Editor’s note: Breaking views are thoughts from individual members of the editorial board on today’s headlines.
The government was allegedly shut down over the weekend. Didn’t notice it? Neither did I.
The shutdown, which began Friday after the Congress couldn’t agree to an ongoing funding measure and ended Monday after the inevitable deal was struck, was apparently the 18th of its kind since 1976.
Like its predecessors, the shutdown was mostly a nonevent for the ordinary American. Contrary to expectations, few things are ever actually shut down during government shutdowns and this one was no different. Most federal employees continued to work as usual. Social Security checks, food stamps and Medicare benefits weren’t stopped. The military continued operating. The Post Office kept delivering. VA hospitals remained open.
Even Robert Mueller’s office remained open.
Alas, the panda cam at the National Zoo was turned off, but that was essentially the closest the government got to a real shutdown.
Basically, the use of the phrase “government shutdown” is just an interesting sounding hyperbolic phrase for Democratic and Republican hacks to bash the other side for not doing what the other side wants.
Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., was one of the few members of Congress to speak honestly about what the latest shutdown was really about. “This shutdown fight is mostly partisan theater,” he tweeted Monday. “These parties are working together to massively grow spending and debt.”
The leadership of both parties are addicted to spending, with only slight variations as to precisely which politically useful demographics should be catered to with more spending. Last year, the Congressional Budget Office projected the federal government was on course to hit budget deficits of $563 billion and $689 billion, respectively, in 2018 and 2019. That was before the passage of tax reform, which will have unknown but probably detrimental impacts on the deficit.