Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Government shutdown...

I'd like to make perfectly clear at this point, before it happens, the striking resemblance I see in the looming government shutdown to a story from my youth.

Most of us have heard the story. It's from the Old Testament, a story to show how wise Solomon was as king of the nation of Israel.
Two women come to Solomon to settle a dispute. Both claim that the same baby boy is in fact their own infant. The child is mine, cries one woman. No, she lies, the child is mine, wails the other. So Solomon thinks for a moment, and announces his decision: it cannot be decided, so the child will be cut in half and split evenly between the two of you.
And the king said, "Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other." Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, "Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death." But the other said, "He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him." Then the king answered and said, "Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother." And all Israel heard of the judgment that the king had rendered, and they stood in awe of the king, because they perceived that the wisdom of God was in him to do justice. (1 Kings 3:25-28, ESV)
Ok, American public, you want to know who loves you more? You want to know who really has your best interests at heart? It's the one who says, in order to keep the system going and to prevent a complete government shutdown, "oh, my lord, give her the living child." It's the side that caves first in the budget debate, because in doing so they realize that at least the entire system won't come to a jarring halt. It will be the side that seems to give in, because they know it's the only way to keep you alive. Not that I wish for it - we shouldn't give up all of the federally-funded programs that benefit the majority of American citizens. I hope I'm wrong. I really do. But right now it seems rather obvious to me that one side is going to concede the debate in order to ultimately save the object of the debate.

And I promise you it won't be the Republicans.


  1. It is maddening. Not to mention that the underlying economic rationale on the Republican side relates to reality as antiparticles relate to particles. Government spending is the only thing keeping the economy going right now. So the Republican program is a two-fer: impairing the economy and thus impairing Obama's political position, and reducing the public purposes that the government serves. Plus they get various pet projects, like killing any action on climate change, anti-women's right policies, etc.. Can I move to another country?

  2. I've written many letters to my representatives recently, only to be told via form letter that "we have to cut spending in order to reduce the deficit." Can't we also increase taxes in order to reduce the deficit? Or, better yet, can't we stop treating the deficit as though it's just a gigantic credit card bill?
    Makes me want to defect, too.

  3. I suspect that there are some in Congress who understand that the federal deficit is not the problem people think it is. If they are Democrats, they are probably too wimpy to counter the accepted paradigm. If they are Republicans, they probably realize that weakening the already weak economy through spending cuts will make Obama's reelection more difficult.

  4. Update, Friday, T-Minus 8.5 hours and counting...

    "Boehner said he was confident that Democratic lawmakers would persuade 'Reid and our commander in chief to keep the government from shutting down.'" You see, the rhetoric has already begun.



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