The Right Opinion

Shut Down the Government

By Matt Towery · Feb. 18, 2011

It sounds harsh and cruel, but U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s threat to shut down all but essential federal government services if the Democrats on Capitol Hill can’t actually reign in spending is not only the fiscally responsible approach, it is also one that would be popular with the public.

Enough with the gamesmanship of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the silliness of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. It’s time for Republicans to let America know that the GOP means business – cut the budget deeply, or shut her down!

In January, InsiderAdvantage conducted a national survey of voters who identified themselves as either Republicans or independent voters. Those two demographic segments make up the majority of the nation’s current electorate. In the survey, we recited in a very straightforward manner the shutdown of government that House Republicans imposed in November 1995 and then again from Dec. 16, 1995, until Jan. 6, 1996.

Then we asked, “What is your opinion of the actions the Republican-led majority took in temporarily shutting down nonessential services for short periods of time to, in the words of their leader, ‘prove to the president we were serious about a balanced budget?’” Seventy-one percent had a favorable opinion of that shutdown, and 59 percent said they had a “very favorable” opinion of it. (We polled more than 1,000 respondents, for a margin of error of plus or minus three percent.)

Boehner has been portrayed as a middle-of-the-road, cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat speaker. It’s said that he is trying to hold together a fractious GOP conference of House members. That is a typical Washington, inside-the-Beltway attempt to oversimplify both a man and his party.

Here’s the truth: Republicans know darn well that they must put their money – or the lack thereof – where their mounts were last November. That means they must back up their campaign promises then with meaty budget cuts now. And no, the White House’s proposal of a largely symbolic freeze on new (and higher) spending won’t suffice.

A genuine, GOP-backed shutdown would most likely happen if the House refused to pass a continuing resolution for the long-suffering budget that was to be passed last year; or if there was an effort to sustain spending at its current, bloated levels.

That would mean that in early March, the federal government would no longer have funding. What a wonderful, liberating feeling that would be! Imagine a week or two of no federal government – save the military and other essential services. No mindless work at the Department of Education. No new administrative edicts at the Environmental Protection Agency. The list could go on and on.

Having ridden one of these shutdowns out with a former Republican speaker, I can already prepare folks for what they know already will happen. The media establishment in New York and Washington will skewer Boehner and the Republicans. They’ll claim that the speaker is caving in to the “tea party” element of his Republican House membership.

Then the stories will pop up about some poor souls who didn’t get some services or entitlements that government usually delivers. There will be stories of government workers, stuck in their freezing houses without a job. Hearts will bleed, and those brilliant women on “The View” will probably work themselves up into such frenzy that, save the show’s one conservative token host, they will all stomp off the stage in protest, or at least we can only hope so.

President Barack Obama and Sen. Reid simply did not get the message that the American people sent them in November. That Obama’s approval ratings have risen, for what I consider to have been an adequate job of dealing with the Egyptian crisis, should not be misread as an endorsement of his fiscal policies or his domestic agenda.

If anything, Americans are horrified to learn that they sent billions of dollars to support an ally, only to learn that the dictatorial leader of Egypt likely skimmed much of the money off for himself. That’s hardly “foreign aid you can believe in.”

The GOP must stand its ground on the budget deficit, regardless of what the so-called “mainstream media” thinks about their efforts. It only took two short shutdowns before former President Bill Clinton started working toward deficit reductions and a balanced budget. Let’s see if President Obama will learn the same lesson, and by the same hard way.



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Cindy said:

The weeper of the house has gotten a false impression that the GOP was elected to rob the people of their SS and he and the other GOP's are fixing to get a rude awakening because the people are getting tired of hearing them think up lies and ways to steal the people's money. They were not elected to go after SS. They were elected to do something about jobs since the Obama administration neglected do to so. Sure some didn't like Obamacare but polls show that more do than don't. The GOP are making the same mistake as the democrats did. Doing everything except what they were elected to do yet they keeps saying the people put us here to steal their money! HELLO!!! They are going to keep on until there is an uprising here worse than what went on in Egypt. They need to look up in the dictionary on what the word NO means before they completely destroy this country!

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 2:39 AM

Graceakins said:

Shut It Down!!!

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 2:40 AM

Pamela Heckel said:

Here's how Reagan "created" jobs: lower taxes, less regulation. Sounds perfect to me. Where to start? DOE, DOJ, EPA, DOL, DOEd, DHS......

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 9:29 AM

Sammy said:

Cindy, What kind of fantasy world do you live in? How do you figure the GOP is out to steal "your" money? Unless of course you are in that very large group that does not pay taxes and are on the dole from the government.

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 10:19 AM

Todd Mac said:

My kids bought me a t-shirt for Christmas that says, "I work hard so millions on welfare don't have to." POTUS doesn't hold the nation's purse strings, the Congress does. Shut it down...

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 12:54 PM

Howard Last in Wyoming said:

Remember back in 1995 when kommandant klinton started to shut down parks and monuments because the Congress would not approve the budget. The Republican leadership (still an oxymoron) led by Gingrich could not jump fast enough to pass the budget. Gingrich castigated House members that would not go along. What makes anyone think the republicans have gotten the jello in their spines replaced with steel.Cindy - can you tell me which section of the Constitution authorizes social security. By the way I am not a kid, I am 66 and had money stolen from me for it. What else but steeling would you call taking money under duress. Don't pay your FICA tax and see what happens. Call social security by its correct name, "Stealing from your children and grandchildren."

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Jody said:

To paraphrase the '60's, "What if they gave a Government and nobody came?"Shut it down!!

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 1:43 PM

CharlieEcho said:

Shut down all the non-essentials governments outlays. Replace some with private employers. We need to flux this boiling pot.

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 1:53 PM

Tex Horn said:

As Larry the Cable Guy might say: "Shut 'er down!" It's commendable that the Republicans have a goal of cutting 100 billion from the budget, a very small percentage of the actual budget, but this citizen would like to see much larger cuts. The debates have centered around cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, but if the Department of Energy, the Department of Education, the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services and the USPS were eliminated, perhaps the aging population could breathe a sigh of relief as regards Medicare and Medicaid. All are a joke perpetuated on the American public and the related issues could easily be managed by the states and the laid off people could be hired by the states. Until Republicans consider this, I for one am not taking them seriously as relates to cuts. And what about the cuts recommended by Obama's own select panel? And what about the dire warnings they issued if dramatic cuts aren't made? Are Americans deaf? Why aren't we in the streets demanding the ouster of this failed government as Obama himself suggested was a great idea for the Egyptians, and for many of the same reasons?

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Peter said:

Constitution of the United States of America - Amendment 28 Article 1: In the fiscal year following ratification of this amendment, the power of Congress to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, excises, or fees, henceforth called Revenue, shall not exceed thirty percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the preceding fiscal year. The fiscal year begins on October 1 for the next calendar year.Article 2: In the second and subsequent years following ratification of this amendment the power of Congress to lay and collect Revenue shall decrease by one percent each year until the percent shall be ten percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the preceding fiscal year. Ten percent of the previous year’s GDP shall henceforth be the permanent maximum Revenue. So there is no misunderstanding — in the first year maximum Revenue shall be 30% of previous GDP; second year, 29% GDP; third year, 28% GDP; twenty-first year, 10%; twenty-second year, 10%, twenty-third year, 10%; etc.Article 3: In each fiscal year following ratification of this amendment, Congress shall decrease the total debt of the United States of America by three percent until the total debt shall be 500 billion dollars or less, at which time the entire debt of the United States of America shall be reduced to zero, after which time, the debt of the United States of America must be zero at the end of every fiscal year.Article 4: In any fiscal year in which total expenditures of the United States of America exceed total Revenue of the United States of America, or in which Congress fails to accomplish the debt reduction of Article 3, or in which Congress has failed to ratify a budget for the following fiscal year before the first day of the following fiscal year, three fourths of the members of the Senate and three fourths of the members of the House of Representatives, chosen by lot, shall be removed from office on the last Tuesday of March of the following calendar year, on which day a special election shall be held to choose their replacements for full or partial terms. No member of Congress so removed shall ever be permitted to hold any elective office in the government of the United States of America, or to be employed by the government of the United States of America.Article 5: Congress must contract with three non-governmental entities to determine the Gross Domestic Product, total expenditures, and total Revenues of the previous fiscal year. The three entities must agree on the figures to be presented to Congress by the last Friday of February of the calendar year following the fiscal year evaluated. No entity so contracted shall be eligible to be contracted again for a period of ten years.Article 6: Congress is prohibited from making loans to any entity.Article 7: Congress is prohibited from making the United States of America a guarantor of any loan

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Jim said:

shut it down - eliminate Dept of Energy, Education and EPA, etc. - privatize what is left and let the states oversee - Federal Gov't. should only do what is constitutionally mandated to do - very simple - people living off the people who actually get up every day and go to work: get off your butts and find a job.

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 4:45 PM

TheVonz said:

GOP - you were elected to stop this deficit spending and debt. Balance the budget NOW, and start paying-off the debt - NOW.Totally defund the HealthCare "laws" and all regulations and beauracacy associated.Totally defund the czars.Eliiminate this unconstitutional and illegal government - NOW. Bring them up on charges of Treason as enemies of the US Domestic !!!Shut it down !!!

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 7:03 PM

Jan said:

You really are an ignorant moron

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Richard Ryan said:

Cindy; Just wondering what planet you`re from.Every thing you have stated is exactly ass-backwards.Get a life!Richard RyanLamar,Missouri (Birthplace of Harry S Truman)

Friday, February 18, 2011 at 10:36 PM

JjStryder said:

A Government shutdown! I'm praying every day! The longer the better! Then the American people will see that life goes on, the world will not crumble, government is a hindrance and it's only function is self preservation. Americans are charitable, we will not let our neighbors starve. The sooner we re-learn these truths the better! Then, maybe, we can get back to real Constitutional principals. Again, I'm praying every day!

Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 11:26 AM