debt ceiling bill

Armageddon is Just Four Days Away


We’re on a collision course with a government shutdown that can potentially cause chaos and hardship for millions. Essential services hang in the balance, yet all we get from Washington is a pathetic blame game. Both parties are locked in a dance of dysfunction, seemingly oblivious to the real-world consequences of their inaction. It’s a glaring showcase of leadership failure, a disaster in the making that they’re all too willing to thrust upon the American people. This demonstration of bad governance is a deliberate dive into anarchy. And we’re all about to get caught in the fallout.

Today we bear the gravest news:

Elements of the United States government will “shut down” midnight Friday — absent bipartisan resolution to keep it in funds.

Some 20% of the federal apparatus will be padlocked and chained.

And as Uncle Samuel’s doors swing shut… Pandora’s hellish box will swing open.

You will have each and every species of calamity on your hands.

Chaos and old night? You will have it in heaping doses — and then some more.

The Washington Post:

Even a partial shutdown would trouble federal food assistance programs — including WIC, an emergency nutrition program for women, infants and children that is already contending with a budget shortfall… Federal housing vouchers, which support 5 million families, could be temporarily endangered. Government scientists would stop tracing and studying animal-borne diseases.

Life and Death

“The stakes really couldn’t be higher,” affirms a certain Allison Johnson.

Ms. Johnson directs an outfit labeling itself ParentsTogether Action. More from whom:

A breastfeeding mother knows all too well the feeling of how hungry you get. The sound of a newborn baby crying because they don’t have enough formula, that is a sound that all parents know. It’s pretty harrowing to think that could be happening across the board.

Just so. Yet we may be in store for even worse… and horror may well succeed horror…

The remaining 80% of the federal apparatus will join the harrowingly idle 20% the following Friday, March 8 — again, in the absence of bipartisan resolution.

Can you imagine it? The entire government of the United States plunging into coma?

Yet take some measure of comfort. That is because fragments of federal enterprise would proceed without hinder.

Essential Workers

By law, federal workers declared essential to the Republic’s safety will remain in post — the snoozing customs official at Ketchikan, Alaska — for example.

The Transportation Security Administration will continue guarding the aerial ways against infants, great-grandmothers, wheelchair-riders and related cutthroats.

Air traffic controllers of the Federal Aviation Administration will continue setting aircraft on colliding courses.

In event of armed invasion, the 1st Infantry Division of the United States Army will thunder from their barracks.

Meantime, Social Security checks will still go issuing through the mails.

We are nonetheless warned that the nation perches upon Satan’s shovel… unless the two political parties at Washington can sink their differences… and consent to keep the United States government pegging along.

Who is to blame for the impossible impasse?

“It’s their fault,” shriek Democrats. “It’s their fault,” howl Republicans.

We hazard both are correct. We further hazard both are incorrect.

Who Will Blink First?

Will the United States government partially — or fully — shutter its doors?

Partially perhaps. Yet not fully.

And we hazard Republicans will blink their eyes before Democrats blink their eyes.

Why? Because this is an election year. And Republicans quake in fear. Fear, that is, of absorbing blame.

Again, The Washington Post:

Governing-minded Republican lawmakers [are] privately worrying that their party will bear the political consequences of a shutdown in this fall’s elections as the GOP strives to hold on to its narrow House majority and flip the Senate and White House.

For that precise reason Republicans will strike their colors… and surrender their vessel to the enemy.

We will devour each of these words — without salt to flavor them — if mistaken.

Evil and Stupid

The late Joseph Sobran labeled Democrats “the evil party.” He labeled Republicans “the stupid party.”

Thus he concluded that “bipartisanship” yields outcomes both evil and stupid.

We believe this Sobran fellow landed his axe upon the root of the dilemma.

Under stupid and evil bipartisanship the nation gutters beneath $34.2 trillion of debt.

This debt gallops by the hour, by the day, by the week, by the month, by the year.

The nation’s economic output — meantime — does not.

Its debt-to-GDP ratio runs presently to a growth-sapping 122%.

By 2028 its debt-to-GDP ratio will likely attain a growth-murdering 150%.

And so fiscal responsibility lies beneath six feet of earth.

It is dead beyond all hope of recall.

The Bipartisan Murder of Fiscal Responsibility

We expect Democrats to spend money grandly and gorgeously.

Since Roosevelt the Second they have proceeded from the identical electoral blueprint.

Then you have Republicans.

In times distant Republicans existed for two purposes: to lower taxes — and to square the ledgers.

Like a sour old schoolmarm with steel in her eye and a rattan in her hand… they might not have been popular.

Yet you knew where they were. And you could trust them — to some extent at least — with the national chequebook.

But these Republicans are no more.

They have followed the route of fedoras, monocles and spats.

What Happened to the Old-Time Religion?

As we have maintained before: They turned from the old-time fiscal religion, made their peace with Big Government… and got elected.

They labeled the spartan old religion “root canal economics.”

Republicans instead sat at the feet of Mr. Arthur Laffer, with his famous curve.

They could spend like Democrats while scarcely touching the taxpayer.

Deficits do not matter in the new catechism.

Only a few old-time fiscal religionists linger on. They serve merely as angels of conscience… perched upon the sinful shoulders of their fellows.

Thus you can expect bipartisan resolution of the present budgetary impasse.

That is, you can expect a mighty booting of the budgetary soda can down the roadway.

“Never underestimate the ability of Washington to kick the can down the road,” affirmed one Republican congressman during the last impasse.

We do not, Congressman. We do not.

They’d Never Allow a True Government Shutdown

Let it enter the record: Congress will never allow a true government shutdown worthy of the expression.

Too many would simply stand to lose too much.

Too many are angling to get a bucket in the stream. To get a snout in the trough. To catch a penny… to pick a pocket… or two pockets… or 330 million pockets.

Thus the political combats before us reduce to theater, to showy spectacle.

As we have argued before: They resemble a professional wrestling bout — with its artificial blows and false blood.

They are staged affairs.

In the congressional example one fellow attempts to wring concessions from the other… to make his eyes blink first.

The other fellow pursues an identical result. Each knows that to get, he must give.

And so horses are traded, backs are scratched, palms are greased.

A deal is reached. And reelection is assured.

The nation — meantime — plunges deeper into the fiscal deeps.

As we have also argued previously:

If you seek elected officials taking courageous action guided by principle… if it is statesmanship you are after… you will not find it in Washington, D.C.

It is the wrong address.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Reckoning

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