Monday, December 17, 2018

A Looming Government Shutdown? It's Like Old Times

It happens so often it's boring.  I can take a paragraph from something I wrote before, change a few "facts and figgers" and - boom! - it's up to date and fresh.  Like this one from a mere 20 months ago:
Ah, gee.  It's like old times, gang.  We haven't had a pending fake shutdown in forever!  Gosh, it must have been back when the Administration Party and "Party of No" wore different tags.  So long ago... It was September of 2016.  I can barely remember that.  Do you recall where you were?  Do you even remember how old you were?  Someday, we'll all talk about the great government shutdown of 2017, too.  At this rate, it'll be around a year from now. 
Really, just change two links and it's up to date.  But I didn't.  It's not like this is the last time we'll ever see one of these.

As always, this is a bunch of melodramatic kabuki theater; made-up so that they can avoid doing their real job (creating and passing actual budgets) and instead pass their Continuing Resolutions, which (IMO) is done for that great DC buzzword Plausible Deniability.  By making maximum melodrama, these pathetic dweebs get to think they're heroes who fix things just in time!  

As a plus (to a politician) they get to make "good television", a medium suited for those with the worst cases of Attention Deficit, much like the photo opportunity with Trump, Pelosi and Schumer which was replayed almost on continuous loop on cable over last weekend.  Depending on which pundit you like to listen to, Trump is going to shut down the government to win approval of those awful, racist, deplorables who voted for him, and will not be damaged by shutting down the government at all, or any attempt to shut down the wise and wonderfully beneficent government will be met with the Wrath of the Voters who dump anyone in favor of shutting it down.

In reality, a government shutdown is just about meaningless.  There's a handful of workers that will stay home, the "non-essential" workers, and others who will show up and work without pay.  They'll all get that lost pay once the shutdown is over.  A year ago, in the "Schumer shutdown", government workers got an extra 3-day weekend.  I don't think I've ever met someone who didn't like a long weekend, so the scary shutdown meant nothing to anyone.  

You may be hearing background stories everywhere predicting a recession in 2019.  I suspect some (most?) of these predictions are because it's the best thing that could happen to Democrats in their quest for power.  With a booming economy, any president is hard to beat along with any incumbents from their party.  Professional financial advisors are more upbeat than the typical press stories.  In context, the Fed kept rates at historic lows for most of 2008-2015.  For most of that time the rates were negative in real terms - less than the inflation rate.  They created trillions of dollars out of nothing to get more spending (which, in the Keynesian world view, is the same as real economic growth).  Now they need to put the brakes on and raise interest rates, which they've been doing since 2015.  In a boom time, even Keynes himself said that government spending should go down.  Instead we get a nearly $900 Billion dollar farm bill and deficits going up.

(That flat line at zero from 2008 - 2016 is what I mean by historically low.  The Fed's rate had never hit zero before and the only way they could have gone lower would be if savers weren't paid interest, but instead had to pay interest to save - chart from ZeroHedge). 


  1. Aesop:

    Let's be fair: that flat period?
    The rate was below zero, because inflation.

    If you calculate even the mostly fraudulent CPI into the mix, we've been at flat rates since 1992 or so, and negative interest every year the CPI was higher than the fed rate. Like now.

    The Fed Funds Rate graph above is merely pretending accounting tricks (going back decades) are reality.

    When inflation has eaten your interest pretty much non-stop since the 1960s, it's all a giant con, for the lifetime of nearly everyone reading this.

  2. Lets be honest.....Government 'shutdowns' are NEVER actually a SHUTDOWN. What they end up being is a punitive exercise where the helpless get shafted by having payments and benefits withheld while most of the parasites working for the government continue to get paid. There has never been a TOTAL shutdown. Just the cessation of funding for selected groups....groups selected by careful calculation to foment anger and rage that commie media whores can use for whatever purpose their commie demonrat masters wish.

  3. Let's be even MORE honest:

    There have already been seven bills passed to fund parts of the government for the rest of the fiscal year. Haven't been able to find a good list, but this was the status back in September:
    Do note that one of the first bills they passed funded the legislative shithole.

    1. Looking at that sideways, it makes a long shutdown more likely from one point of view and less likely from another.

      More likely: "everyone we care about is funded, let's shut the others down till we get what we want"

      Less likely: "if people realize they can get along just fine without 10% of the government and maybe they'd realize they can get along fine with even less"

  4. This year, if there is a shutdown it will be a small one, since as Mark mentioned, most of the government is already funded. However, in the past some shutdowns have been more significant - many agencies, including where I work, are mostly 'non-essential' employees. The facility I work in has 1 'essential' employee out of about 100.
    It also depends on how the shutdown is enforced - the last one under Obama, he ordered it to be as painful as possible and enforcement of it, especially in DC, got stupid!

    1. I remember that one! I almost lifted a quote from the piece I wrote about it:
      Obama - vindictive, obnoxious little prick that he is - made a point of shutting down things that were popular, such as public lands, memorials and parks which cost more to put roadblocks and barricades on than to leave open.

      Then I felt bad about reusing too much out of old columns.

  5. It's kabuki theater at its finest, and means nothing. It gives politicians an excuse to talk in front of a camera.