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Mon, July 22

Column: The truth about the government shutdown 

Last week the U.S. Treasury bumped up against the “debt ceiling.” This debt ceiling is to the government what your credit card limit is to your dreams of furnishing your man cave.

When your credit card is maxed out, there’s no reason to go to The Big Screen Store to buy that new, 90-inch TV for the Super Bowl. Your card will be declined shortly after it’s swiped.

For the feds, reaching the debt limit means the Chinese will get some temporary relief from Uncle Sam putting the bite on them for another series of loans.

There, however, the similarity ends. You can’t borrow additional money until you either pay down your credit card debt or the postman delivers another credit card application that’s “reserved just for you!” But Congress can start borrowing again, just as soon as both houses pass a bill that increases the debt limit without any provision for debt payment. For politicians, operators are always standing by.

But now that the U.S. government has shut down, Trump will have to buy a burner phone to get back on Twitter or so the opposition media would have us believe. 

However, these shutdowns were non-events until recently. Over the years, there have been a number of shutdowns, and the republic was none the worse for wear. Normal people went about their normal business while the political class had a nervous breakdown.

The last time the government ground to a halt, in 2013, President Barack Obama was in the White House, and racial peace reigned throughout the land. Then the sinister Ted Cruz filibustered the debt increase, and the feds were without funding for a harrowing 16 days. During that fortnight plus two, Mexico annexed a defenseless Texas, the Bundy Gang seized much of the public land in Southern Nevada and rioting middle-income taxpayers burned down Obamacare enrollment offices to protest skyrocketing insurance premiums.

You don’t recall that? That’s because it’s Fake News. Nothing much happened. It was so quiet, the Obama administration decided to punish taxpayers by closing the Mall, national parks and other facilities that didn’t require closing. The goal was twofold: Generate hysterical shutdown news coverage and mobilize the dependent class to call a politician.

The truth is, bumping up against the debt limit doesn’t shut off the money spigot. The feds are collecting tax money every day. Just before the Great Cruz Control Experiment, the Washington Post published an interactive page where readers could take the $172.4 billion available even after the shutdown and decide who gets paid and who doesn’t. 

I took the money and paid all the essentials: Social Security; T-bill debt service; Medicare; Medicaid; federal salaries and benefits; unemployment insurance; food stamps & TANF; military pay; Veteran’s Affairs and even that seat of Deep State Resistance — the Department of Justice.

There was no default. I even had $700 million left over for the odd drone strike or Congressional sexual harassment settlement. That’s why you won’t see that mistake in the Post again. The facts undercut all the shutdown predictions of doom.

Republicans took the blame for the Cruz Control, but suffered no lasting ill effects.

In this season’s shutdown follies, one would think that even the Slinky-spined Republican leadership in the House and Senate could win a confrontation with Democrats.

The difference between the two sides is stark.

On one hand, the GOP is trying to keep the government up and running under the sure hand of legislative ‘mastermind’ and curator of the Senate, Mitch McConnell. On the other, leftist Democrats are threatening to hold taxpayers hostage by shutting down the government. Those Democrats believe that rewarding undocumented, alien lawbreakers is more important than serving the citizens who elected them.

RINOs and herd-followers in the D.C. swamp have trouble pointing out this obvious contrast because they can hardly wait to surrender to Democrats’ demands for amnesty for “Dreamers,” those who arrived in the United States as children, brought here illegally by their undocumented parents.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was the Obama administration policy that governed Dreamers, called after the Dream Bill that in 2012 established DACA.

The RINOs don’t like that it’s taking longer to negotiate terms than they expected.

And the fact that Trump won the presidency on a promise to “end DACA,” build a wall at the U.S. border with Mexico and deport undocumented immigrants has escaped the notice of these serial appeasers in Congress. What citizens believe is only important until the polls close.

In all the OpMedia buildup to the U.S. government shutdown Friday, I saw no mention of any Democrats who feared that they might be blamed for the shutdown. Like Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on the second day of a battle, they would have to move pretty fast to get ahead of the GOP jellyfish caucus, which is already trying on hair shirts.

Republican ‘leaders’ and their enablers are always willing to resort to preemptive surrenderbefore the battle is joined. To win, one must fight, but their heart just isn’t in it. They always have an exit strategy for everything but leaving office.

Michael Shannon is a commentator and public relations consultant, and is the author of “A Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times.” He can be reached at


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