A couple of the post-Shutdown wrap-ups on the web today are crying about the horrible fall-out of the 16-day furlough for roughly 17% of our Federal Government. In each article, the consensus is the same: the Shutdown had a “crushing” effect on everything from the economy itself, to cancer research, to farm subsidies, and so on, and so forth…
Yet missing in all of the teeth-gnashing and rending of garments is (to me, at least) a fairly obvious question: “why”? WHY would a brief delay in operation of a relatively small percentage of our federal bureaucracy bring about The New Apocalypse?
The question is missing, because they don’t want to even hint at the answer: our Government is doing far, far too much, …THAT’s why.
(via Politico) – “…Harold Varmus, the director of the National Cancer Institute, said in a memo last week that the shutdown was already having “serious effects” on the review of thousands of grant applications that threatens significant delays “even if the NIH reopens relatively soon.”
The prospect of a delay in getting grant applications processed worries Mathieu Wimmer, a University of Pennsylvania neuroscientist who relies on NIH funding to study cocaine addiction. It takes months, or even years, of planning to secure federal funding, and the shutdown leaves him in something of a Catch-22. “If we get a disruption in funding, that will delay our data collection, and that will delay our ability to get more funding,” he said.
Even with Congress moving toward an agreement to reopen the government after a 16-day lapse, several scientists said they are concerned that the same problems will emerge by the next budget deadline in mid-January. Another funding lapse could mean flushing away years of work in the natural sciences, in particular any real-time research dealing with astronomy or the environment…”
Did you catch that? Funding is so necessary, basically, because it enables… more funding. Kinda sounds like these folks are studying the wrong “addiction”, if you know what I mean.
And is the government the only entity able to do this? Is this so essential that only the feds can fund it, with our tax dollars? If it were so crucial to our lives, I’d think that the Private Sector might be able to do a better (and likely less expensive) job of it, provided they weren’t competing with the Government for the same scientists and researchers. Just sayin’…
(via Bloomberg) – The 16-day halt in operations at many federal agencies shaved at least 0.6 percent from fourth-quarter 2013 gross domestic product growth, or taken $24 billion out of the U.S. economy, Standard & Poor’s said yesterday.
The cost of restarting the government is hard to tabulate. A study conducted by the OMB after the fiscal 1996 shutdown pegged the closing’s cost at $1.4 billion, or about $2 billion in today’s money. That figure didn’t include costs incurred when workers returned, though those expenses were termed “significant” by John Koskinen, deputy director of management at OMB during the previous shutdown, during a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Civil Service in December 1996.
The message we’re obviously supposed to glean from these reports is that this was The Most Worstest Thing Ever, and must Never Be Allowed To Happen Again!!1!!!!
Is government supposed to be so inextricable to our very lives that a mere hiccup in the gushing firehose of federal cash necessarily leads to years of destruction and waste? Further, are we to believe that the feds are so finely-tuned that even a blink in the avalanche of money leads inevitably to famine and pestilence?
And lastly, has life in the United States now become so precarious that we cannot do without even a 17% reduction of our Federal Nanny, and that for barely more than a fortnight?
Because if that truly is the case, then it’s the best argument AGAINST governmental spending, intervention and overreach ever made.