Government Shutdown

More Government Shutdown, Please


Capitol building in Logan's Run
Logan's Run

As Jesse Walker pointed out, approximately 80 percent of federal workers are still on the job, poking and prodding us in the usual fashion on this, the first day of AnarchFest 2013. Arizona Public Radio reports that National Park Service workers have been told to report as usual to Grand Canyon, though some will be sent home, others will be stationed at the gates to turn people away, and still others will be sent to the overlooks which are outside the park gates and remain open. Somebody was also detailed to pull NPS Websites offline to emphasize just how shut-down it is. Clearly, the apocalypse is upon us. Or…maybe the good folks at the NPS and their colleagues elsewhere are concerned that we all might discover just how much we don't need them.

National Park Service shutdown
National Park Service

Tunring people away from the gates of national parks might be a high-visibility outcome of the not-really-a-shutdown, but it's not much of a demonstration of how much we need our vast government bureaucracies. When Arizona went through its own budget crunch in 2010 and closed 13 parks, a private company, Recreation Resource Management, offered to take over the seven largest of the parks and pay the state for the privilege. The company said it would even consider taking over some of the smaller money-losers as part of the package.

State park officials were not thrilled, as you might imagine. I don't suppose the National Park Service wants to be shown up, either. As a matter of fact, (shhh…don't tell anybody) lots of parks are already run by private companies who handle everything but law enforcement—let's face it, collecting money at gates, maintaining campgrounds, running shuttles, and flipping burgers for hungry tourists are not really core government functions beyond the competency of the private sector.

And yet parks seem to feature on everybody's list of government shutdown-related disaster. The Huffington Post's Adam Goldberg warns us that we'll have to do without:

NATIONAL PARKS, MUSEUMS (AND PANDAS!): The country's national parks would be forced to close without a government funding deal, as would Smithsonian Museums, disappointing countless potential visitors. But humans wouldn't be the only victims of a shutdown. The National Zoo would close and turn off its panda cams, which means no more livestreaming of adorable pandas.

The Atlanta Zoo's (privately funded) panda cam is still up and running, by the way, if you need a fix.

Goldberg also warns that food inspectors, EPA bureaucrats and and public health specialists will go away. Maybe this is our chance to discover if we ever needed them? Or, if we ever needed them provided by the federal government, anyway. Perhaps we've grown just a tad too dependent on federal bureaucrats and services that even the federal government labels "nonessential."

Once started, government programs are notoriously difficult to end because they develop a constituency that likes getting its goodies and soon can't imagine life without a tax-funded agency. The constituency for ending any given program is rarely as motivated as those who come to rely on that program.

But, right now, the government is suspending a few programs of its own accord. We already know that some (we're looking at you, park management) could be carried out privately, and perhaps even earn revenue for depleted federal coffers. It's a good time to learn how many other could disappear from our lives without really being missed. What services we can live without is something we sincerely need to explore at a time when the federal government is doing far more than we can afford.

NEXT: MSNBC Reporter Quits Obamacare Sign Up Demo After Glitches: "This Is Where My Patience Would Be Exhausted"

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. One rule of government employment I have discovered after observing these battles for the last few years: never work for a public-facing agency if you don’t want to be furloughed.

    1. As all right-thinking people know, budget cuts have to be as painful as possible, while paying taxes has to be as painless as possible. This is just the natural order of things, and any benefits to the growth of the Total State are purely coincidental.

    2. Don’t feel sorry for them. These people are going to get a paid vacation. After every such shutdown the government bureaucrats got back pay. These parasites are not getting hurt as bad as they are pretending they are.

  2. That Adam Goldberg link was all mine! Now I know what it feels like to be spurned a hat tip.

    1. Come and sit next to me, CPA, and we can drown our sadness together.

    2. Hat tip whiners are pathetic.

      1. LEAVE ME ALONE.

        *Wipes away tears, lays head in Tonio’s lap*

        1. I feel your pain. Tucille did the same to me once.

        2. There, there, CPA.

  3. Unless the Panda mauls a visitor, I don’t need to watch footage of it.

    1. I’m not sure how exciting the National cam was, but the Atlanta cam seems to show a motionless panda in a white box.

      1. Wrong link dude. That’s the NJ governer’s mansion.

        1. I just spat on my computer screen.

        2. What did the pandas ever do to you, Hugh?

  4. I’m a little unclear on how much discretion the administration has with this “shutdown” (I highly object to the general use of a term that is almost entirely inaccurate). They clearly have some discretion; otherwise, the hits wouldn’t always include consumer-facing government activities like parks.

    1. Something tells me that they havn’t turned off the electricity in Park Service headquarters, so it’s something of a mystery why they can’t keep the web server running.

      1. No, that part isn’t a mystery. People should be really aware of this variety of fraud, given that most states and localities have engaged in it in recent years.

      2. No, the servers are running, otherwise you’d get a “server not found” message.

        1. Perhaps they’re on loan to the NSA during these dark days.

        2. Oh, I see. So they actually spent money to redirect people to a “sorry no website” service. Even though it would have cost ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to let the website keep running.

          1. Yes, this is exactly it.

            My organization that runs (in addition to other things) web-based services would have to put extra staff on hand to ‘shut down’ those services. They largely run on autopilot if left alone. This just how bullshit this shutdown is.

            1. I’m curious as to what actually has to be shutdown that matters, without silly discretionary moves like this.

              1. I don’t think “silly” is exactly the right word. A better term is “malicious” or perhaps “thuggish”.

                1. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

                2. I meant silly as in “Satanic.”

              2. They had to shut down the growing of the trees.

                1. They had to shut down the growing of the trees.

                  yes, by building a massive structure around the tree to keep it from getting taller.

              3. Im curious where they get the money to run the “essential” services.

                1. Im curious where they get the money to run the “essential” services.

                  Someone didn’t pay attention in social studies.

                  By borrowing from the home equity loan.

  5. In another case of Washington Monument Syndrome, the Naval Academy has reported that the “DOD has suspended all intercollegiate athletic competitions at the Service Academies”

    1. So they’re forfeiting games?

      1. Who would even notice? The triple option offense is just not viable, even in college football.

        1. You know, the service academies should use their tactical training to come up with insane new strategies for football. Like a run-only offense that never punts or kicks field goals. With goons on the lines.

          1. If a single team in a league committed to such a run heavy strategy, and draft/recruited with that in mind, they could probably do pretty well. The other team wouldn’t have enough defensive lineman to stop all the blocking.

            1. BC had a shit-ton of crazy run schemes against FSU last week. Mostly because the QB only threw to one receiver, open or not. But I do credit the coach with putting the best offense he could on the field. I imagine he will recruit his athletes over the next few years, but yeah.

              1. You have to commit to it for it to work, but with defenses all almost entirely focused on speed, it could tear a hole in the fabric of the football universe.

                1. but with defenses all almost entirely focused on speed

                  This is the key, and why I said it would work “if a single team” did it.

                  1. It would work, and when it did, at least some of the NFL would follow suit, and most of it would try to defend against it. Which would bring back the forward pass.

          2. That’s almost what Navy has now. Ultimately they academies just don’t belong in the FBS. They can’t sign players who are big enough since they would all have to meet the weight limits for their respective services. Even now Navy relies on almost-chop-blocks to compensate.

            Sports carry a lot more inherent limitations on tactical innovation than wars. I’d much rather lead a weaker force into war than into a sporting event.

            1. cut block are not “almost chop blocks”.

              I guess technically they are 1/2 of a chop block.

              But see is a regular high block.

  6. I find this strategy by the administration amusing. I remember during the last shutdown all of the news stories about how horrible it was that they were being forced (by the evil, extremist republicans) to close the national parks, etc. They kept listing off places that actually turn a profit by staying open, and don’t save any money by closing. Yet nobody seemed to notice the obvious deception.

    Closing down the Zoo (which charges admission) or the Panda-cam doesn’t actually save much if any money. The keepers still have to show up, the vets still have to care for the animals and the feed still has to be bought and taken to the animals. The only people not working are the ticket-takers and vendors – the people who provide revenue. So it is obvious that the intention is to make a good “isn’t this awful” story for the news and annoy constituents, not to save the money that hasn’t been appropriated.

    1. And THAT’S the real story Cyto. People should and would be outraged by the the OBVIOUS deception, but the media’s tongues are shoved so far up the government’s ass they can’t tell the story.

    2. the zoo doesn’t charge admission.

  7. It’s so ridiculous. I’m 100% positive that the power, water, and electricity is NOT turned off in the National Park Service offices in DC. But yet they felt the need to shut of the web server.
    Because running the flipping web server is so difficult and epensive and requires so much man-power, I’m sure. it would just be impossible to keep it running. Unlike the electricity in the building.

    1. The server is still running. If it was off, it wouldn’t still be displaying the park service’s background shit.

      1. You’re right. They are basically denying people access to the website as a big publicity stunt.
        For no other reason than to pressure the Republicans to do what they want.

        And they accuse the Republicans of being “terrorists”?

    2. It’s all a stunt. The Department of Interior is costing taxpayers more than it was yesterday because its customers are not creating revenue from park admissions, etc.

      The variable cost of admitting visitors is far less than the admission fees.

      Do purchasers of an annual park pass have grounds to sue the Parks Department for willful failure to make good on their contract?

  8. The National Zoo Panda cam says it is sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund but they shut it down anyways. I say break the lease and deport those pandas back to their Chi-com owners.

  9. others will be stationed at the gates to turn people away

    Because people couldn’t just go into a park unsupervised. I mean, look what happened to our National Forests…er wait…

    1. They are just saving money!

      … By paying people to stand around.

      1. They are spending money to actively deny people entry to publicly owned lands, so that they can extort same people to pay more in taxes, even though the use of public lands is already more than paid for by the fees those people pay.

  10. The other thing is there is no reason the the Park Service couldn’t be spun off into an independent self-financing agency, like the Postal Service. Not quite privatization, but there’s no reason they couldn’t keep operating while other parts of the government are shut down, using their own financing.



      Deliveries will continue as usual because the US Postal Service receives no tax dollars for day-to-day operations. It relies on income from stamps and other postal fees to keep running.

      1. It relies on income from stamps and other postal fees to keep running.

        So… wouldn’t that mean that parks/etc should stay open too?

        1. You don’t pay to get into a park.

          That would be racist.

          1. Well, you usually pay to get into a zoo.

          2. You also pay to get into a park.

            1. I stand corrected.



          3. Depends on the park. Some national parks (ie, Skyline Drive) are fee (pay to enter) areas. At least for vehicular traffic.

        2. Right. if the Park Service was an indpendent agency like the Postal Service, they could keep running in the event of a shutdown.

          The Republicans should propose doing that in their next round of budget negotiations. Why should the national parks close if they can keep operating on their own fees?

    2. HAH! You expect the federal government to give up power willingly?

      How cute.

    3. It should be. This is why the parks are in such lousy shape. The Congress keeps all of the money and doesn’t invest it back in the parks. The park service should be a public corporation that charges admission and then uses the money to take care of the parks. But Congress would not be able to steal the money then. And we couldn’t have that. So they just scream about how evil it would be to turn our national parks over to a corporation. You know because the first thing a corporation would do would destroy all of its money making assets.

      1. The path of least resistance is to turn it into something like the Postal Service.

        Nobody attacks the postal service for being a “corporation”.

        1. so that congress can put all kinds of stupid rules on it, and then complain that its losing money?

  11. What, you expect them to shut down agencies that nobody notices or cares about? People might think the federal government doesn’t do anything, then!

  12. Did anyone catch the Schoolcraft story on This American Life? A couple weeks ago.


    1. There was a time when that would have been a national scandal.


    2. 3 years ago, according to the date on it. But… never heard it before, I don’t think. Will download it and add it to the drive-time podcast rotation.

  13. A friend of my sisters wrote one FB “(He) is astonished to learn that only 54% of Americans hold unfavorable views of the Tea Party. I’ll be curious to see how that shifts in he next week or so.”

    I asked him why he thinks that is so astonishing, considering the media makes them out to be racists. He then got defensive and said “it’s insulting that you accuse of thinking they are racist”. So I asked what is his misapprehension about the Tea Party and his answer was “because shut up, that’s why”.

    And people wonder why the government is shut down.

    Honest debate is dead. Ted Cruz is a terrorist, but what Nidal Malik Hasan did at Fort Hood was “workplace violence”.

    Up is down, black is white.

    1. “it’s insulting that you accuse of thinking they are racist”. So I asked what is his misapprehension about the Tea Party and his answer was “because shut up, that’s why”.

      So basically, you called him out on it and he couldn’t continue the conversation for fear of being revealed as a liar.

    2. Did you have a retort for this little generalissimo?

      1. His response was “I’m not going to engage you in political conversation anymore. I don’t think you come from a point of wanting to discuss, but rather to “win,” regardless of whether you’re being fair to either the subject or the other discussant. You and I have a common interest in your sister’s well-being and I’d prefer to leave it at that.”

        Because shut up, that’s why.

        This is what liberals do, both in that discussion and in Washington. When they are wrong they make it out to seem as if they are being treated unfairly, and accuse the other of nefarious motives in order to shut down the debate. Things like “You don’t get to extract a ransom for doing your job” or “This shut down is another Republican war on women”.

        Debate is dead.

        1. regardless of whether you’re being fair to either the subject or the other discussant.

          Why would treating the subject “fairly” be a goal of discussion anyways?

          1. Basically he means “when I do it, it’s ok, but when you do it it’s unfair.”

            Typical. Elitists don’t like it when you make them look stupid.

        2. I don’t think you come from a point of wanting to discuss, but rather to “win,” regardless of whether you’re being fair to either the subject or the other discussant.

          Okay, new tactic, call him a pussy for writing that bit of newspeak.

          1. He’s my sisters friend so I have to be civil, and I usually ignore his stuff when I see it, but that particular post had a tone that kinda pissed me off so I had to respond.

            And as usual, he can’t handle it so he accuses me of treating the “discussant” unfairly.

            I have never used “discussant” in a sentence prior to this.

            1. He’s my sisters friend so I have to be civil

              Actually, you don’t.

              1. Ya you really don’t. Especially since he already not so discreetly insulted you with that bullshit.

                If he’s worth knowing then he’d take it in stride. If not, fuck him.

                1. I don’t wanna piss off my sister unnecessarily so I can just ignore him.

                  He’s only “worth knowing” because he makes her happy, if not I wouldn’t even know about him.

        3. The butt-hurt is delicious.

  14. But humans wouldn’t be the only victims of a shutdown. The National Zoo would close and turn off its panda cams, which means no more livestreaming of adorable pandas.

    God please tell me he’s joking. If he’s not I swear I’m going to go slit my wrists.

    1. There really is a lot wrong with that statement.

      Does this guy actually believe that panda gives a flying fuck if someone’s watching him on the internet?

      1. If the government doesn’t have livestreaming of cute animals NO ONE WILL!!!! Its called Market Failure you stupid fucking Teathugikkkans!

        Oh wait…forget everything I just said.

    2. Pandas don’t get victimized when their right to have their free expressions broadcast is denied?

      Are you a speciesist?

  15. lots of parks are already run by private companies who handle everything but law enforcement?let’s face it, collecting money at gates, maintaining campgrounds, running shuttles, and flipping burgers for hungry tourists are not really core government functions beyond the competency of the private sector.

    Wait, what?

    Xanterra handles the food and lodging concessions at Yellowstone. I suspect they do a better job than AFSCME could.

    1. Yep, it’s ARAMark for Shenandoah National Park (at least, last time I visited). And since law enforcement rangers are essential, this is all a charade.

  16. From the USGS river gauge site for where I live: October 1, 2013 – Due to a lapse in Federal funding, the U.S. Geological Survey must suspend those parts of its data collection and distribution processes requiring human intervention. However, automated reporting and serving of telemetered data will continue.

    At least they weren’t all douchey about it like NPS. Also the actual gauge is operated by the state; they just report.

  17. This is my big chance to homestead 10,000 prime acres in Yellowstone, and build that full-auto AK47 I’ve been yearning for.

    1. Sorry, BATFE is “essential”.

      At least, their website is up.

  18. The people who are not working do do a few things that need doing. But nothing that needs immediate doing. No one is really going to notice this for at least a month. That is why the media is in full histrionic mode. They have to lie and scream to get people to care because in reality people really shouldn’t care.

    1. There’s really not anything the federal government does beyond defense that I want them to do anyways.

    2. I’d imagine a boy scout troop with a year-long planned trip to Yellowstone will notice when they get turned away at the gates. But of course, that’s the point. How else do you foster a new generation of dependents?

      1. Not many troops make such a trip in October. This is not a big month for the parks.

        1. And now it’s made even smaller because of you teawankers.

          1. “Teabagger” isn’t vulgar enough now?

            1. Doesn’t even begin to describe it.

              Hate speech isn’t free speech, unless it’s directed at the teathugnicans.

  19. HuffPo is, er, going, um, another direction with this:…..19301.html

    11 Reasons Why A Government Shutdown Is Terrible For You

    1. That’s quite hilarious; I’m absolutely fine with that list of results. Even #10, because it only shows how much the fed. govt fucks with markets.

    2. Pretty much every one of those 11 terrible reasons is a big plus in my book. And the effect on the stockmarket is very overstated.

    3. Nope. None of those things are terrible for me.

  20. Fun parlor trick: Get a show of hands around work on who is for or agin a government shutdown. Quickest way to find out who’s on the tit.

  21. Unless you’re an utter incompetent* you don’t shut down the parts of your organization which provide a net positive cash flow, in a crunch. You shut down the other ones.

    *I know, I know

  22. Or, my favorite meme:

    America set free, day 1.

  23. “I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every panda that wouldn’t screw to save its species.”

  24. Privatizing a good — like park services — is usually a good thing. Government simply cannot deliver goods as well as competitive private actors in free markets.

    Unfortunately, some people are incapable of distinguishing a good from an evil. Privatizing an evil — like prisons or paramilitary services — is a bad thing. Nobody does evil as well as governments.

  25. That picture is awesome. But I thought they were going to do a decent remake of Logan’s Run but I hadn’t heard anything recently. So I decided to look online, because the internet isn’t shut down yet.

    I guess Bioshock fans will be happy that their creator has been signed to pen the script for the remake. And fans of decency everywhere will continue to cross their fingers that nobody named Nolan or Bay are involved in the project.

    1. But will it have Jenni Arguiter in a skirt that is split up the side and barely covers her ass?

      1. Oh man, she had/has great legs.

      2. Agutter

      3. and – as I’ve said before – check out the movie “Walkabout” for her fine *ahem* performance.

        Recommended for …well… her.


    Because web pages don’t work unless there is a highly skilled paid government employee standing there turning the crank.

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Their mendacity is fucking overwhelming!

    1. Clearly, you’ve never seen technology in the movies. If you had, you’d know that to keep an image moving on the screen requires furious typing by the computer operator.

  27. They were on the radio this morning saying if you want a SBA loan, you’re out of luck. If you want a government home loan you’re out of luck. If you want a gun permit, you’re out of luck. eVerify is shut down so anybody can hire illegals until it comes back up.

    I wanted to find the studio, choke the host out and then grab the mic and ask people to call in and explain why any of those things should have even the slightest level of government involvement int he first place.

    1: Why is the government picking winners and losers?
    2: Why is the government in the money lending business/picking winners and losers?
    3: Second Amendment, assholes!
    4: We should be able to hire who we want for a wage we agree to.

    1. I love the “you can’t do this thing because the government is shutdown” when all that has happened is the government has gotten out of the way of you doing that thing.

      1. That which is not explicitly permitted is banned.

      2. Exactly. It’s like saying “since you are no longer allowed to ask permission to do something, you can no longer just do what you previously had to ask permission to do.”

        I liken it to this:
        A parasite invades a host.
        The parasite goes dormant.
        The host is forbidden from removing the parasite while dormant because it is an endangered species.

        The FedGov is our very own Kudzu.

  28. This is the kind of statement that both reveals the need for more shutdowns AND demonstrates why a lot of people don’t respect scientists:

    “Although a shutdown would broadly stymie scientific research…”

    Full crap here:…..6499073916

    1. Government Shutdown, Science Suspended

      What you don’t want to find out the effects of crack cocaine on chimps sexual habits? What type of monster are you!?

      1. I think Epi is doing privately funded work on that…

        1. Well um, if he sends me some of his research, I’ll um, “peer review” it for him.

          Also how much for a gram?

  29. I am confused about this Obamcare rollout thingy. There are some links on Drudge saying that the websites for enrollment are not working.

    But over at HuffPo, they are saying the servers are occasionally crashing because tens of millions are trying to sign up at the same time. I have never seen the posters there so happy, it’s like they died and went to heaven because Obamacar is here, it’s great, and the evil teabaggers have been forever defeated.

    1. Sooo… they are saying that people who don’t qualify for a subsidy, their insurance premiums will go down 50-60% and anyone who qualifies for a subsidy will save 90%. Wow, I guess the GOP and the baggers were really lying when they said premiums will rise.

      So, I guess because my insurance premiums through my workplace are going up again next year, I can opt out and go to this exchange and save 50-60%? Wow.

      1. The North Korean News Service is puts out more believable news.

        1. “President Obama shot a 54 after birdieing every hole on the course.”

          -Chris Matthews

    2. How exactly do they know that tens of thousands of people are happily signing up? It is not like they are running the server or anything.

      1. 10s of millions is what they are saying, and that is crashing the servers.

        Because everyone wants to save 50-90% on health insurance, the demand is crashing the servers.

        Seriously, the posters over there, it’s like they are on some super opium or something, I have never seen them so deliriously happy.

        I was sort of under the impression that we might need a few months to see how this goes, but over there, they are already saying it’s the greatest thing to ever happen for all Americans.

        1. It occurs to me that it would be awesome if Republic hackers were running denial of service attacks on the exchanges.

    3. Tens of millions of journalists are trying desperately to show how great a success Obamacare is, thus inadvertently crashing the servers.

    4. Obamacare exchanges are currently working in certain states, but they are only set up for people who currently have no insurance.

      Those of us who do have insurance through our employers or Medicare/Medicaid cannot sign up yet.

      Incidentally, several of my friends who DID have private insurance lost theirs due to the new requirements under the ACA, so they are now eligible for the exchanges.

      It’s running exactly as the left envisioned it. Bleed out the market and force everyone in to quasi-single payer.

      I expect to get a letter from Aetna soon saying I’ve been dumped BUT OBAMACARE IS READY FOR YOU!

      1. I still believe Obamacare will be such a fucking train wreck it will backfire. Even some of my lefty friends were complaining about the massive rate increases we’re seeing here in MA.

        I’ve found saying “think of it as a pay-cut(which it is) works wonders.

        1. Well, that’s just tea bagger lies, send your friends over to HuffPo for the good news. 50-60% savings for everyone who doesn’t qualify for a subsidy. 90% savings if you do.

          Don’t worry, be happy…

          1. I’ll tell them not to worry about those silly numbers in their bank accounts because they can BASK IN THE SAVINGS!

    5. weird – I thought the individual market was only 30mil (or whatever the number is).

  30. This is….revealing. HuffPo poll results compared to gen. pop.:

    From what you have heard about the health care law, do you think it will be an improvement over the current system, or do you think it will make things worse?
    YouGov: All Americans 18+ HuffPost Readers
    It will be an improvement
    It will make things worse
    It won’t make a difference
    Not sure

    According to this poll, HuffPo readers are absolutely fanatical, unquestioning true believers. They just know, deep down in their hearts, that anything Obama does just has to be for their own good.

    Poll is about halfway down here:…..18888.html

    1. Die-hard liberals believe everything that Obama shits out if cotton candy, News at 11!

    2. 10k pages of legislation and yet only 1% are not sure? That’s true belief right there.

    3. I love trolling those assholes. Everytime they say the GOP are not trustworthy, I pull out a laundry list of shit Obama has lied about : NSA, Gitmo, assassination program, arms running in Egypt and Libya…shit they can’t refute. Their inevitable response “Boooosh” is met with “Bush should be in prison as well”.

      That usually shuts them the fuck up.

      1. Yes, I’m willing, in the spirit of tripartisanship, to impeach Obama and much of his administration and to criminally prosecute the above and Bush after conviction and removal.

      2. Their inevitable response “Boooosh” is met with “Bush should be in prison as well”.

        That usually shuts them the fuck up.

        Too bad it won’t work on our very own resident proglotard, the ButtPlug.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.