Everybody is sticking to his or her talking points on the looming federal shutdown, including President Barack Obama. At a brief press conference where he took not a single question, the president said absolutely nothing unexpected about the fight between the two parties. From USA Today’s quick post-speech coverage:
President Obama blamed an imminent government shutdown on House Republicans Monday, and said his health care plan is "moving forward" despite GOP efforts to de-fund it.
"You can't shut it down," Obama told reporters at the White House.
Obama also said a partial government shutdown -- which would start at midnight unless there is an 11th hour deal -- will damage economic recovery and hurt "real people right away."
Obama said the shutdown will close federal offices, delay checks, close parks, and damage loan programs.
Meanwhile, Social Security, Medicare, mail, and public safety functions will continue despite the shutdown, Obama said.
"The federal government is America's largest employer," Obama said. "These Americans are our neighbors."
That the federal government is the country’s largest employer has always been a problem. To my perpetual annoyance, the president – like any government official defending employee spending – invoked the concept of economic multipliers, the notion that wages generate and grow a local economy as the money is spent in the community, thereby creating wealth. It’s frustrating when government officials invoke economic multipliers because the money they spend is forcibly taken from the community in the first place. These are not voluntary exchanges where the consumer receives something of value in exchange for the producer receiving more than the cost to create that thing (in fact, the exact opposite often happens given the lack of incentives for efficiency). When a government official invokes economic multipliers, he or she inevitably doesn’t consider what might have been done with that money if the government never collected it in the first place.
Anyway, that’s my angry rant over the president’s speech. Watch the speech below and find your own reasons to rant:
*All apologies to Homer Simpson.
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