were no longer getting paid or able to work because of politics antics, so I think it's pretty rotten of him to do it to them, whether he has ideological opposition to government or not.

    It's exactly what the Tea Party Republicans are guilty of – we want to make a political point, but we're perfectly happy to cause individuals serious economic hardship as collateral damage. That's irresponsible and wrong.

  32. says

    @MrSpkr

    In anticipation of Ken's using alternate means to get this and future missives to us

    Popehat is a group blog. Clark is writing the Shutdown Diaries.

    the loyal survivors, I just broke my office window and am in the process of retrofitting my office to serve as a carrier pigeon waypoint.

    There's an excellent faux infographic floating around the internet that shows four or so steps of post-civilizational breakdown in an office. It starts with, I think, smashing out windows, and ends with the space overgrown with jungle and employees wearing loincloths.

    My Google fu is weak and I can not find it. Anyone?

  33. says

    @Ryan:

    I understand Clark's point, but his smarminess comes at the expense of other people's livelihoods being affected.

    My smarminess is free; other people's lives are affected regardless.

    Frankly, I think it would be simply grand if government spending shrunk by 10% or so, back to the horrific levels of, oh, last year.

    But if you think that this is untenable, we can agree to disagree.

    Clark and his family suddenly were no longer getting paid or able to work because of politics antics, so I think it's pretty rotten of him to do it to them, whether he has ideological opposition to government or not.

    I consider 90+% of all government employees to be engaged in useless (at best) or destructive (at worst) activities, and if I had my way I would fire them all immediately and permanently and have them refund the taxpayers for all of the money they have consumed so far in their careers.

    I care as much about government employees thrown out of "work" as I do about mafia enforcers thrown out of work. I.e. I consider it a good thing.

    It's exactly what the Tea Party Republicans are guilty of – we want to make a political point, but we're perfectly happy to cause individuals serious economic hardship as collateral damage. That's irresponsible and wrong.

    No, no, no. I don't want to cause government employees serious economic harship as collateral damage. I want to do it as punishment.

  34. says

    @jackn

    This trend will continue as long as the president is not white. I hope an afro american women is elected soon. Man, that would really piss them off. The white candy asses would probably vote for a civil war.

    Speaking as a radical, I strongly rebuke you for that remark and ask you to retract it.

    I would never vote. #think_globally_act_locally

  35. TomB says

    It's exactly what the Tea Party Republicans are guilty of – we want to make a political point, but we're perfectly happy to cause individuals serious economic hardship as collateral damage. That's irresponsible and wrong.

    Why just the Republicans? Why are you exempting the president and democrats?

    Oh, and in every previous shutdown, federal employees got their back pay. So save the fake tears for the low-information voters. I was in DC for a few of these, and its all theater.

  36. TomB says

    No, no, no. I don't want to cause government employees serious economic harship as collateral damage. I want to do it as punishment.

    Ooooh. The birth of a new "snort my taint".

    (golf clap)

  37. Steven H. says

    @jackn:

    "This trend will continue as long as the president is not white."

    Which trend is that? Government shutdowns? First for this President, but there have been 15 or so others scattered across diverse Presidents (Ford (1), Carter (5), Reagan (8), Bush Sr (1), Clinton (3)). Note that eight of the shutdowns (including ALL of Carter's) were with Dem majorities in both house and Senate.

    Longest total shutdown for a single year, by the by, was 28 days in '77 (President Carter (D), Senate (D), House (D)).

  38. says

    I couldn't tell if you were at Petco so you could hoard food for you and Mrs Clark or if you're just a very principled pet owner. If it's the latter, why not just chop up the dead bodies for Rover and Fluffy and keep the Eukenuba for yourself and your wife? I share your love of the Mad Max franchise, but I think you might be limiting yourself here – if you use the Book of Eli as inspiration, you'll have a steady supply of meat for the foreseeable future – with the govt shut down, Michelle won't be able to finish curing the obesity epidemic so your food supply will be abundant for quite a while

  39. Ron Larson says

    "…The FCC has furloughed 98% of its employees…"
    My God! Think if the children. What if they witness a wardrobe malfunction and the see shadow of a nipple during an NFL halftime show? (Assuming they aren't too busy committing virtual mass murder in GTA V to even look up at the football game)

  40. steve says

    I do support call for one of the game console companies, call volume is up this week. I know what some of those furloughed people are up to – GTA V.

  41. Klover says

    Speaking of political theater, am I the only one who finds it amusing that Fox News is not even calling it a partial shutdown?

    They have switched to Slimdown.

    Call me crazy, but not a whole lot of faith in the "process" if we can't even agree on the meaning of the words we use.

  42. Ryan says

    @Clark

    That's a pretty callous attitude.. Your posts make for interesting thought-provocation, but then you devolve into statements like the above and it's just not even worth the time to argue about it with you further.

    @TomB

    It's a simple funding measures that has passed three government checks and a court challenge. The Republicans are being ornery because they lost; and instead of running on a platform to entirely repeal it and getting a mandate from voters to repeal it, they resort to trickery with the budget. The Democrats are not blameless, but IMHO the Republicans are the ones who bear responsibility for this.

    As for the back pay that's fine, but imagine this lasts a couple weeks – how well would your family fare without a pay cheque for a month? My wife and I have considerable savings, but two pay periods without income (regardless of back pay later) would hurt.

  43. JohnB says

    I'm guessing security. Even at open air national monuments/memorials I have noticed a lot of security. Less security + continuing to allow visitors could equal a tempting target. Imagine if they didn't shut them down and there was an attack.

  44. JohnB says

    So much for html. I was trying to quote: ""Whiny Republicans" "Shut the government down" in 95 (although it was HW Bush that was to blame in 90, go figure), and none of the memorials were shut down. What's the difference now?"

  45. says

    Ryan

    @Clark

    That's a pretty callous attitude.

    Well, I'm sorry. The mafia is a criminal organization, and they use force and threats of force to take money from people who don't want to give it to them. When people in the mafia are thrown out of –

    Oh. You were talking about my take on government employees getting paid vacations?

    Never mind.

    Your posts make for interesting thought-provocation, but then you devolve into statements like the above and it's just not even worth the time to argue about it with you further.

    "not even worth the time to argue about it". That's a clever phrase. How's that working out for you? Using clever phrases to not engage in debate?

  46. says

    @Annalee: One of my ex'es had trouble recognizing when I was being sarcastic. I told her:If my lips are moving, assume I'm being sarcastic.

    The same applies to Popehat, but without the lips. Or something like that.

    Anyway, on the topic at hand:
    There are roughly 4.4 million federal employees (http://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/data-analysis-documentation/federal-employment-reports/historical-tables/total-government-employment-since-1962/)

    800,000 have been furloughed.

    That's 18% of the federal work force.

    So, 82% of the government is deemed "essential". (And I would ask why, if something is not "Essential", it needs to be tax funded? "This is so important that everyone MUST pay!" is an argument that is not prima facie meritless if you actually look at humans and how they act, not at ideas about how they should act or might act. Anyone who ignores reality in favor of philosophy is an idiot or a communist, but I repeat myself. I've been convinced that the combination of free riders, tragedy of the commons, and basic human nature all combine to make some forms of taxation (whether its called that or not; a rose by any other name would still wilt and die and depress you) inevitable. (Still immoral, yes, but I've come to the conclusion all of human society requires immorality. It's just a matter of choosing how it will be spread around.))

    So one might argue that if 18% of the government doesn't do "essential" work, then, 18% of the government can't be justified.

    HOWEVER — I see no particular reason why I should believe the definition of "essential" and "non-essential" is made on any basis other than political expediency and back-room deals. If I said, "Meh, these 800K people are unessential, leave 'em fired!", I'd be demonstrating gross ignorance of how the world works. I have not done any of the research needed to determine how "essential" anyone is (and such a statement is inherently subjective, based on personal ideas about the "proper" function of government, combined with highly specialized knowledge about how many people are truly needed to perform a task. I have never done any kind of management work, thank the non-existent gods, and I couldn't begin to guess how to start figuring out how many people need to be working at the DOT to meet some arbitrary standard of efficiency while still performing whatever tasks might be deemed necessary. I'd be deeply suspicious of anyone who claimed to have such an answer, outside of someone who can prove they've spent months or years crunching numbers and can show their work.)

    That's why this is being dismissed as showmanship and political theater. Those being furloughed are arbitrary victims of their bosses, and anyone outside the government who suffers due to the lack of previously-existing services is a secondary victim.

    None of the budget debate has anything to with the ACA, or with any of the other issues raised. It is entirely about power games among a few hundred chimps hooting and gibbering at each other. The excuses used, the principles purported, are meaningless screeches and howls. It's entirely a contest to see who is dominant and who is submissive. It is about personal power and status contests among those who are already at the top of the heap, and that is ALL it is. To look at the budget fight as if the things allegedly being fought about were real ridiculous. This debate could be over Kirk vs. Picard, rather than over funding or not funding the ACA, and it would be played out the same way.

    In terms of what any of us down here on the bottom of the heap can do about it, well, to quote Ambassador Kosh:"The avalanche has already started. It is too late for the pebbles to vote."

  47. says

    @John – Read through the post and comments again and tell me with a straight face that @Clark is the one being a smug, smarmy ass in this thread. To borrow a phrase, No Blog Comment Criticizing Clark ever fed a starving child. I wonder how many starving children your 'concern' would feed?

    Remind me again what percentage of the government is shut down and which of the services you mentioned have stopped b/c of the shutdown? God knows that it's all or nothing… even if your premise was based on anything resembling a fact, couldn't the caring souls at hte govt defund things like aid to tryants, scale back on the drug war for a few days (instead of social services), scale back on farm subsidies and more things that I can mention? WIC isn't being cut or stopped, but if it was, it'd only be b/c politicians in power chose to cut social services at the expense of all sorts of other atrocious waste. And what kind of smarmy ass white scumbag would accept govt pay scales and generous benefits while poor people starve.

  48. Jonathan says

    @ Shane,

    Please explain to the readers how reservists have day jobs too. So said reservist is not without income, unless he or she was foolish enough to be a federal employee also.

    If it wasn't clear in my original post: My brother-in-law is a National Guard reservist who has a "day-job" maintaining TN National Guard helicopters. He and most of his co-workers have been furloughed.

    But it's great that your attitude is that a hard-working father of 4 is responsible for this situation because he was 'foolish' enough to accept work maintaining helicopters for the National Guard.

  49. TomB says

    Oh Christ-on-a-cracker.

    Ryan:

    Now you've gone from:

    There is very real harm being done…..

    to

    As for the back pay that's fine, but imagine this lasts a couple weeks –

    From actual bad thing happening to people to "imagining" something might happen.

    As I've been saying…..theater.

    And you're contributing.

    but IMHO the Republicans are the ones who bear responsibility for this.

    Why am I not surprised?

  50. ChicagoTom says

    I understand Clark's point, but his smarminess comes at the expense of other people's livelihoods being affected

    Of course it does. That's the standard libertarian position…"I got mine, Jack…everyone else can fuck off and die" — I believe that's the official LP slogan.

  51. TomB says

    Why are so many people posting like this is the first time the government has shut down?

    He and most of his co-workers have been furloughed.

    And he and his co-workers will get back pay for their vacation. So give it a rest.

  52. delurking says

    " they have been furloughed at great hardship to their families."

    There are ~260 working days in a year (though most people work fewer than that). So, people furloughed for 1-week lose 2% of their annual income. Of course, the income cut is pre-tax and the commuting expenses saved are post-tax, so the post-tax loss is less than 2%.

    Ryan wrote:
    "As for the back pay that's fine, but imagine this lasts a couple weeks – how well would your family fare without a pay cheque for a month? My wife and I have considerable savings, but two pay periods without income (regardless of back pay later) would hurt."

    OK, a month. Now it is a little over 8% of your annual income. Forgive me for being unimpressed with the hardship. If you get the back pay later, then you ended up with a month of paid vacation, and I am even less impressed.

  53. Jonathan says

    @ TomB,

    All arguments about the legitimacy of government aside, there is real harm being done. As I told Shane, my brother-in-law is a good man who works hard to care for his wife and 4 young children, and they live nearly paycheck to paycheck because raising a large young family is difficult. So missing even one paycheck will harm them – and the fear and uncertainty they are experiencing at this time counts as real harm as well, in my opinion.

    Maybe you share Clark's opinion that this family deserves their suffering because they dared to accept a paycheck from the government. But it is harm whether you believe it deserved or not.

  54. mud man says

    … reservist who works on helicopters for the TN National Guard

    They're going to NEED those helicopters when the food riots start. What are they thinking??

  55. ChicagoTom says

    Why just the Republicans? Why are you exempting the president and democrats?

    Because it's the GOP and ONLY the GOP who is taking hostages and making demands.

    Same reason sane people wouldn't criticize the US government for refusing to negotiate with terrorists….it only emboldens them.

    Essentially this whole fiasco boils down to the GOP being petulant and anti-democracy. Congress passed the PPACA (House and Senate — President signed it). It's the law of the land. The SCOTUS has upheld the law. The president was then re-elected by a pretty large margin, basically validating his agenda and his major legislative accomplishment.

    Since then, the house voted 42 times to revoke or defund the PPACA while fully knowing it's a non-starter in the Senate and would get vetoed by the President. (Political theater and red meat for their primary voters at it's finest)

    So instead of accepting reality, the house GOP has refused to fund the government unless the Senate and the President defund the PPACA.

    I fail to see where the Dems and the President are at fault. The GOP is acting like spoiled babies who when they can't get their way threaten to take their ball and go home. The only way to handle people like that is to say "good riddance".

    Both sides aren't doing, and acting like their is shared or equal amounts of blame is nothing but a false equivalence.

  56. Jonathan says

    @delurking,

    So what is the threshold of earnings loss that you consider legitimate harm?

    There is no denying that most of the coverage of this government shutdown amounts to political theater. My point is only that this political theater comes at a real cost to some families.

  57. ChicagoTom says

    That's a clever phrase. How's that working out for you? Using clever phrases to not engage in debate?

    Pot, meet kettle!

    Wow some people have absolutely no self-awareness.

  58. TomB says

    Maybe you share Clark's opinion that this family deserves their suffering because they dared to accept a paycheck from the government. But it is harm whether you believe it deserved or not.

    Why don't you loan him some money. He can pay you back when he gets his back pay.

    Don't you see you sob story isn't working. Your brother and his situation may or may not be real, but at least he has a job. I've been sending my brother money every month for the past 3 years to help him out after he lost his private sector job in this execrable "Obama recovery". And I ain't getting paid back.

    I do not want to hear it.

  59. ChicagoTom says

    And he and his co-workers will get back pay for their vacation. So give it a rest.

    That isnt guaranteed. Already members of the GOP caucus are talking about not voting for back pay. And even if they do get back pay — what about the potential fees and penalties for late payments and such when paychecks are delayed or salaries are temporarily cut.

    Maybe you should give it a rest

  60. felix says

    Why are so many people posting like this is the first time the government has shut down?

    Because many people have memories that only go back to the last iPhone release announcement?

  61. ChicagoTom says

    Don't you see you sob story isn't working. Your brother and his situation may or may not be real, but at least he has a job. I've been sending my brother money every month for the past 3 years to help him out after he lost his private sector job in this execrable "Obama recovery". And I ain't getting paid back.

    So because your loser brother cant pull himself up by his bootstraps and has to rely on your charity and has no skills an employer wants you want everyone else to suffer too?

    Bitter much??

  62. TomB says

    That isnt guaranteed. Already members of the GOP caucus are talking about not voting for back pay. And even if they do get back pay — what about the potential fees and penalties for late payments and such when paychecks are delayed or salaries are temporarily cut

    How is this even REMOTELY possible when we are now less than two days into the shutdown?

    Two. days.

    Come back and bitch in two weeks when the "hardships" might actually be real and not imagined.

    Maybe you should give it a rest

    Maybe you should give it a rest

    (Got 'em that time.)

  63. TomB says

    That isnt guaranteed. Already members of the GOP caucus are talking about not voting for back pay. And even if they do get back pay — what about the potential fees and penalties for late payments and such when paychecks are delayed or salaries are temporarily cut

    How is this even REMOTELY possible when we are now less than two days into the shutdown?

    Two. days.

    Come back and bitch in two weeks when the "hardships" might actually be real and not imagined.

    Maybe you should give it a rest

    Maybe you should give it a rest

    (Got 'em that time.)

  64. ChicagoTom says

    But it's great that your attitude is that a hard-working father of 4 is responsible for this situation because he was 'foolish' enough to accept work maintaining helicopters for the National Guard.

    Welcome to the modern GOP / Libertarian union.

    He's just bitter because he has chosen to support his deadbeat brother for years. So he wishes misery upon others and revels in it if and when it happens.

    Misery loves company after all.

  65. melK says

    Okay, now I've confused myself.

    I started from the premise of "the courts are shut down due to the government shutdown" and went from there to "flocks of idle lawyers, crowding out the fairways, being culled by the cannibals (them's good eatin', them lawyers)" to a fridge moment…

    A previous post said that a judge had accused the author of making up the government shutdown. … which would demolish my premise, in that court would have had to be in session. So is it that courts are "critical"?

  66. TomB says

    So because your loser brother cant pull himself up by his bootstraps and has to rely on your charity and has no skills an employer wants you want everyone else to suffer too?

    Bitter much??

    Derp.

  67. Jonathan says

    @TomB,

    I don't understand the hostility. I would send him money, but I'm personally stringing together part-time jobs as I look for permanent work during this execrable 'recovery'. I have no money to send.

    I absolutely understand that many other people have endured hardships and are enduring them still. What relevance does this have to do with whether my brother-in-law's situation is a real hardship or not?

    Anyway, it's not worth trading silly barbs over. I have no dog in this political fight (I don't keep political dogs.) but I still find the situation atrocious, and think it should be deeply embarrassing to our "representatives".

  68. George William Herbert says

    I know a Craigslist employee. They will be available by Carrier Pigeon if need be. Stop.

  69. says

    @ChicagoTom

    Why just the Republicans? Why are you exempting the president and democrats?

    Because it's the GOP and ONLY the GOP who is taking hostages and making demands.

    I thought Obama and the Senate Dems were the ones who are refusing to vote on and then sign a bill that would fund the government…because it would fund everything except Obamacare.

    Am I wrong?

    Or does Obama's refusal to sign a funding bill based on a litmus test not equate to "making demands" ?

    Same reason sane people wouldn't criticize the US government for refusing to negotiate with terrorists….it only emboldens them.

    So we want a bold Senate and President, but not a bold House?

  70. says

    @ChicagoTom

    How's that working out for you? Using clever phrases to not engage in debate?

    Pot, meet kettle!

    Wow some people have absolutely no self-awareness.

    But I am engaging in debate. I respond to every question and comment directed at me. Ryan is the one who said "it's just not even worth the time to argue about it with you further." So what, exactly, should I be self-aware about? The fact that Ryan refuses to argue, and I do argue, and therefore we're exactly alike, or something?

  71. ChicagoTom says

    Talk to ChicagoTom.

    Bwaaaaaaaaahahahahaha.

    Im hostile for responding to your clap-trap in the same manner and tone you respond to others, but *I* am the hostile one???

    Another person with self-awareness problems.

  72. ChicagoTom says

    But I am engaging in debate.

    If making sarcastic remarks and and while mostly ignoring/not addressing the substance of their argument is "engaging in debate" then sure you are Clark. Whatever you say buddy.

  73. John says

    Congratulations, Clark, on not being one of the children currently being refused access to trials of new cancer drugs. Or being employed by the government in any capacity. Or being a military veteran. Or receiving any benefits. Or wanting to visit a national park or museum. Or living in DC. And congratulations for not realising that for the first few weeks of the shutdown, there's still enough money to run the "essential services".

    But please, tell us more about how this shutdown isn't affecting anyone so dis here gub'mint can't be doing anything useful and we should get rid of it.

  74. I was Anonymous says

    I read Dies the Fire, and though that it was swords that they made from leaf springs.

  75. says

    @ChicagoTom

    mostly ignoring/not addressing the substance of their argument is "engaging in debate" then sure you are Clark. Whatever you say buddy.

    OK. I promise to deliver at least a 1-paragraph response to each thing that you call out as a key point.

    Please go ahead and make a list, post it here, and I'll rebut.

  76. ChicagoTom says

    Ryan is the one who said "it's just not even worth the time to argue about it with you further. So what, exactly, should I be self-aware about? The fact that Ryan refuses to argue, and I do argue, and therefore we're exactly alike, or something?

    You seem to be missing my point (maybe intentionally) — your standard M.O. in the comments is to make sarcastic comments. It isn't about your one specific response to ryan's comment. So it's pretty rich to see you of all people tell someone else "That's a clever phrase. How's that working out for you? Using clever phrases to not engage in debate?"

  77. says

    @John:

    Congratulations, Clark, on not being one of the children currently being refused access to trials of new cancer drugs.

    I'm confused.

    Three questions:

    1) How many children have been refused access to cancer drugs over the last 48 hours? (footnotes, please)

    2) Was the government shut down, or were the pharm companies?

    3) If, re question #2, the pharm companies are still in business, what is preventing them from giving these life saving drugs to patients? Are they legally allowed to do it, but they're being spiteful because they want children to die?

  78. says

    Ok, who thinks that funding Obamacare is a ministerial act that the House is obligated to do no matter what?

    Go stand in the corner; here's your hat, watch the point. I hope you keep some room for the President.

    The House funds whatever they want to. They can zero out any account they want to. This is why you don't ram major changes down the throats of over half the country just because you have a temporary majority in both houses of Congress. Eventually you're going to lose it and if the majority of the country is still against that particular program, it's in deep trouble. Obamacare is in deep trouble.

    Obama and his party thought that the inherent awesomeness of free stuff would shine through and a majority would support the program by this point. They lost that bet and now they have to live with the consequences which is that they're going to have to negotiate this into a form that at least splits off a certain percent of the GOP so that they can get this funded. But the Dems are running a no negotiations strategy and calling the other side criminals and terrorists.

    This is insane on their part.

  79. says

    @ChicagoTom

    Ryan is the one who said "it's just not even worth the time to argue about it with you further.

    your standard M.O. in the comments is to make sarcastic comments.

    I thought my standard MO was 90% rebuttal and 10% snark.

    Which is, actually, much less snark than other bloggers here, like Ken, engage in.

    Anyway, you objected because I don't rebut enough for you. I made my offer to respond to any questions. Please give me your questions.

  80. says

    I've invited the State Department's Diplomat-in-Residence to speak to my political science students about foreign service careers, but she can't make travel plans right now due to the shut down.

    Seriously.

    This is a crisis, folks!
    (Not seriously.)

  81. Jonathan says

    @ TomB,

    What could ChicagoTom possibly have to do with your hostility towards my anecdote of real harm?

    You don't have to accept that there are individuals and families experiencing harm as a result of this furlough, but let's not engage in silly games and evasions. If you're going to violate Wheaton's Law at least be a man about it.

  82. ChicagoTom says

    I thought Obama and the Senate Dems were the ones who are refusing to vote on and then sign a bill that would fund the government…because it would fund everything except Obamacare.

    Am I wrong?

    I believe you are wrong. The Senate has voted down those bills when the house has sent them to the Senate. And then the Senate voted their own clean bills to fund the government and the house wouldn't pass it.

    The house had also previously refused for weeks to name committee members to to negotiate in committee to try and resolve the issues and differences.

    The reality is, PPACA is the law of the land. One side is bitter that it can't overturn it so it taking hostages.

    Furthermore, looking at whats going on as a whole, the GOP keeps trying to take hostages to force the majority in the senate to succumb to their will. Already the GOP is talking about not raising the debt ceiling (and defaulting on paying out bills like deadbeats) if Obamacare is defunded. The debt ceiling doesn;t affect spending. The spending has already passed the congress…it's about paying for the goodies congress has bought already.

    Or does Obama's refusal to sign a funding bill based on a litmus test not equate to "making demands" ?

    Anyone can make demands…one side is taking hostages and threatening to blow everything up if they don't get their way. The fact that you seem to ignore this distinction or minimize it is a bit frustration.

    Why should funding the government in it's entirety be contingent upon de-funding the PPACA? How is that a reasonable position? How is that not "give us what we want or everyone gets it" ??

  83. delurking says

    Jonathan wrote:
    "So what is the threshold of earnings loss that you consider legitimate harm?"

    It was specifically "great hardship", and "hurt", that I was responding to. But, to answer the spirit of the question:

    It has to be something that is larger in magnitude than stuff that happens to people every day. Lots of people have unforeseen expenses like roof leaks, car repairs, car accidents, injuries, illnesses, etc. that cost them more than these furloughs will cost the gov't employees. If a furloughed gov't employee missed the same number of days of work that a typical parent missed because their kids had to stay home from school, the furlough doesn't qualify as a major hardship, it is just another hardship comparable to many of life's hardships.

  84. TomB says

    You don't have to accept that there are individuals and families experiencing harm as a result of this furlough, but let's not engage in silly games and evasions. If you're going to violate Wheaton's Law at least be a man about it.

    The point is that at the present time there is nobody "experiencing harm as a result of this furlough".

    Your argumentum ad misericordiam is falling flat. Although it is an important part of shutdown theater.

    And I included CT because any pity you may have been able to build up for the future sufferings of you B-in-L were drained when he called my unemployed brother (suffering, no doubt) a "loser".

    You know, self awareness.

  85. ChicagoTom says

    I thought my standard MO was 90% rebuttal and 10% snark.

    I beleive you should check your math.

  86. says

    @Ken–Probably not any reason other than that. The point is, however, that you are now blaming the person who reacted and their reaction rather than placing the blame where it squarely belongs. We would not be having this discussion had Republicans acted like grown ups. Your question is, "Given that Republicans are acting like children, is there any reason why the President did X rather than Y?" Maybe it was politics, maybe it was something else. I simply don't see it as that important.

  87. ChicagoTom says

    And I included CT because any pity you may have been able to build up for the future sufferings of you B-in-L were drained when he called my unemployed brother (suffering, no doubt) a "loser".

    So because I am a grade-A asshole in your opinion, you wont have pity for someone else completely unrelated to me when they suffer??? That's some genius logic.

    Also, let me say I find this to be pretty unbelievable. I whole-heartedly believe that, even without my saying anything about your bro, the amount of pity you would have for someone being furloughed from their government job when they face real hardships however you define them are between none and none. Based on the way tone and tenor of your original response to Jonathan.

  88. NI says

    I don't know how many federal employees there are, but to use a round number let's say it's a million. Now, suppose Clark gets his wish and 90% of them get fired tomorrow. That's 900,000 people that have just been added to the unemployment rolls, with the resulting collateral damage to the economy. You don't have to love big government to understand that that would be an economic catastrophe, and not just for them; the ripple effect damage would be felt for years.

    At this point our economy has so many moving parts, and there are so many iterations of the law of unintended consequences, that nobody of any political persuasion will be able to make any kind of substantive changes without risking the entire economy going into the toilet. That's reality. And as much as I admire Clark's writing style, I don't think he's thought this one through.

  89. ChicagoTom says

    @Darryl : Well said. It's almost as if people are being willfully o ignorant to the way the GOP-controlled house has acted for the past 2-3 years.

    Also, how else do you let people know what the repercussions of a gov't shutdown are if you don't actually make people feel those repercussions.

    Otherwise everyone walks around with attitudes like Clark's — "If it doesn't affect me its not really a problem"

  90. Jonathan says

    @ TomB,

    Your argumentum ad misericordiam is falling flat. Although it is an important part of shutdown theater.

    I'm not trying to make an argument. I am claiming that some members of my family are experiencing what they describe as harm – both financial and emotional – during this furlough. I suppose you could call that an argument, but in my mind it's just a matter of accepting their description or not. As I don't feel better equipped than they are to assess their situation, I accept their description. YMMV.

    Moving along from personal anecdotes. I assume you accept that there is a hypothetical duration "x" of the furlough at which point the furloughed individuals could be correctly said to be harmed? As you describe this shutdown as 'theater' I assume you also accept that there is no real good to be achieved by it? If so, why do you nitpick at the value of "x"? IOW, if people can really by harmed by this furlough, and the furlough is mere theater that is both avoidable and pointless, why does it matter so much to you if I or anyone has assigned the correct value to x?

  91. MrA says

    @NI

    At this point our economy has so many moving parts, and there are so many iterations of the law of unintended consequences, that nobody of any political persuasion will be able to make any kind of substantive changes without risking the entire economy going into the toilet

    Substantive changes to the economy? Like Obamacare?

  92. TomB says

    Moving along from personal anecdotes. I assume you accept that there is a hypothetical duration "x" of the furlough at which point the furloughed individuals could be correctly said to be harmed?

    Yes. And "x" has not been reached yet. Your allegations of "harm" that people are suffering right now are completely specious.

  93. Andyjunction says

    I have to wonder – if the government shut down is such a harmless nothing burger with no meaningful negative effects on every day people, why do House Republicans think it gives them any kind of leverage?

  94. ChicagoTom says

    Anyway, you objected because I don't rebut enough for you. I made my offer to respond to any questions. Please give me your questions.

    To be clear Clark, I am not pining for more boilerplate simple-minded Libertarian substance. One can only tolerate the "taxation is theft", "all regulation is bad", "corporate tyranny/malfeasance is great", "markets solve everything", "anyone getting government monies are moochers and parasites", etc, etc etc, ideas so much.

    My objection is NOT that you don't rebut enough for me. My objection is to you criticizing someone else for too much snark and not enough substance.

    It's not your M.O. that I object to, its your hypocrisy

  95. Jonathan says

    @ TomB,

    Why bother responding only to ignore the thrust of my comment and the questions I directed towards you?

  96. ShelbyC says

    That isnt guaranteed. Already members of the GOP caucus are talking about not voting for back pay. And even if they do get back pay — what about the potential fees and penalties for late payments and such when paychecks are delayed or salaries are temporarily cut.

    They can dip into their savings accounts to pay bills. That's what it's for, right? None of us is guaranteed employment, right? All of us can have unexpected employment problems, and plan for these contingencies. As for back pay, why should they get it? They didn't work, right?

  97. A. Nagy says

    It has consequences but they are vastly overstated and most of the immediate ones are theather, if they actually stick for a decent period of time then the consequences could become more *real*.

  98. TomB says

    Why bother responding only to ignore the thrust of my comment and the questions I directed towards you?

    Because the rest of your questions assume that "x" is occurring now and people are being harmed. As I said, they aren't.

    And to "no real good", see my previous post.

  99. felix says

    @Andyjunction
    I have to wonder – if the government shut down is such a harmless nothing burger with no meaningful negative effects on every day people, why do House Republicans think it gives them any kind of leverage?

    Because the democrats says are making noises that it matters to them. After all you get leverage when something matters more to the other guys than to you.

    Considering how the Senate democrats are acting though, I don't think it matters that much to them.

  100. jtf says

    If the objective of this post and the subsequent comments are to show how inconsequential a government shutdown is, then it's failed. Shit happens to people, but rarely does it happen as an unforced error. The sight of a bunch of people crowing about how the government shutdown doesn't mean anything when we're only two days is more annoying than the overweening Wiccanism in Dies the Fire.

  101. ChicagoTom says

    1) How many children have been refused access to cancer drugs over the last 48 hours? (footnotes, please)

    I don't get this line of reasoning.

    So because these things havent happened yet, the fact that are definitely going to happen if we dont fund the government isnt really an issue??

    Will it only be an issue once people do truly suffer?

    I mean, at my job, if we see something that will definitely fail if we dont fix it, we don't ignore it and only deal with it after it fail and causes problems. We fix it before it fails.

    How long, in your mind should the shutdown go on for before you consider it a problem? How much needless suffering should occur before you deem it something to be resolved rather than a nothing burger??

  102. Devil's Advocate says

    @TomB:

    To bring the discussion back around to the original point, anyone doubting the shutdown is anything other than theater, I give you the "shutdown" WW1 memorial:

    https://twitter.com/McCormackJohn/status/385388192465031168/photo/1

    That's not the WWI memorial. It's not on the national mall. I've never seen any actual human near that memorial. Other than that, that memorial and the WWII are totally equivalent and so it's a crying shame that they weren't treated equally.

  103. Andyjunction says

    What should I ask Obama, Tom? Not following you. It would be neat if I could do that but here I am in the comments section at Popehat and I'm asking you guys instead. Republicans clearly believe shutting down the government gives them leverage in their crusade to end Obamacare. If the impact of the shut down is so completely negligible why do you suppose they think it will move any votes?

  104. ChicagoTom says

    They can dip into their savings accounts to pay bills. That's what it's for, right? None of us is guaranteed employment, right? All of us can have unexpected employment problems, and plan for these contingencies. As for back pay, why should they get it? They didn't work, right?

    No one lives paycheck to paycheck. Everyone has a robust savings. Please tell me more about your I got mine and everyone else can go to hell political philosophy. Maybe you have newsletter I can subscribe to ???

    Yes many people face financial hardship and involuntary job loss for no cause. And it's tragic. And it's even more tragic when there is absolutely no legitimate reason for it.

    Personally, I believe they should get back because they were forced into it because of a political pissing match.

  105. felix says

    For the people who keep harping about the harm being done to the federal employees on this, the second day of furlough, the paychecks came out yesterday (they get sent to the banks on Tuesday, or is it Monday and funds available on Tuesday?) so can we dial down the hysteria a little bit? If you are in financial troubles the day after payday, it wasn't because of the shutdown (partial shutdown? slimdown? part of the government go into the penalty box?).

  106. Luke says

    @ChicagoTom

    1) How many children have been refused access to cancer drugs over the last 48 hours? (footnotes, please)

    I don't get this line of reasoning.

    So because these things havent happened yet, the fact that are definitely going to happen if we dont fund the government isnt really an issue??

    From John, emphasis added.

    Congratulations, Clark, on not being one of the children currently being refused access to trials of new cancer drugs.

  107. Andyjunction says

    There's hysteria? I haven't seen anything I'd classify as hysteria besides the satirical version. This post for example. I've had MSNBC on all morning so you'd think they'd have had some there for sure.

  108. StephenH says

    No one lives paycheck to paycheck. Everyone has a robust savings.

    So is your position that 800,000 people have been unavoidably living paycheck to paycheck, or that the first such person who is affected by this shutdown makes the shutdown indefensible? Of course, this is a false choice fallacy, so please, state clearly what number of people makes the shutdown indefensible, and provide at least token evidence that said number of people have, in fact, been affected.

  109. ChicagoTom says

    @Luke,

    I'm not sure what you are trying to prove with that blockquote. I am fully aware of what comment clark was responding to.

    My whole point was that the logic behind the response: no one has been denied yet doesn't seem like a reasonable reason to act like the shutdown isn't a problem. The point stands…whether they are currently being denied or will be denied in 5 days, what you posted doesn't really address my query. All it does is play pedantic games.

    If something is bad is going to happen fore sure unless we prevent it, why is it not a problem until the bad thing happens??

  110. Luke says

    @ChicagoTom –

    So when someone asserts that something is currently happening, someone else asking for more information on where this is currently happening is a pedantic game? And you can't understand why they would ask for this information?

    Arguing that problems could occur in the future is very different than claiming that those same problems are happening currently.

  111. Andyjunction says

    It's like planning to turn lights on when it gets dark because you assume the sun will set.

  112. says

    @ChicagoTom – You really like whipping out the "I got mine and everybody else can go to hell" line. Is it that hard to understand that many are happy to help people out who are in a bad spot, but resent being forced to do it? Is it that hard to understand that there's so much waste in government (and graft) that people resent being forced to fund such waste? I'd say it's the statists and bureaucrats that have a policy of "I got mine and to hell with everyone else" philosophy. Let's ask some of your favorite politicians to reduce their staffs by 15% and use the savings to directly fund child health care payments – see how well that goes over. Let's try to replace govt union workers with private sector employees taking the difference in pay and directly funding aid for poor families, see how well that goes over. Offer to take the money given to NPR/PBS/NEA and give it directly to hire tutors for kids in failing schools and see how well that goes over. Are congressional staffers, A Prairie Home Companion, the SIEU and farm subsidies really more important than poor disadvantaged children? If one's concern and generosity is based on using someone else's money , one doesn't have a lot of room to call other people selfish.

  113. Rick C says

    George William Herbert

    I know a Craigslist employee. They will be available by Carrier Pigeon if need be. Stop.

    How are these pigeons strong enough to carry telegraph equipment?

  114. northern_rebellion says

    Shutdown day 2. Listening to Rush's Bastille Day, followed by Free Will. All is well…

  115. felix says

    There's hysteria? I haven't seen anything I'd classify as hysteria besides the satirical version. This post for example. I've had MSNBC on all morning so you'd think they'd have had some there for sure.

    I don't watch much tv so can' tell what is normal, didn't even really bother paying much attention to what channel it was I saw it but pretty sure it was a talk show and the intro to a cooking segment was something along the lines of "this bean recipe is cheap and something the people on furlough could appreciate" or something like that. Maybe I misunderstood, I only heard the intro. The only reason I know it was for a cooking segment was the woman talking identified it as such.

    In any case I was referring more to some of the posts on this thread. Maybe my criteria for what is and what is not hysteria is off a little bit. After all I thought Spock looked a little wide-eyed and panicky in some of the TOS episodes.

  116. ShelbyC says

    Yes many people face financial hardship and involuntary job loss for no cause. And it's tragic.

    No, it's not tragic, it's a part of life. It's a part of living in an economy that includes risk. Of course, many parts of life can be tragic if you don't take the necessary steps to prepare for them.

  117. Andyjunction says

    Of course, many parts of life can be tragic if you don't take the necessary steps to prepare for them.

    How not to prepare for life tragedies, Step 1: Vote for political representatives who tell you they despise government.

  118. StephenH says

    Step 1: Vote for political representatives who tell you they despise government.

    Step 2: Vote for political representatives who tell you they think the government can solve your problem.

  119. Ryan says

    @Clark

    "not even worth the time to argue about it". That's a clever phrase. How's that working out for you? Using clever phrases to not engage in debate?

    But you weren't debating. You were throwing around ideological assertions about your position. And I have no desire to argue a war of anecdotal news articles about how government is evil with you. If you intend to actually debate then I will happily engage, but asserting that government workers are on par with the mafia is so far out in your ideological view of the world that it is not worth actually engaging. I thought about delving into the fact that the NIH hospital which is a pediatric cancer research and treatment center of last resorted is forced to turn away patients, but since all the people who work there are part of the evil government mafia I figured there wasn't a great deal of point. I'll keep watching the comments in case you decide to argue facts instead of your ideology.

    @TomB

    From actual bad thing happening to people to "imagining" something might happen.

    See NIH hospital comment.

    Why am I not surprised?

    I am constantly amazed by the ability of Americans who hold one ideological/political position to infer that anyone who argues against them holds the opposite.

    I blame the Republicans because they turned a simple authorization into a political fight that was lost before it started. I don't support the Democrats, mostly because I don't live, work, or spend all that much time in the United States nor am I a US citizen. I have an outside perspective on the whol matter, and from this outside perspective, your entire country's governance looks ludicrous to the international community right now because you have two massive ideological encampments that seem to be entirely focused on making sure your political system is as dysfunctional as conceptually possible.

  120. says

    @Clark, why the desire to punish rank-and-file government employees?

    Do you think that *everyone* deserves to be punished for their own complicit participation (buying produce grown on federally subsidized farms, paying taxes, etc…) in the state's (at the risk of putting words in your mouth) illegitimate excesses?

    Or, do you regard taking a government job as somehow essentially different from those other (guiltless?) acts of complicit participation in the state's apparatus? (*I* thought that way for a long time, making the distinction between "voluntary" and "coerced" behavior on my part.)

  121. says

    @IO  – Generally you can use http://www.popehat.com/author/clark/feed syntax, but the syndication here is through Feedburner which covers the whole site. If you wanted to read just Clark's post, you could subscribe to just Effluvia and you'd come close with a few Ken posts for good measure.  Ken uses Effluvia but generally posts with a different tag set.  Generally, Ken and Clark have all the volume so I'm guessing you're asking b/c you'd prefer not to read posts from one or the other – if that's the case, you're best bet is to just ignore the ones you don't like (or take my unsolicited advice and read everyone's posts, you'll be better for it ;-) )

  122. says

    ChicagoTom

    If something is bad is going to happen fore sure unless we prevent it, why is it not a problem until the bad thing happens??

    I'm not so sure Clark thinks that whatever might happen is actually bad.

  123. Ryan says

    @IO

    Whether you disagree with a blogger on Popehat or not, all of them – yes, even Clark's =) – are well worth reading. Better to read well-written content you disagree with than content that makes you nod the whole way through – you learn far more (about yourself and other people) from the former.

  124. ChicagoTom says

    So is your position that 800,000 people have been unavoidably living paycheck to paycheck, or that the first such person who is affected by this shutdown makes the shutdown indefensible? Of course, this is a false choice fallacy, so please, state clearly what number of people makes the shutdown indefensible, and provide at least token evidence that said number of people have, in fact, been affected.

    The shutdown is indefensible on it's own regardless of the amount of pain caused. The potential pain it may cause if it continues is an objectively bad thing and should be avoided.

    The people talking about how it its no big deal because it hasn't affected them or hasnt caused any real damages yet maybe should be the ones to answer the question of when it exactly, if ever, becomes a big deal rather than telling us how they think the affects should be mitigated or chiding those who will be affected for not making "proper choices" or to defend themselves from the potential impact.

    And if your answer is NEVER, well then the whole "well no ones feeling the effects yet" is rather disingenuous….since even if the effects were being felt, that wouldn't make a difference to those people.

  125. Ryan says

    @Darryl

    I'm not so sure Clark thinks that whatever might happen is actually bad.

    Oh, I think Clark has made it abundantly clear he doesn't care one whit about the consequences.

    Interestingly, a couple international news publications are quoting that the shutdown in 1995 and 1996 cost US taxpayers $1.4 billion-with-a-b. You would think even Clark would recognize that's quite bad for those living in the US economy.

  126. says

    Of course, the entire purpose of being in government is to govern, NOT to shut the government down. That is the opposite of governing (which I understand Clark would prefer).

  127. ChicagoTom says

    I'm not so sure Clark thinks that whatever might happen is actually bad.

    Darryl I know that and Im pretty sure that Clark and many people who believe the same things he does also believe that the only outcome of a shutdown is a good one…but then anyone who beleives that probably shouldn't be arguing that it isnt a big deal because no one has faced the consequences yet.

  128. says

    The irony here is that the Petco didn't collapse on Clark because it was (in all likelihood) constructed in accordance with government-mandated codes, rules, site plan, etc.

  129. ChicagoTom says

    You really like whipping out the "I got mine and everybody else can go to hell" line. Is it that hard to understand that many are happy to help people out who are in a bad spot, but resent being forced to do it?

    Im not whipping it out…im pointing it out when people put forth that sentiment.

    Is it really that hard to believe that many libertarians whole heartedly subscribe to the "i got mine" philosophy??

    Furthermore, in the context of a government shutdown I don't see the forced voluntary vs involuntary charity as even relevant.

    When people say things like "well they should have planned for being laid off for no reason", there is quite a bit of assuming that these people could have made different choices but chose not to. I don't pretend to know everyone else's situations, but I also have the good sense not to assume that just because I was able to be in a situation where I could withstand a loss of pay for a while that everyone can be able to do it the same as me.

  130. Steven H. says

    @Ryan:

    "Interestingly, a couple international news publications are quoting that the shutdown in 1995 and 1996 cost US taxpayers $1.4 billion-with-a-b. You would think even Clark would recognize that's quite bad for those living in the US economy."

    Hmm, $1.4B. That's pretty close to $5 per taxpayer. I can see how that might be "quite bad for those living in the US economy" – I might have to forego a BigMac ONCE this year to pay my fair share….

  131. ChicagoTom says

    Arguing that problems could occur in the future is very different than claiming that those same problems are happening currently.

    Which is differnet from arguing that they WILL OCCUR if the shutdown doesnt end. Which is what I am arguing.

    We aren't talking about probability. The odds of many of these bad things happening is 100% if the shutdown doesnt end. There is no debate about what will happen.

  132. Ryan says

    @Steven H.

    Math failure. There may be 300+ million people in the US, but not all of them are taxpayers. Moreover, that's the hit to the economy, not a bill you get to pay out of pocket (if only that were so).

    Legitimate question to anyone, since my Google-fu has not found it: Do Congressional reps still receive their salaries during the shutdown? Because an excellent way of making sure ideological temper tantrums don't hold taxpayers and gov employees hostage would be to dock Congressional representatives two days pay for every day government employees are unable to report to work and be compensated for it during the shutdown.

  133. Ahkbar says

    @Ryan

    Yes, all congressional reps will still receive their salaries during the shutdown.

    If I understand it correctly, the 27th amendment would prevent any proposed law from stripping them of pay (involuntarily of course).

  134. StephenH says

    The shutdown is indefensible on it's own regardless of the amount of pain caused. The potential pain it may cause if it continues is an objectively bad thing and should be avoided.

    That's an interesting perspective. Since I like to find my own middle ground by way of examining extremes, I would be inclined to liken this to "my house will collapse from lack of maintenance if nobody lives in it long enough, therefore I cannot leave my house to get a coffee." I contrast this against "my house won't collapse tomorrow, so why do anything today?"

    I don't believe the nation or the world are in such peril that a few days of U.S. government shutdown are worth taking notice. Sure, the deadlock has to be resolved eventually, or objectively bad things will happen to people who don't deserve those bad things to happen, or objectively good things will not happen to people who deserve those good things at least as much as anyone else. This timeframe is "weeks", though, not "hours." Or, to the extent that it becomes "hours", I believe it's not because of the shutdown itself as much as objectively evil men indulging in Washington Memorial Syndrome to make the shutdown worse than it needs to be.

  135. Tarrou says

    My view, the people most frantic are the ones without any facts to back it up. Back in 1999, the people shrieking about Y2K ending western civilization, this year with Syria. If something MUST BE DONE NOW OR TEH APOCALYPZES! You can be pretty sure they have nothing. I've lived through a dozen government shutdowns. I'm not sure this will get the Republicans what they want, it seems counterproductive to me, but at the same time, I don't recall mass starvation in the '90s. And I'm predisposed to be happy when there is less government, so I'll take this. Happy no-government day, everyone! Let's dissolve civilization as we know it!

  136. Tarrou says

    "We have to act now!" always carries the subtext: "before people find our we're full of shit!"

  137. Pete says

    I understand Clark's point, but his smarminess comes at the expense of other people's livelihoods being affected. I wouldn't think the people who are currently affected by the shutdown would be cheering if Clark and his family suddenly were no longer getting paid or able to work because of politics antics, so I think it's pretty rotten of him to do it to them, whether he has ideological opposition to government or not.

    Speak for yourself. My wife and I were BOTH furloughed yesterday, and we are not at all offended by these posts. To the contrary, let me state for the record that we are cheering Clark on. And if anyone can spare a speargun, please let me know.

  138. Sean says

    You know your post-apocalyptic literature. Got any obscure suggestions for me? I'm pretty well-versed, but I teach a class on it so I feel compelled to read anything and everything. The Last Policeman was so so!

  139. Steven H. says

    @Ryan:

    "Math failure. There may be 300+ million people in the US, but not all of them are taxpayers. Moreover, that's the hit to the economy, not a bill you get to pay out of pocket (if only that were so)."

    No, we're not all taxpayers. If you use the actual number of taxpayers, then it would be TWO BigMacs per year each.

    As to the hit to the economy, then we're talking $1.4B out of $16.6T. So rather less than 1/10,000th of the US economy.

    In other words, it's trivial, either way.

  140. says

    @ChicagoTom – No, it's not hard to see that some libertarians have such sentiment but unless I'm completely misreading you – you were implying Clark was of that school and Libertarians in general. If you're making the case solely in the context of the shutdown, I'd agree the voluntary/involuntary nature of the issue isn't relevant. If your point was that nuanced and I missed it, bad on me. If that's the case though I don't understand why you singled out Libertarians (repeatedly). There's not a single person even approaching a Free Market Libertarian in Congress and Libertarians have nothing to do with this shutdown. There's a few people who use Libertarian rhetoric in congress but that's about as far as it goes (and let me be clear that I'm not talking about Anarchist/Libertarians, there's not even a mild libertarian in Congress). To the extent this really is solely about the govt shutdown though, I find such sentiment intellectually dishonest on the whole (perhaps you're not, and no offense is directed toward you in particular). There's so many job killing and financially stifling things progressives were absolutely fine with but there's a lot more yelling and screaming about the plight of poor govt workers. Show me one single Progressive sacred cow that maintstream progs would rally against if it was shown to kill jobs. Poor people suffer job loss b/c of certain environmental regulations (note I'm not arguing whether or not such reg are good or bad), the prog line is generally tough crap. A gun mfg closes down b/c of restrictions, oh well. I could go on. They'd counter that the good outweighs the bad and who knows, maybe their right. But you don't hear them running around berating the pols that enacted the policies b/c poor people suffered from them. You can call everyone that is for the shutdown an uncaring prick all you want – many are looking at it the same way poor people loving Progs do – yes some people will hurt but it's for the greater good. Looks like another case of principle that's based on who's ox is getting gored.

  141. random scientist guy says

    marco73,

    The NWS as a whole is considered "essential" as there may be threat to life and property if it does not operate. The NHC is part of NWS (which has a lot of parts). NOAA as a whole has a lot of parts and many are "non-essential". in my view it would be better to leave the main NOAA page up so you can get to the "essential" bits and just bring up the "closed" sign when you go the the "non-essential" parts. Of course, nobody asked me.

    Note that all of nasa.gov is down, but at least parts of JPL are up. Because of the use of a lot of satellite data (not all of it obviously weather related), it is presumed that even if the servers are not showing us the web goodness we all want today, that they are silently making the data available to the other systems that rely on them. Under federal law, services that are necessary to essential services are also to be kept running. Where that line gets drawn, and who makes that decision (can they grok what is necessary to what?), is vague at best.

  142. says

    3) If, re question #2, the pharm companies are still in business, what is preventing them from giving these life saving drugs to patients? Are they legally allowed to do it, but they're being spiteful because they want children to die?

    FYI: Clinical trials for evaluating drugs are frequently sponsored and/or funded by pharma companies (not always), but approval and overall conductance of a trial presently requires permission and involvement of the federal government, namely, the NIH.

  143. Aaron says

    Love the book references, and I liked the movie that pic is from :)

    Thanks for the updates and that you're still alive!

  144. George William Herbert says

    Rick C:

    How are these pigeons strong enough to carry telegraph equipment?

    You've heard of the Great Mambo Chicken experiment? …

  145. Shane says

    @Johnathan

    But it's great that your attitude is that a hard-working father of 4 is responsible for this situation because he was 'foolish' enough to accept work maintaining helicopters for the National Guard.

    And then he gets another job, working on helicopters for say Exxon or Conoco. Dragging him out as a political victim is no better than what is going on in the government right now.

    @Ken

    OMG that's the funkest shit. I am hooked, no more dangling blockquotes :)

  146. Devil's Advocate says

    I'm curious if those who claim that an average loss to the economy of $5 per person is no big deal would be similarly nonchalant about an equivalent tax increase.

  147. Jonathan says

    @Shane,

    And then he gets another job, working on helicopters for say Exxon or Conoco. Dragging him out as a political victim is no better than what is going on in the government right now.

    Listen, that's all well and good, but 'getting another job' is easier said than done in this economy, as others have pointed out.

    It was never my intention to make some grander point about the shutdown or government in general when I brought up my anecdote. It was only to note that, despite the overblown theater that is and surrounds this shutdown brouhaha, there are people who are being hurt by it and who stand to be hurt significantly worse if this stupidity continues for a long time. No, it's not world ending, but neither is it insignificant or beneath our notice.

  148. ChicagoTom says

    @bill:

    You put a lot in your post so I will try to respond to as much of it as I can. One request though…It would be easier to read/parse if you had some line breaks or paragraphs.

    No, it's not hard to see that some libertarians have such sentiment but unless I'm completely misreading you – you were implying Clark was of that school and Libertarians in general.

    I wouldn't say some, I would say most.

    While it's true that I do believe that the basic libertarian philosophy is some form of "I got mine…screw you" and a large majority of self identified libertarians hold that position, in this particular context I was referring to the flippant attitude towards the shutdown.

    When I read someone post things like "I was able to go about my business on day 1 of the shutdown so obviously the shutdown is no big whoop", as Clark did, then he obviously (to me) is of that school. I don't see this as being controversial since thats pretty much what he is implying with this post.

    As to some of the other points you made about libertarianism and it's defense thereof, I think you are not quite reading me right. I don't blame libertarians for the shutdown, I blame the GOP (I have even explicitly said so in the comments of this thread and defended why — so you might want to scroll back and take a look).

    What I criticized in some of my comments is the glibness of the libertarians (like for example, Clark) who think the shutdown is just hunky dory and who think its no big deal because, well, screw those people who rely on the government as an employer or the social safety net because they're all parasites anyway. I abhor the idea that because you are ideologically opposed to something ("Big Government") you can't be human give a shit about what those people, who, through no fault of their own, are going to have to deal with. Why?? Because they dared apply for a job opening that the government posted?? How long will the shutdown go on for — how long will their furloughs be? Who cares man — i can go to petco and buy my dog food so everything A-OK!!!

    I also criticize the idea that it's not a big deal because no one has been denied anything yet ( no kids with cancer have been turned away from NHS YET!!!! — but they will if the shutdown goes on for a week WHEEEE!!). As if what will definitely happen if nothing changes is nothing to worry about until it happens and people actually suffer. Because unless the suffering does happen, rather than will happen in a few days or a week — everything is hunky dory.

    As to the rest of your post about job killing etc. I really don't want to argue about whether or not progressives or libertarians or conservatives care or dont care because that's not the point of this post. I could argue that being anti-stimulus during a recession/depression and opposing extending unemployment benefits when the unemployment rate went up and stayed there for an extended period of time also kill jobs…but again…this isn't really the point of the comments on this post IMHO.

    But you don't hear them running around berating the pols that enacted the policies b/c poor people suffered from them. You can call everyone that is for the shutdown an uncaring prick all you want – many are looking at it the same way poor people loving Progs do – yes some people will hurt but it's for the greater good. Looks like another case of principle that's based on who's ox is getting gored.

    You don't see the democrats shutting down the government because they couldn't pass gun control legislation or any other item on progressive wish list — so I dont know why you are pretending there is some sort of equivalency. And if they did I would be calling them out too!

    I am explicitly calling out the hostage taking, petulance and childishness of the house GOP caucus who will happily burn down a village if they don't get to control it. That's not the way adults act.

    Enjoying the government shutdown is basically reveling in the misery (or potential misery) of others for ideological purposes. That has nothing to do with job creation or destruction. What exactly is the so-called greater good??

    This whole fiasco is about defunding Obamacare — and preventing millions of americans from getting affordable health insurance — because the GOP is shitting their pants at the prospect that it will work and actually make things better for millions of Americans. Letting millions go without so that the GOP brand is protected is absolutely not the greater good.

  149. Shane says

    @Jonathan

    … there are people who are being hurt by it and who stand to be hurt significantly worse if this stupidity continues for a long time.

    And what about the people being hurt because of the political theater, are we going to name those people too?

    Change hurts and when too many people are employed by the U.S.'s largest employer and that employer starts to lay off people are we going to ignore the suffering of all the other employees accept the largest employers employees. Your plea falls on deaf ears.

  150. ChicagoTom says

    Damnit!! They're, not their!!

    I wish there was an edit button! :)

    Oh smack! There is.

    Damn David I can't keep up with you today!!

  151. Shane says

    @ChicagoTom

    All of this is the fallacy of the broken glass. We see the government workers being sent home, their stories on the news, the stories of their hardship. What we don't see is that $500 every year that many others lose to pay their government salaries. We have no sympathy for the loss of the many only for the loss of a few.

    I am callous to all of this too because no one wants to even imagine that there are unseen consequences to having so many employed in the government.

  152. Sparky says

    You don't see the democrats shutting down the government because they couldn't pass gun control legislation or any other item on progressive wish list

    15 of the 17 shutdowns occurred when the Dems were in control of House and 8 occurred when the Dems were in control of BOTH. Five, incredibly, occurred when the Dems controlled the House, Senate and White House.

  153. says

    @Shane–As we have seen in over thirty years worth of experimenting with "trickle down" "economics", Bastiat's conclusion in the "fallacy of the broken glass" that the shopkeeper would have put his money to some other use, rather than hoarding it/putting it in a Swiss bank account/etc., is wrong.

  154. Steven H. says

    @Devil's Advocate:

    "I'm curious if those who claim that an average loss to the economy of $5 per person is no big deal would be similarly nonchalant about an equivalent tax increase."

    Not sure I'd notice a $5 tax increase, frankly. I mean, I paid more than that in sales tax for a grocery run tonight, and it wasn't even a big grocery run.

    Note, of course, that a $5 tax increase would only give the Feds an extra $1.4B or so to play with every year. They're spending over 2000x that annually now, so it amounts to, at best, no more than four hours funding.

  155. Matt says

    Can I just dive off topic to say that not only did I see The Postman in theaters back in the day, I enjoyed it enough to pick up the Blu-ray (and DVD, come to think of it)? (Also, I thought the movie version was better than the book.)

    Haven't seen (and don't plan to see) Waterworld, but I think due to that, Costner's Postman got more of a bum rap than it deserved.

  156. Sparky says

    I am explicitly calling out the hostage taking, petulance and childishness of the house GOP caucus who will happily burn down a village if they don't get to control it. That's not the way adults act.

    The House has either passed, or will pass, emergency spending bills to fund the open the National Parks, NIH, Vet affairs, DC funding, medical research, and paying the guard and reserve. Obama said he'll veto them and Harry Reid have said they won't pass them.

    https://twitter.com/GOPLeader/status/385451961123737601/photo/1

    BASH: But if you can help one child who has cancer, why wouldn’t you do it?

    REID: Why would we want to do that? I have 1,100 people at Nellis Air Force base that are sitting home. They have a few problems of their own. This is — to have someone of your intelligence to suggest such a thing maybe means you’re irresponsible and reckless –

    http://freebeacon.com/reid-why-would-we-want-to-help-one-kid-with-cancer/

    You were saying?

  157. Shane says

    @Darryl

    As we have seen in over thirty years worth of experimenting with "trickle down" "economics", Bastiat's conclusion in the "fallacy of the broken glass" that the shopkeeper would have put his money to some other use, rather than hoarding it/putting it in a Swiss bank account/etc., is wrong.

    Huhh?? So how is hoarding it/putting it in a Swiss bank account/etc. a refutation of the fallacy? So he holds it for another day when he can put it to better use. How is this bad?

    And what's with the buzz words, WTF is trickle down economics anyway and how is the fallacy of the broken glass even remotely related to it?

  158. Jonathan says

    @Shane,

    Your plea falls on deaf ears.

    Exactly what plea am I making? It's nice that you are a man of such implacable principle, but the closest thing I have made to a 'plea' is that the hardship enjoined upon these people who have been furloughed as casualties of meaningless political theater (they haven't been "laid off", none of this is permanent, barring unforeseen developments) is non-zero and non-trivial.

    If your position is "fuck 'em, their fault for working for the feds" well, so be it. But that would speak to your lack of empathy, not your intellect or the consistency of your principles. It's entirely possible to acknowledge and denounce the hardship inherent in being furloughed because of a game of brinkmanship being played by incompetent assholes without initiating a cascade failure of your libertarian world view.

    Incidentally, empathy is not a zero sum game. You can have it for anyone and everyone who has been laid off, furloughed, or suffered unearned hardship and suffering – if you're so inclined.

  159. Devil's Advocate says

    So he holds it for another day when he can put it to better use. How is this bad?

    Time value of money, maybe?

  160. says

    @Shane

    Huhh?? So how is hoarding it/putting it in a Swiss bank account/etc. a refutation of the fallacy? So he holds it for another day when he can put it to better use. How is this bad?

    And what's with the buzz words, WTF is trickle down economics anyway

    His use of "trickle down economics" means that your views are not liberal, and are therefore conservative, and are therefore exactly the same as Ronald Reagan's cabinet c. 1984, and therefore you hate black people and gays.

    and how is the fallacy of the broken glass even remotely related to it?

    I think the connection is "Shut up, gay-hater!"

  161. says

    @Sparky

    I am explicitly calling out the hostage taking, petulance and childishness of the house GOP caucus who will happily burn down a village if they don't get to control it. That's not the way adults act.

    The House has either passed, or will pass, emergency spending bills to fund the open the National Parks, NIH, Vet affairs, DC funding, medical research, and paying the guard and reserve. Obama said he'll veto them and Harry Reid have said they won't pass them.

    Yeah, but … um…. Republicans are evil.

  162. Rob says

    @Shane–As we have seen in over thirty years worth of experimenting with "trickle down" "economics", Bastiat's conclusion in the "fallacy of the broken glass" that the shopkeeper would have put his money to some other use, rather than hoarding it/putting it in a Swiss bank account/etc., is wrong.

    Money not invested or otherwise used in some way (and yes, putting it in a bank account invests it, as the bank then uses that money to fund loans) devalues due to inflation, and unless the businessman is a Grade A idiot he's not going to let that happen. Thanks for showing you basically know nothing about economics.

  163. Xenocles says

    "Time value of money, maybe?"

    Let's look at the delta and evaluate only the baker's window and the cash to be used to replace it.

    If the window breaks, he has a new window and no cash.
    If the window doesn't break, he still has the window and he keeps the cash. Unless his currency goes the way of the Wiemar mark or the Confederate dollar, he still has more value in this scenario. And who says he keeps it in cash?

  164. TomB says

    More "Shutdown Theater":

    Cancellation of Service Academy Football Games is About ‘Optics’

    Asked why the Department of Defense was suspending intercollegiate athletic contests if government funds are not required, Gladchuk said he was told it was about “optics.”

    “It’s a perception thing. Apparently it doesn’t resonate with all the other government agencies that have been shut down,” Gladchuk said.

    The academies have private money specifically set aside to fund athletics, and the DOD won't let them use it because it would look better (read: worse) if they suffered.

  165. says

    "I got mine and everybody else can go to hell"

    That line is a caricature of what the left thinks a libertarian thinks. It's a statement designed to show a lack of compassion. The whole progessive movement is designed to show compassion without effort or accountability.

    The truer statement is

    I got mine, and you're welcome to get your own. You can ASK me for help or advice, but have no right to require me to help you.

    The reason the left is afraid of the shutdown is it exposes the waste in the government. This gives rise to the theater. It's distraction so we don't realize what we didn't miss.

    Post-apocalyptic literature – Gordon R. Dickson wrote a great book about a man who befreinds a wolf cub and wanders around after civilization collapses. I can't remember the name of it, but it's quite good. Phillp K Dick's "Deus Irea" is is about the guy who set off the bombs wandering around the post atomic world. Those are two of my favorites.

  166. TomB says

    Missed this. More "Shutdown Theater":

    That's not the WWI memorial. It's not on the national mall. I've never seen any actual human near that memorial. Other than that, that memorial and the WWII are totally equivalent and so it's a crying shame that they weren't treated equally.

    Sure it is, it's a memorial to the Second division that fought in WWI. It's in the southwest corner of the ellipse. And the point is that it's a perfect example of "shutdown theater" because there is no way they can shut it down with only one barricade and a single sign. So the whole premise that they used to justify the shutdown of the WWII memorial, nobody to give CPR (?!) and nobody to pick up the trash, is BS.

  167. says

    From BBC World:

    Analysts say Mr Boehner could end the current government showdown by allowing the House to vote on a "clean" budget bill that does not alter the health law, because that could pass with a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans.

    If true, this really does seem to be an abuse of the speaker's position. I'm baffled that there isn't any procedure for dealing with this sort of situation. Can't the speaker be subject to a vote of no confidence? There must be something the majority can do about it.

  168. says

    ChicagoTom,

    May I say that the repeated use of the phrase "hostage taking," doesn't help you get taken seriously. It comes across sounding more like rhetoric than analysis. As with so many of the actions both sides are taking with regard to the shutdown, it's a matter of "optics."

  169. TomB says

    Post-apocalyptic literature – Gordon R. Dickson wrote a great book about a man who befreinds a wolf cub and wanders around after civilization collapses.

    "Wolf And Iron"?

    I thoroughly enjoyed "Without Warning". I went through a PA phase a while back and read so many bad ones, I can't remember the good ones.

  170. Malc. says

    @Terry,

    No, the reason why "the left" (and indeed everyone without an anti-government agenda, which includes many/most GOP folk, but not the most influential Banana Republicans) "is afraid" of the shutdown is that increases uncertainty in the economy, which reduces growth, which reduces prosperity.

    Yes, it is possible to make money in uncertain times. But the reality is that it is harder to do so than when you can make predictions about the near future.

    When the sequester was proposed, the cuts it forced across the board were considered something so draconian, so ridiculous, that business-focussed politicians would strive to prevent it. What wasn't recognized is that the "tea party" zealots are ideologues, and are perfectly happy to use Stalinist logic to achieve their aims: since the expanded government created by Bush is a Bad Thing, any price is acceptable to reduce the size of the government, even if the damage done in the process of the reduction exceeds the savings achieved.

    The real issue here is that the "tea party" Banana Republicans know full well where "the problem" lies, but in a two party system, they have to blame "the other guys" while actually attacking those they consider the source of the problem: the "moderate" GOP factions. The problems with the size of government and size of the dept are both legacies of G.W.Bush and the policies of Reagan/G.H.W.Bush: run up debt, expand the government, while claiming to be opposed to both. The people who have paralyzed government are well satisfied that they have done so, and see no value in "negotiating" the undoing of their stated goal.

  171. says

    Analysts say Mr Boehner could end the current government showdown by allowing the House to vote on a "clean" budget bill that does not alter the health law, because that could pass with a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans.

    If true, this really does seem to be an abuse of the speaker's position. I'm baffled that there isn't any procedure for dealing with this sort of situation. Can't the speaker be subject to a vote of no confidence? There must be something the majority can do about it.

    If I may don my college American Government prof hat for a moment…
    It's not really an abuse of the Speaker's position, IMO (not that I am any fan of Boehner, or have any desire to defend him personally). While the Speaker is, constitutionally, the leader of the whole House, the Constitution was written without regard for the future development of parties, and in fact he is really only the leader of his own party. He has a partisan duty to look to his party's interests and to lead them. He knows that eventually House Republicans will have to give in (that is, my not entirely inexpert opinion leads me to speculate that this is how he's thinking), and he's trying to work them to that position, but he can't just rush to that without further fracturing his party. He's in the tough position of trying to lead a party that includes a large contingent that doesn't like, respect, or trust him (remember his first floor vote as Speaker, he lost because he didn't get Tea Party votes), and he has nothing of value to offer them to buy their compliance. If he simply runs a vote through with Democratic support before the Tea Partiers have seen the futility of their effort (that is, I'm predicting that the politics of this whole battle will favor the Democrats/Senate/Obama over the Tea Party Republicans), they will do their best to undermine his Speakership, and he will not be able to effectively fulfill his role as speaker.

    A speaker can't actually be subject to a no confidence vote, I don't believe. The Constitution authorizes each chamber to set its own rules, and the House, to the best of my knowledge, has no such rule. And it's almost impossible for anything to come to a floor vote without the Speaker's approval–his one real power is control of the legislative agenda–so even an informal, non-binding, motion of no confidence could hardly happen without his willingness to let it happen.

    The problem for the majority is that it is divided among two parties, so it's not a real functioning majority. The more moderate Republicans that, combined with the Democratic caucus, create that majority, are the ones who are Boehner's supporters–they're the ones who've defended him against Tea Party challengers. He's really their guy, regardless of how things look right now, so they'd hardly join the Democrats to shank their own guy.

  172. Sparky says

    If true, this really does seem to be an abuse of the speaker's position. I'm baffled that there isn't any procedure for dealing with this sort of situation. Can't the speaker be subject to a vote of no confidence? There must be something the majority can do about it.

    The Beeb can't even get Parliament right, forget the US Congress.

    @Malc.

    "Banana Republicans"? Really?

    Oh well, it's nice you self-identify.

  173. El-D says

    Clark: I'm going to guess that if you were to stop showing up for work after an epic fight with your colleagues, your life wouldn't fall apart immediately, either. But is it so difficult to believe that this might lead to a suboptimal outcome?

    Who are these strawmen claiming apocalypse, anyway?

  174. Malc. says

    @HarryJohnston: It's a good question; the House is Constitutionally directed to choose (actually "chuse", but that's 18th century spelling for you) it's speaker. So in theory, once chosen, he or she can prevent any vote to choose (or chuse) another speaker, and so can retain the post even if his/her entire party defects to the other side, up until that Congress finishes (at the end of its 2 year term) and a new speaker is elected in the new Congress.

    Even if the speaker loses his/her seat in the House (e.g. by virtue of a recall election in his/her state), they can still remain Speaker, because the speaker is not required to be a member of the House, just as long as they can get the House to elect them. So a Congressthing that was fired by his/her constituency could remain speaker…

    I don't even believe impeachment would be an option, because the speaker controls the votes in the House, and if he/she refuses to call for a vote on his/her own articles of impeachment, the Senate cannot have a trial, so that's a non-starter.

  175. Malc. says

    @Sparky: if the label fits…

    The vandalistic faction of the GOP that is responsible for this fiasco (while snorting down their $476.71 per day, plus expenses) have behaved exactly as we would have expected the faux democracy of a banana republic to operate.

    Hence Banana Republican.

    NOTE: Not all Republicans are Banana Republicans….

    P.s. nice non sequitur about the BBC. Pity it's an utterly irrelevant fallacy you've tried to introduce. I think "Must try harder" will probably be on your report card!

  176. TomB says

    @Terry:

    Sorry, I mixed up novels, I meant "One Second After", not "Without Warning".

    Great book.

    (I'm liking the live preview, Ken)

  177. Sparky says

    vandalistic faction of the GOP

    So I take it you are totally incapable of writing in a manner other than a 16 yo malcontent?

    Well, good luck with that. Cheers.

  178. TomB says

    Clark, I'm beginning to think it should be written into law that the government must shut down at least once every 5 years. It might prevent some of the hyperventilation manifest on this thread.

    Sheesh.

  179. says

    @malc,
    the speaker is not required to be a member of the House, just as long as they can get the House to elect them.

    That's an interesting question. You're right that the Constitution doesn't actually say the Speaker has to be a member of the House. I would argue that it's implied, and so the person must be, but of course any argument that relies on implication is not exactly rock solid.

    I wonder what the Supreme Court would say if such a question arose? Although I imagine they would simply pooch it under the political questions doctrine.

  180. says

    Hmmm. Does the Republican party leadership have the power to expel the Tea Party, so that Mr. Boehner can go back to doing his job? If so, is there any realistic chance of that ever happening?

  181. Shane says

    @Jonathan

    Exactly what plea am I making?

    … there are people who are being hurt by it and who stand to be hurt significantly worse if this stupidity continues for a long time.

    If your position is "fuck 'em, their fault for working for the feds" well, so be it.

    My position is fuck em they lost a job, now go get another one. Oh wait, they didn't lose a job sooooo …

    It's entirely possible to acknowledge and denounce the hardship inherent in being furloughed because of a game of brinkmanship being played by incompetent assholes without initiating a cascade failure of your libertarian world view.

    This never happens in the free market (sic). This is only a product of some pompous assholes in Washington, because they are the only ones who can make you lose your job. Oh wait, ACA, EPA, DOJ … nvm.

    Incidentally, empathy is not a zero sum game. You can have it for anyone and everyone who has been laid off, furloughed, or suffered unearned hardship and suffering – if you're so inclined.

    I do, so lets spread the love around to those who are losing their jobs because the government is open for business and killing their jobs.

  182. says

    Harry,
    No, not really. In certain parliamentary systems where voters vote for the party instead of directly for a candidate the party leadership has authority to determine who gets on the party's list for a legislative seat. For a simplified example, assume a 100 seat parliament and your party gets 40% of the vote, resulting in 40 seats. If the party leadership likes you, you'll be in the top 40 of the list. If they don't you'll be far enough down the list you won't get a seat. If they really don't like you, you won't even be on the list (i.e., not in the top 100).

    But in the U.S., we self-identify with parties and self-select as candidates. Any yahoo can choose to run for office under any party's label (assuming they meet the legal qualifications for the office), and the party leadership can't really deny them that identification. All it could do really do is say, "we don't claim him..go ahead and vote for the other guy" (which the Republicans just about did concerning David Duke, back in the '90s).

    Theoretically they could expel them from the House, but it takes a 2/3 vote to expel a member of the House, and that's never been done except for actual lawbreakers and perhaps, iirc off the top of my head, out of racial animosity toward a black representative many decades ago (or they might just have refused to seat him, rather than actually expelling him).

    The U.S. has what political scientists call a "weak" party system, meaning the leadership has very little actual authority over its members (in contrast to a "strong" party system, like the example above). About all Boehner can really do to reward/punish people is giving/denying them desirable committee memberships and using his control of the legislative agenda to support/hinder their pet legislative items.

    Even though I don't like him, I do kind of pity him. He's got a nearly impossible task in trying to lead the House GOP as its currently fractured. Then again, he wanted the job, so maybe I don't pity him. When God wants to punish you he answers your prayers, eh?

  183. says

    Malc – I can't count the number of things that were screwed up by the sequester. Actually I can – ZERO.

    As for the shutdown causing economic growth to decline, here's a quote for you:

    History tells us it is not necessarily a bad thing for investors," according to Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist at LPL Financial. "The 16 government shutdowns over the past 40 years that have ranged from 1 to 21 days have not been particularly negative for stock market investors, averaging only a 2 percent decline for the S&P 500."

    "More importantly, from a longer-term perspective they preceded above average returns," he continued. "The S&P 500 Index has risen 11 percent on average in the 12 months following the shutdowns, above the 9 percent for all periods. Notably, in the last government shutdown that took place 17 years ago in late 1995, the S&P 500 rose 21 percent in the following year."

    From http://www.cnbc.com/id/101076670

    Check out that second paragraph. It says the S&P outperforms it's average in the year following a shutdown.

    The tea party people attacking the go-along-to-get-along-Republicans is so terrible. It would be better if the tea party people would act like progressives who vote for sexual deviants and convicted felons just because they have a D after their name on the ballot.

    TomB – Wolf and Iron is the title I was looking for.

  184. says

    On the subject of whether the shutdown is already causing any non-trivial problems or not:

    According to Phil Plait NASA have had to stop work on the upcoming MAVEN mission. Because of the tight schedule, even the loss of a few days work could conceivably mean missing the launch date, and the risk gets higher with each additional day. Even if they hit the launch date, the lost time increases the risk of a problem going unnoticed; delaying the mission, on the other hand, increases both the cost and the risk. The minimum possible delay is 26 months, because of the planetary orbits involved.

  185. GoSign says

    Clark Sarcastically Tears Down a Straw Man: Episode 2

    Congrats, society isn't crumbling instantaneously with a partial temporary shrinking of government. Is this supposed to prove that we're better off without it forever? Or do you really think you're showing up some people who think the radiation poisoning should be setting in by now? Are we going to get a new episode of this every day?

  186. Odd Man Out says

    NASA have had to stop work on the upcoming MAVEN mission

    It is somewhat astonishing that a cohort of professional scientists and engineers engaged in and dedicated to a project that they believe to have value cannot simply do the equivalent of what the WWII vets did yesterday: unlock the doors and make sure the work gets done so that mission flies next month. They know they will be paid whenever this dam breaks, so there is no downside to doing the work right now.

  187. Pham Nuwen says

    The hell is going on around here? It's like Reason and Huffington commentors have made their way here. On your head be it, Clark!

  188. Malc. says

    @Terry,

    I do appreciate that you believe that everything is absolutely fine-and-dandy, but as it happens, you are wrong.

    What you mean is that nothing YOU care about has been damaged by the sequester, and now the shutdown.

    That's fine. But, and follow along closely, because this is important: YOU ARE NOT SPEAKING FOR EVERYBODY.

    This is why the shutdown is so problematic: an absolute majority of US voters chose a certain legislative path. A small minority of individuals are preventing any legislation from advancing, and incidentally damaging the economy despite the fact that they are a (very) small minority.

    Now, let me demolish your odd claim about the economic performance around the 1997 shutdown: in the 12 months to Nov 1, 1995 the S&P grew at 24.7% (Nov 1, 1994: 468.42-> Nov 1, 1995: 584.22). In the 12 months following the shutdown it grew at 26.9% (Jan 10, 1996: 598.48 -> Jan 10, 1997: 759.50).

    BUT in the 12 months Nov 1, 1995 to Nov 1, 1996 it grew at 21.0% (Nov 1, 95: 584.22 -> Nov 1, 96: 706.73).

    So instead of the 24.7% growth seen the prior year, we got a 21% growth. Once the effect of the shutdown are removed (by shifting the reference period so it starts after the shutdown was resolved), we see a 26.9% growth, so from all that we can conclude:

    The 1995/96 shutdown cost between 3.7% and 5.9% lost growth in the value of the S&P 500, or between one fifth and a quarter of the possible growth performance.

    Still, of the rest of the "16 government shutdowns over the past 40 years", I wonder which of them your quote is ignoring (since there were actually 17). But assuming they're e.g. treating the two 1984 shutdowns as just one, it is reasonable to separate the shutdowns where there was a "genuine controversy" versus those where the issue was more "the negotiations ran out of time". That boils down to the 8 in the 1980's (average length: 1.75 days), leaving the Ford/Carter/Bush Clinton ones.

    So let's examine those events (without an avalanche of figures, but you can look 'em up if it bothers you), and ask ourselves the question:

    Would we expect the economy to perform better following a shutdown, when the uncertainty created by the shutdown is removed, or before a shutdown, when it is a looming possibility?

    Clearly, if my initial observation about the effect of uncertainty on the economy is correct, the answer should be AFTER.

    Gosh. Seems like your own evidence supports me, and discredits you.

    I appreciate that you don't care. But let's not pretend that these shutdowns don't cause economic damage!

  189. says

    @OddManOut:

    It is somewhat astonishing that a cohort of professional scientists and engineers engaged in and dedicated to a project that they believe to have value cannot simply do the equivalent of what the WWII vets did yesterday: unlock the doors and make sure the work gets done so that mission flies next month.

    My vague understanding is that this would be illegal. I am open to correction.

  190. Xenocles says

    @Harry-

    That's pretty much correct, though you could make the same case for the vets at one point.

  191. Shane says

    That's it this thing has gotten way out of control. THEY ARE SHUTTING DOWN THE PARKS. That's right everyone loves the parks and this lack of funding thing has done the parks in. It isn't just the mall in DC or whatever, across the board and across the country parks are being shuttered. All because those stupid rethuglicans had to have it their way. And now this …

  192. says

    @Pham Nuwen

    The hell is going on around here? It's like Reason and Huffington commentors have made their way here. On your head be it, Clark!

    Nice user name, fellow Vinge fan!

  193. Tarrou says

    Luckily for me, I bought a crossbow two months ago. Preparedness, bitches! It's been two days, anyone mind if I start hunting humans for sport and meat?

    FYI, Mexico is a no-go, apparently their government can't make roads either.

  194. A. Nagy says

    How is hundreds of members of the house a small minority. Seems like a sizable minority to me.

    Also the whole 25% growth but after sequester it's 21%…but if we move 2 months over and start there it's 27%, those numbers all seem about the same with the standard ebb and flow of an economy.

  195. Zak N. says

    I just want to add my shutdown story. My lab had a proposal accepted to use a DOE operated synchrotron. For those of you who don't know what a synchrotron is, they are giant sources of very bright x-rays. We use them to structurally characterize materials, particularly nanomaterials, polymers and proteins.

    Anyway, because of this shut-down theater the DOE closed the facility and we have lost our beamtime. This will delay our publication and patent development timeline because we'll need to wait until next cycle to get make-up beamtime. The hidden cost of that is that other groups who would have gotten beamtime next cycle wont because making up our time will bump them.

    Private firms that develop drugs, polymers, and nanotechnology also contract with the DOE for use of the facilities. They will also have their R&D cycles delayed, which will delay product development.

    So while this isn't personal hardship in the sense that I'll go hungry, my work and the course of technological development has been directly affected by this theater.

  196. says

    It bears reminding that furloughed workers, military, retired military and disabled vets just got paid on the 1st, so we have at least two weeks before any bills go unpaid so we can relax the rhetoric for a minute. 3 of 4 of those have pay restored already and many of the final category will get restored even without resolving the crisis.

    I do have some sympathy for furloughed workers (mainly because I know some) but it is quite limited (because I know what many of them actually do, which isn't much).

    I really have lost a lot of sympathy for people who can't be bothered to create and contribute to an emergency fund. I've heard every excuse, and 1 out of 50 might even be valid, but mostly it's simple refusal to plan for the future and make even a modicum of sacrifice for the here and now.

    So I guess I do have a bit of the F**k 'em, I've got mine attitude, but not because I was lucky, but because I MADE the sacrifices that got me mine now. I do rely on the government for much of my income (retired military) and so I have an emergency fund that will carry me through several months of lack of income – and I SACRIFICED to fund it.

    BTW – I know my checks have been spared, but I was prepared for them not to be.

  197. Zak N. says

    @Clark:

    I have a questions about 'anarcho-topia' and your perception of what an ideal society would look like. I've taken from your posts and comments that you hold a sort of anarchist, ultra-egalitarian set of ideals. That conclusion is the basis of my question, and if it is in error my question won't make a lot of sense.

    Some definitions. When I write 'negative outcomes' I mean outcome like 16 million children currently live in food insecure households. You could find other metrics of negative outcomes like the rate of incarceration, or rate of robbery, or rate of abuses of power. Of course these may conflict (increasing abuse of power could decrease rates of robbery, etc.), but that isn't necessarily relevant to my question.

    If your ideal society could be demonstrated in principle to be significantly worse in terms of outcomes than our current system, would you relax your ideals?

    I have a lot of follow up questions (such as: if your system reduced abuses of power, but increased rates of robbery at what ratio of abuse:robbery would you consider your system a failure? Basically, how do you value relative evils?), but I figure this question is enough to start.

    And to be fair, my answer to my own question would be: if you could form a metric Evil = sum-over-all-evils(Severity*Frequency), a marginal increase in Evil greater than the noise in Evil would make any change unacceptable relative to the current system, regardless of the conceptual beauty of the change.

  198. says

    @Shane–the idea that if the money wasn't used for repairing the broken glass it would have been put to productive use in the economy rather than simply being hoarded or put away in some Cayman Islands bank account. The relationship with "trickle down" so-called "economics" is that the argument in favor of running the economy that way was that if you give enough breaks to the rich the benefits will eventually "trickle down" to the less rich. Instead of being put to productive use in the economy (so that the benefits "trickled down") the money was simply hoarded, put in offshore accounts, etc. Bastiat's conclusion of where the money would go if it weren't used to repair the glass has been proven to be wrong.

  199. JR says

    Is it really so offensive when an anarcho-capitalist who believes that there should be no government jobs in the first place lampoons the temporary loss of said jobs? Is it rational to harangue him for not showing sympathy to those who briefly lost the jobs he believes should not exist at all?

    I am confused by some of what I am reading in the comments here.

  200. A. Nagy says

    @Zak N. That actually is a real cost and stuff like that is occuring in lots of industries which is why that $5 a person number from the last one is quite believable.

    @Darryl
    Why are they storing it in offshore accounts rather then local banks which would give out loans to local buisnesses?
    Also this is why you want interest rates of 4%ish because it encourages people to do something with their money rather then just hold onto it.

  201. Devil's Advocate says

    @Odd Man Out

    It is somewhat astonishing that a cohort of professional scientists and engineers engaged in and dedicated to a project that they believe to have value cannot simply do the equivalent of what the WWII vets did yesterday: unlock the doors and make sure the work gets done so that mission flies next month. They know they will be paid whenever this dam breaks, so there is no downside to doing the work right now.

    I'm guessing if they don't do it it's because they don't want to risk becoming the first people to be convicted of violating 31 USC § 1342.

  202. Jon says

    Clark, you had me until the part about meat on sale for $1.99 at Whole Paycheck Foods — that's when the post got completely divorced from reality for me.

  203. Devil's Advocate says

    @TomB

    Sure it is, it's a memorial to the Second division that fought in WWI.

    …and World War II, and the Korean War. And it's not even the only memorial on the Ellipse for a US Army division that fought in WWI. To my knowledge, the only memorial in the area that only memorializes soldiers who fought in WWI is the one in West Potomac Park whose official title is the "District of Columbia War Memorial" but often colloquially called "the World War I memorial."

    My point here is that there are a million monuments in the area that aren't that special. That's why I'm not even entirely sure there isn't some other memorial hiding there that celebrates some obscure unit that fought only in WWI. The most notable thing about the Second Division monument is that it's one of the better places in the area to find a parking space, which should tell you something about its popularity. On the other hand, it's one of the coolest-looking of the monuments I've never bothered to look at in person and maybe will if I'm ever in the area again.

    It's in the southwest corner of the ellipse.

    …, the Ellipse not being part of the Mall. The distinction is largely meaningless, given that the Ellipse and the Mall share a border, but I'm pointing it out because the Ellipse is much less traveled than the Mall proper and the most popular parts of West Potomac Park.

    And the point is that it's a perfect example of "shutdown theater" because there is no way they can shut it down with only one barricade and a single sign.

    And my point is that it's not unreasonable to devote more resources to shutting down one of the largest and most popular monuments in a well-travelled location smack dab in-between another two of the most largest and popular monuments in the area than a much smaller out of the way monument that no one ever looks at.

    So the whole premise that they used to justify the shutdown of the WWII memorial, nobody to give CPR (?!) and nobody to pick up the trash, is BS.

    Maybe so, but did you see how many years it too Congress to get around to funding the reseeding of the area the last time that it got trashed?

  204. I was Anonymous says

    FYI: Clinical trials for evaluating drugs are frequently sponsored and/or funded by pharma companies (not always), but approval and overall conductance of a trial presently requires permission and involvement of the federal government, namely, the NIH.

    RKN is correct. My late wife was part of a clinical trial for an ALS medication (unsuccessful, alas). The NIH and FDA are deeply involved in them, even though they're generally funded by the pharma. The admin and oversight comes from the feds.

  205. says

    @Clark

    His use of "trickle down economics" means that your views are not liberal, and are therefore conservative, and are therefore exactly the same as Ronald Reagan's cabinet c. 1984, and therefore you hate black people and gays.

    Clark, you do realize you are doing exactly what you hate in others? Attempting to definitively state how someone else feels or what they mean? I guess only Popehat contributors get to do that.

    More to the point, what I meant was that the fundamental idea that the best way to expand an economy is by giving breaks to those at the top (which I still believe is the Republican modus operandi for the economy) has been shown not to work because the assumption that they will do some particular thing with their money (like hire more people, etc.) rather than something else (save it, hoard it, put it in the Caymans) has been proven to not be true historically.

    BTW, if you have a more modern term than "trickle down" that you would prefer I use, I can do that (see how accommodating us liberals are?). Then again, I didn't realize the terms one might use here would cause so much butthurt.

  206. JR says

    @Darryl
    I think their objection is to your tagging the fallacy of the broken glass as Trickle Down economics.

    The trickle effect is the expectation that rich people not spending money on one thing will proceed to spend it on something else and that this will improve the economy.

    The broken glass is about anyone not having to spend money on one thing can then spend it on any other thing they might desire or even nothing. The only expectation is that the use it is put to will be at the individuals discretion.

    I believe Shane's use of the fallacy was regarding people using shame to justify the government continuing to use other people's money to employ people. Poor people that choose to work instead of subsisting entirely on the government teat pay the taxes that fund those jobs too. Trickle Down vs. Robin Hood economics is tangential at best.

    To those shocked at the lack of sympathy on display here, I can sympathize with people struggling under incompetent bosses, that's why I got two additional jobs and will be quitting the first before it implodes. Anyone being laid off, suspended, or otherwise subjected to disruption of pay has the option to find a different or additional job. Sure, the market for jobs that pay well and provide good benefits may be small outside of the government, but it's going to be okay. There are plenty of low-paying no-benefits jobs available. Why not stop championing the plight of the common man and take up his burden?

    Now if only my bosses weren't so intent on reducing the hours I work to keep from having to provide me with insurance I do not want and wouldn't need if I were working more hours.

  207. Shane says

    @Zak N.

    You are either approaching from a utilitarian view or are yourself utilitarian. You can easily google what libertarians think of utilitarians.

  208. Shane says

    @Darryl

    … would have been put to productive use in the economy rather than simply being hoarded or put away in some Cayman Islands bank account.

    Ok, put it under your mattress for a rainy day. Why does it need to be used right this very instant to be of any use? You have still have not answered why it is bad to not use it when conditions dictate it's efficient use. Please note I am giving you that all money saved will be hoarded even though this accounts for a very small fraction of any type of saving.

    the argument in favor of running the economy that way was that if you give enough breaks to the rich the benefits will eventually "trickle down" to the less rich.

    What are these benefits you speak of? Once you name them you will know how deeply in over your head you really are.

    Instead of being put to productive use in the economy (so that the benefits "trickled down") the money was simply hoarded, put in offshore accounts, etc.

    If you mean that the ony "productive" use of money is to spend it, then I know right away what your financial situation is. I also know that you are the reason that SS was created.

    Bastiat's conclusion of where the money would go if it weren't used to repair the glass has been proven to be wrong.

    Once again asserted without facts. And honestly you shouldn't listen to the rethuglicans try and defend free market principles because they can't do it, because they don't understand them. I will help you out a bit, the fallacy of the broken glass is about the hidden costs of financial occurrences not about where money goes. You're desperately trying to cast this in an anti-Keynsian light. That won't end well.

  209. DonaldB says

    Uhmm, this story is completely false. How can I tell? Whole Foods doesn't sell meat for $1.99/lb.

    "Pay my 80 bucks for six things and get the heck out."

  210. Zak N. says

    You are either approaching from a utilitarian view or are yourself utilitarian.

    I'm only a utilitarian when it is useful.

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