Over at CNN.com, Reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch argues that shutting the federal government down today, no matter how tasty, could have potentially negative effects on the long-term prospects for fiscal and budget reform. The piece begins like this:
Please don't get me wrong: As an American, I would swell with patriotic glee if the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development were unable for a few hours or even weeks to do their dirty business. As a resident of the federally funded District of Columbia, I would be relieved if my cartoonishly corrupt local government missed out on a few direct deposits. And as a libertarian, I relish the prospect of a demonstration of how inessential most government services are.
But as someone who has been making the case since George W. Bush's first term that the federal government is growing at a rate that is literally, even admittedly, unsustainable, I fear that taking the keys from the Winnebago of state will redirect the national conversation away from the urgent business of long-term reform and toward the short-term theatrics of a political cage match.