President Donald Trump reportedly told congressional leaders today that he's willing to keep the partial government shutdown going for years.
Trump has been wrangling with Democrats for weeks over funding for his proposed wall on the U.S.–Mexico border. Trump wants $5 billion for the wall, but Democrats are unwilling to give it to him. This led parts of the federal government to shut down after their funding expired on December 21.
Believe it not, the Earth is still spinning on its axis. That's a good thing, because according to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.), Trump says the shutdown might last a while. "We told the president we needed the government open," Schumer told reporters after a meeting with Trump. "He resisted. In fact, he said he'd keep the government closed for a very long period of time—months or even years."
Set aside for a moment the fact that shutting down the government over funding for a pointless, stupid border wall is, well, pointless and stupid. And set aside the fact that Trump is almost certainly not, in fact, going to let the shutdown continue for years. The truth is that an elongated shutdown wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.
As Reason's Scott Shackford noted late last month, media coverage of government shutdowns always seems to focus on federal workers not getting paid and national parks being closed. This time around has been no different. Of course, no one wants workers to go without pay, though it's worth pointing out that the bloated bureaucracies that make up many federal agencies are a problem as well.
So life goes on. Many Americans, in fact, wouldn't see a big change in their daily routine whether the shutdown ended today or a year from now. Heck, if the shutdown lasts a while, maybe we'll even get airport security privatization after all the unpaid Transportation Security Administration employees walk off the job.
Some of the actual problems the shutdown has caused could be solved by less government. Reason's Zuri Davis wrote yesterday about how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can collect taxes but not process refunds during the shutdown. Solution: Get rid of the IRS.
And yes, the shutdown hurts private businesses. But that's largely because there are so many hoops the government makes companies jump through that when a shutdown happens, some businesses have to stop what they're doing until federal offices reopen. Solution: Stop making businesses jump through those hoops in the first place.
The government shutdown poses problems, sure. But many of them can be solved by taking the government out of our lives. So go ahead, keep it shut down. I'm sure Americans will adapt.