Ahem. Missed another day. Sorry. Won’t happen again.
To make up for it I thought to regale y’all with the Tale of the Great Plecia Nearctica Internecion of 2017 (recently occurred). That shall wait for another day and perhaps a poetic dissertation. Maybe as a paid feature through my equally neglected Patreon Page. Maybe. Perhaps. Ahem.
It got ugly before it got sad.
Anyhow, with the silliness aside now, I give you Mark Nestmann’s take on the coming government shutdown that won’t be a real shutdown and probably won’t even happen.
On or around October 2, the US federal government will shut down – again. The actual date could be a bit earlier or later, depending on how the government’s cash flows.
Technically, the government should have shut down on March 15, 2017. That was the date that a congressionally approved temporary extension of the debt ceiling expired. So on that date, the amount of debt on the books ($19.808 trillion) became the new debt ceiling. Since then, the Treasury hasn’t been able to issue any more federal debt.
Instead of shutting down the government, the Treasury has been cooking the books to pay the bills. Payments to federal worker’s retirement and disability funds have ended. The Treasury has also borrowed against federal pension, Social Security, and Medicare trust funds. But that can only go on so long. Without congressional authorization to raise the debt ceiling, some government services will have to end in about a month.
President Trump and congressional leaders want to raise the debt ceiling without any more restrictions. It’s easy to see why. Politicians get re-elected when they spend money on things that benefit voters, and just as importantly, when they spend on things that benefit the people and corporations that finance their campaigns.
But the influential Freedom Caucus in the House of Representatives opposes an unlimited increase in the debt ceiling. It favors raising the debt ceiling “only” an additional $1.5 trillion – just enough to keep the government afloat until after the mid-term elections in November 2018. The Freedom Caucus also wants to cut federal spending. Trump and congressional leaders have to take the Freedom Caucus seriously because the Freedom Caucus’s opposition to the partial repeal of Obamacare doomed that initiative earlier this year.
It’s reassuring that the staunch conservatives and libertarians from the Caucus want to hold at a measly $1.5 Trillion. Why not cut the crap and make it $1.5 Quadrillion? Maybe a little more?
As I did back in ’95 I support the shutdown (that won’t happen). Houston looters can fill in for the IRS. Drunk monkeys can sufficiently steer the 7th Fleet. And, I tell you from experience, you can still use the National Parks – actually easier without rangers around if you don’t mind jumping gates.
Make of this what you will.
And be careful driving through those cotton fields!