The Dreaded Government Shutdown

Posted on December 24, 2018 by Robert Ringer

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The average low-information voter, who depends on getting his news from the FNM, is trembling in his shoes right now because the life-ending government shutdown he has heard so much about has finally arrived.  How in the world can the United States possibly survive such a calamity?

But let’s get serious:  Every reasonably well-informed individual with an IQ above 32 realizes that a government shutdown is not only not a bad thing, it’s actually a positive.  Let’s face it, the only way to stop government spending and borrowing is to close shop.  And, amazingly, when that happens (as it has 18 times in the past), the anti-Armageddon truth is that the average person is totally unaffected!

While the amount varies from month to month, the government brings in, on average, about $200 billion a month from (mostly unwilling) taxpayers and pays out, on average, about $20 billion in monthly interest charges.  That’s a tenfold coverage.

Second, Social Security and Medicare are easily covered by government revenues each month, at least right now.

Third, there’s plenty of money available to meet our current military obligations (though we need a good debate about how much military we really need to properly defend our country).

Fourth, everything that’s left (about 30 percent of scheduled expenditures) can be prioritized, with the only question being who should make the decisions as to what goes at the top of the list and what goes at the bottom.

Former Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner once insisted that the notion of prioritizing payments is futile because the debt limit must be increased regardless of which spending path is adopted.  He boldly stated that “there is no credible budget plan under which a debt-limit increase can be avoided.”

That, of course, is status quo thinking — and patently false.  The truth is that there’s a very credible budget plan to avoid raising the debt ceiling.  It’s called:  CUT SPENDING!  Politicians don’t want to hear about it, but if you cut spending enough, you don’t have to raise the debt ceiling one dime.  And once that’s accomplished, a serious president should use his bully pulpit to pressure Congress into making serious budget cuts.

The best way to go about that is to subject all spending to the Goldwater Litmus Test:  Is the proposed program or expenditure constitutional?  Such a litmus test would make it possible to dramatically reduce taxes, borrowing, and fiat-money creation.

The United States now borrows more than 40 cents of every dollar it spends, so prioritizing payments without raising the debt ceiling would force the U.S. to cut about 40 percent of all government expenditures.  Which is a good thing.  When will some politician — any politician — have the courage to step forward and say so?

There’s no question that serious spending cuts would have painful implications for people in every walk of life — including military families, veterans, and government employees.  This is a serious problem for politicians, because all of those people are voters.  Realistically, the only way even well-intentioned politicians would have the courage to cut back on goodies to voters is if they were subject to term limits.

Military families’ and veterans’ obligations could be whittled down over a period of time by closing down half or more of our 700 overseas military bases and staying out of nation-building wars.  For a fraction of current costs, we could bring our troops home and have them focus on defending our own porous borders rather than bombing, then rebuilding, countries on the other side of the globe, countries that have no interest in establishing a democratic form of government.

As to government employees, do you know anyone who would be unhappy with getting rid of as many “public servants” as possible?  Let’s face it, the majority of these people work at jobs that produce nothing of value for American citizens.

Some elites argue that not paying for programs and employees already on the books is just as much of a default as not paying interest on the national debt.  What they are really saying, in effect, is, “Even though we have to go deeper into debt to pay for these government programs, which assures that default is only a matter of time, we have no choice but to do so given the fact that we’ve already made those commitments to people.”

I would argue that if Congress passes unconstitutional legislation to implement unconstitutional programs, it is not your obligation to pay for them.  On the contrary, it is Congress’ duty to repeal all such legislation, because, first and foremost, members of Congress made a commitment to voters that trumps all other commitments — the commitment to uphold the Constitution!

I wonder how many voters actually care about this little inconvenient truth.  No Democrats, to be sure.  But, sadly, probably a majority of Republicans are also unwilling to slow down the money spigot.

All this by way of saying that I continue to believe the United States will ultimately default on its debt obligations, regardless of what phony patchwork solutions Congress comes up with.  The bottom line is that virtually no one is brave enough to name specific “entitlements” that should be cut.

The ruling class is simply playing politics in an effort to prolong the day of economic reckoning, a day when they are out of office and our children and grandchildren will be left holding the debt bag.

All this being said, we should never lose sight of the fact that our biggest problem is not the national debt.  The national debt is just a symptom of a much broader underlying problem:  America has lost its moral compass.  Only an immoral people, after all, would continue to add more and more debt, knowing that it can never be repaid and that future generations will have to deal with the consequences.

Robert Ringer

+Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

21 responses to “The Dreaded Government Shutdown”

  1. Poster Child says:

    Link corrected.

    “America has lost its moral compass.”–RJR

    That is so totally true.

    Here are just some of the major issues:

    The Plain Truth about Donald Trump

  2. Travis says:

    I don't get it. What you've done is link back to Robert's article.

  3. Travis says:

    Robert, great article. I am 80 years old now and was totally disappointed with my fellow Americans back in 1964 when Goldwater lost to Johnson in a landslide. I was a young whippersnapper, but felt that was a turning point in American history. I still do. Not many people remember or care about the "Goldwater Litmus Test".

    • Rick G. says:

      Au H2O in '64

    • Rick G. says:

      In your heart you know he's right!

    • SteveR says:

      Even back then, the "Great Society" wanted the gubment to supply "free". We are still, and will always, continue to pay for the "free".

    • Peter Guske says:

      So true. Goldwater was the symbolic turning point for the country (although you could make a case that, culturally, the turning started sooner than this). Even the Reagan Revolution and the Trump Movement may well be small spikes in the general downward trend toward European Style Socialism.
      Moral decline accelerated by physiological based behavior changes are very difficult to counteract.

  4. Phil says:

    Merry Christmas Robert!

  5. FedUp says:

    Dittos. Great article, true I believe. Problem being … “we the people” can’t handle the truth. So, we will keep electing the politicians who promise all manor of whatever we want to hear, and it won’t involve any pain …. untill it does.

  6. Rick G. says:

    Let the government shut down and stay shut down forever! Next step is to fire them all and send them packin'!

    I often wonder how different government and life in general would be today had Barry Goldwater and Bill Miller had won in 1964. This country was at the crossroads between freedom and tyranny back then. I regret to say I was much too young to vote in 1964, but if I could have, I would have voted for Goldwater in 1964.

  7. Rick G. says:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, Robert. You are the man!

  8. larajf says:

    Government shutdowns don't save money because those working do still get paid eventually. It's just a game of chicken. I hope Trump holds firm.

  9. Lana says:

    We could save tons of money by stopping the payments to those no longer in Congress. When was the last time you left a job and they said, "Oh, well, we'll continue to pay you". They are provided free everything while in office. They should be saving their money, "tightening their belts" as they are so fond of telling citizens to do. There absolutely needs to be term limits on all elected officials. We have so many good things in the USA, but this would just make it better, or at least a start. Merry Christmas Robert, to you and your family.

  10. Reality Seeker says:

    Nobody in Washington, including President Trump, is going to even suggest cutting government by "40%".

    What shall come to pass is not only a great debt default, but a socioeconomic crash and burn that wipes out what's left of the middle class. And anybody who thinks the upcoming U.S. debt default isn't going to be as painful as the last Great Depression is in for a big surprise.

    Donald Trump Tweeted that he is "all alone in the White House this Christmas". I say he is all alone period. We have all seen the best part of the Trump Presidency. The bankers, the Deep State, the Democrats and the majority of the GOP all want Trump's scalp. So the next two years are going to be a mess.

    Prepare accordingly.

  11. Scott Theczech says:

    Many economic studies have noted that it would be untenable to use draconian measures to reduce the deficit and the debt – that it could throw the country into economic shock and patient might die a violent death. Revolutions are always violent to some degree and some revolutions work better than others.

    Our real problems all began when the states lost so many natural, economic rights to the federal government. If we shifted back to constitutional government we could have 50 economic test kitchens instead of one giant kitchen with a whole bunch of chefs, preps, waitstaff etc. crowding around a hot stove. Problems..mistakes would be much smaller and more easily corrected. The states could actually be effective in reigning in federal spending and worse, increases in the rate of spending. I believe that a balanced budget amendment is not the answer; just as in equities and debentures in the private sector, government needs these economic tools as well in order to function well – however government needs discipline and outside oversight (such as the states). The whole system is upside down and that is primarily what the Great Civil War was about; “where does power ultimately reside, the people, the states or the federal government?”

    Perhaps it would be best if we tied government revenue to a percentage of the apportioned gross domestic produce ex post facto. In other words, take the GDP from the previous FY year and invoice the states proportionately for their share of the percentage of productivity. Except in the case of true national emegency, this system could work and it would naturally tie spending to national productivity. Borrowing and the creation of bonds, notes and bills could be linked to the allocated amount of taxation of the respective states.

  12. Jay says:

    "To Christ I conceded the certainty of a great man, not too closely followed by those who claimed Him.
    His moral teaching—most excellent. For myself, I had adopted those parts which seemed convenient and not
    too difficult; the rest I disregarded."
    Alcoholics Anonymous – Bill W.

  13. Green Mt. Mad says:

    Fall-1964: One candidate a combat veteran pilot, a U.S. Senator with lifelong membership in the NAACP, a personal friend of JFK, smart, plainspoken, raised in closeness and sympathy to Apache culture. The other a slick,manipulating, patently racist assassination-successor, who when Roosevelt told him to join the Naval Reserve had a Naval pilot fly him out over theoretical war-zone line in the Pacific so he could wear a ribbon. The onset of the massive media fabrications now known as 'fake news" were in fact the beginnings of a coup. A media coup that isn't an overnight overthrow but a decades long Kampf to take the nation where the left- media wants it. They despise Trump because he has interrupted their purpose.

  14. NZ Steve says:

    Excellent presentation plus enlightening comments. On a more personal matter; I truly believe, were it not for Looking Out For #1, I would not be financially and socially comfortable.

    Also, I subscribe to http://www.Galganov.com. This is his latest; https://www.galganov.com/editorials.asp?id=2595#…. which seems to fit with Ringer.

  15. mark says:

    Try not to let a video game take over your life. If you realize that you are neglecting your friends and family, put the game down and come back to it in a week. You should never pass up on social opportunities with your friends or family for the sake of a video game.
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