Donald Trump

Life Will Go on if Trump Keeps the Government Shut Down for 'Years'

The world will keep spinning, no matter how long the government shutdown lasts.

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Zach Gibson/CNP/AdMedia/Newscom

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.

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  1. Permanent DC drink specials! Cool!

    1. Doesn’t Trump have 5 billion? If he wants the wall so bad, why doesn’t he put up his own money for it?

      1. Doesn’t Trump have 5 billion?

        Most likely not even 1 billion.

        1. Regardless, perhaps we can eliminate government altogether, apart from basic police and speech-control forces? We here at NYU, with the assistance of law enforcement, are doing quite well without any supervision. See the documentation of our great nation’s leading criminal “parody” case at:

          https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

  2. And set aside the fact that Trump is almost certainly not, in fact, going to let the shutdown continue for years.

    Why wouldn’t you think so?

    1. We can always hope. Beyond that, it is just as much Pelosi and Schummer who are keeping the government shut down as Trump. It is funny how the good journolisters at Reason forever apply that logic one way.

      1. You know how NPC logic works John.
        If the Congress is republican during a shutdown it their fault. If the president is republican during a shutdown it’s his fault.

        1. Poor Republicans. And they’re so good at governing as libertarians, which is why every comments thread here is a circle jerk in their honor.

          1. Democrats are the enemy. Unfortunately, the Republicans are the only party with the numbers to give them any kind of pushback.

            1. Are Democrats the enemy because they spend less money or because they advance more individual liberty?

              1. Democrats are the enemy because they’re busy-body nannyscolds who are determined to make the rest of society suffer for their daddy issues.

              2. The Democrats advance more individual liberty? You need to see your psychiatrist and get your meds increased.

            2. Democrats are the enemy.

              And Republicans are what? Our buddies?

              1. They’re the enemy of my enemy, I believe would be the answer.

                I think they are an ally of convenience and nothing more, and should be used as such if possible.

            3. Democrats Collectivists are the enemy.

              there, FIFY

              1. Nope, you actually didn’t. You made it less specific, which is worse.

                You actually, literally made it worse.

      2. The dispute, as Ken pointed out a few days ago, is over $3.5 billion. The House initially approved the full $5 billion, the Dems and Jeff Flake wouldn’t agree to more than $1.5 billion, so here we are.

        I recall not too long ago that the government shut down because Obama wanted his funding for Obamacare, and the GOP refused to do so, at least initially. I’m actually impressed that Trump’s held the line on this for as long as he has.

        1. I thought it was mainly about the debt ceiling.

      3. Agreed. I was disappointed in author Joe Setyon’s one-way vision too! I’ll take it one step further though; the whole lot of Congress is also responsible. You know…that group of our masters and rulers that perpetually suffer from the lowest of low public approval ratings!

  3. It would be monumentally funny if Trump did let the government shutdown continue for two years. Some here would no doubt claim it was his plan all along, but I don’t care — it would be a fantastic two years.

    1. I doubt if that is anyone’s plan. But, you are right, it would be fun/interesting. Ultimately, the Democrats have more to lose by the government being shut down than Trump. So, I think this might be the first time the Democrats actually lose one of these things.

      1. You’re assuming that the voters don’t care. It seems that they always go out of their way to make these shutdowns hurt every day activities by closing parks, etc. If the Democrats can continue winning the narrative that government shutdowns are bad, and that this particular one is Trump’s fault, then I think Republicans could have a lot to lose if it lasts until 2020.

        1. They risk the opposite more, I think — that people will notice the hypocrisy of only shutting down parks etc.

          This shutdown is different from previous ones. Those were because the debt limit prevented all spending, including military and entitlements. This one is because they won’t authorize $5B for his wall. They (both sides) get to choose what is shutdown. That makes it a lot easier to keep most things running, and harder to hide the partisanship on both sides.

          1. I won’t argue any of your points, but just to point out that reality and the narrative that gets portrayed by politicians and/or the media are not the same thing. I made the mistake of flipping through talk radio yesterday and heard a piece on NPR about the shutdown and how bad it was for people who rely on government services, etc. They had some sad music playing in the background and everything.

            Not to mention that my only indication that the government is actually shut down is the fact that every news agency continually harps on it.

            It’s a political tool, plain and simple. The Democrats seem to use the tool better than the Republicans because they control the narrative.

            1. I think Democrats were able to avert previous shutdowns quickly was because f the different nature, that all federal spending was barred by the debt ceiling. This one being voluntary has the potential to go on a lot longer, and as long as entitlements and the military get their money, the hypocritical selective outrage which worked so well in previous short shutdowns will rebound in a longer shutdown. Whether or not Trump figures that in, I do not know. But I am certain the Democrats aren’t thinking of that.

              Imagine a month or two and the probably a bunch of volunteers cleaning up parks. It kinda takes the sting out of the shutdown’s proclaimed severity.

    2. If people don’t get their income tax returns, they’re going to blame Trump, not Pelosi or Democrats or Congress. Trump.

  4. And it won’t be… So the hysteria is indeed unwarranted..

  5. >>>So go ahead, keep it shut down.

    word. love it.

    1. My commute has been better.

  6. Trump will cave once someone tells him that the agency that he is keeping closed is the same one responsible for e-Verify checks.

  7. And the real losers here are the contractors for these closed agencies. They don’t get back pay once the government is re-opened. They are just completely SOL.

    1. That all depends on the contract.

    2. My woman doesn’t work for a contractor per se (museum), but if the government is shut down she’s off work. But it’s with pay, so it’s like a vacation for her. Unless the shutdown starts going into many months, then she’s probably going to be laid off or something, I don’t know. That won’t be too awesome.

  8. “no one wants workers to go without pay”

    Hi, I’m no one.

  9. Of course, no one wants workers to go without pay

    I thought it was federal employees who were going without pay, not workers.

  10. Life Will Go on if Trump Keeps the Government Shut Down for ‘Years’
    The world will keep spinning, no matter how long the government shutdown lasts.

    Reason kickin’ it old school today.

    1. No, Old School would be to deny that the Earth spins.

      1. Hihnternet still active in 2019

  11. Of course, no one wants workers to go without pay

    I want government workers to go without pay. They are servants, nothing more.

    1. More like welfare recipients of the world’s largest make-work program.

  12. So do the essential workers remain slaves indefinitely?

    1. Essential government workers? That’s like jumbo shrimp or deafening silence or military intelligence, right?

      1. You people really do build an entire worldview on a couple glib bits of nonsense. Government bad! (Except when I need it.)

        1. Vast swaths of the government are not only unnecessary, but improper.

        2. Can you give us some examples of “essential” government workers?

          1. Anything that he likes. His obtuse brain cannot comprehend the difference between liking something and arriving at something logically.

            1. I think it comes from his false pretense that government does more good than harm. There are very few concrete examples where the federal government (of all people) does more good then harm. Most of its functions today were both intended to be and could easily be handled at the state and local level.

              I think you could argue that the military are essential workers, but only if you think that we would be likely to be attacked if they were furloughed. I don’t personally hold that belief, but I think that maybe you could draw that conclusion.

              You could possibly argue that some level of federal courts are essential, but only if you think that there would be no way for the states to settle disputes among themselves. It turns out that most cases in federal courts are the people suing government or vice versa, so I’m not really sure I’d buy that argument either because in the case of a true shutdown that wouldn’t be a concern by definition.

              1. There are very few concrete examples where the federal government (of all people) does more good then harm.

                Like wall building, amirite?

                1. It certainly would be a “concrete” example to build a wall.

        3. Yeah. We’ve outlined the principles upon which we draw the line between legitimate and illegitimate uses of force too many times to count. You can call it nonsense, we call it logic and reason derived from basic principles.

        4. “You people really do build an entire worldview on a couple glib bits of nonsense” Being the leftist that you are, you would certainly know quite a bit about this syndrome.

    2. They’re free to quit.

  13. “maybe we’ll even get airport security privatization”

    Those folks wouldn’t be getting paid either If the contract was with the Fed govt and not airlines.

  14. “media coverage of government shutdowns always seems to focus on …national parks being closed”

    Is it really so hard to pack your own trash out of the park?

    1. No, but the tree huggers tend to be pretty bad at doing it.

  15. Saying we should Abolish the IRS is a juvenile statement. Until we have anarchy capitalism in 2085, we will have taxes. Abolishing the IRS is a counterproductive argument. “What r u gonna replace it with is the obvious response. What, private tax collection? Good luck with that.
    Far more fruitful would be to confine the IRS to its constitutional and statutory limits. The US Income tax is a classical liberal public office duty. The 16 Amendment did not change that. A general tax on “everything that comes in” is still unconstitutional. The income tax is a tax on the exploitation of federal privilege for profit. That is what the American people voted for when the 16 Amendment was passed. That is what the income tax was since the first income tax was passed in1862. That is how it was collected until after WWII. That is still how the law is written. See http://www.losthorizons.com

    1. Until we have anarchy capitalism in 2085, we will have taxes.

      Income taxes though?

    2. The income tax is a tax on the exploitation of federal privilege for profit.

      What federal privilege am I exploiting for profit and why can’t I volunteer to discontinue the exploitation?

    3. The income tax was created in preparation for Prohibition, to replace taxes on alcohol which were a significant part of the federal budget.

      It is possible that without Prohibition we would never have had a federal income tax.

      1. Well, the 16A anyway.

      2. I don’t know about that. People were clamoring for an income tax (on the rich, not me!) for years before the 16th amendment, which was ratified years before Prohibition. It was all part of the Progressive agenda, along with the 17th amendment, racial hygiene, etc. Yes, so was Prohibition, but even if without it, an income tax was strongly desired for some reason.

        1. The income tax actually begin with the Civil War as a means to fund the Northern war effort. It survived the Civil War in various incarnations but did not take hold until the 16th Amendment. “Strongly desired for some reason”? Um, yeah ?. Lincoln gave us a centralized federal government, and post-civil war expansion gave us a federal government with an ever-increasing appetite that had to be fed somehow. Since government does not produce anything that can be sold, taxation is the only answer.

    4. “What r u gonna replace it with is the obvious response. ”

      “Nothing” is the intelligent answer.

  16. This is interesting. The real power in the House is the power of the purse. By abdicating it this long, and given that the executive controls so much, what can the House do? Can’t act without the Senate, and the president is hostile.

  17. Ir’s no tragedy or crisis… The government shut down before and it the country was fine…
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

  18. Trump’s Presidency destroyed in one day … BY A GIRL!
    As Trumptards scurry like cockroaches in severe denial. Still.

    1. when will impeachments begin?

      When will the Russian robots be arrested?

      1. When will you get a brain?
        Ooooops, too late.

  19. Federal employees aren’t going to keep showing up for work for years without getting paid. I’m pretty sure regular folks are going to start to notice when there are no prison guards, no treasury employees to make federal payments like social security or Medicare, no court employees to handle civil cases, etc. I realize this is likely your fantasy, but regular people will definitely notice.

    1. OR NO TAX REFUNDS.

      TRUMP IS THAT STUCKING FUPID

  20. Dear Reason,

    We can’t even keep national parks clean without oversight.

  21. I am well aware that trying to argue for government regulation is pointless on a website whose purpose is to promote libertarianism, but let’s give it a go.

    Government regulation prevents overuse and damage to infrastructure or resources, that would then go on to harm everyone else or future generations.

    * Sorry, you can’t fish in lakes using dynamite. I know how unfair this sounds to force you to have to mess around with worms and fishing poles, but no.

    * Sorry, I understand that that you and about 5,000 people want to all descend on Yellowstone and rock it out with the moose and the bears, but your teeming masses are going to trample the wildlife and leave us with a desolate mess that looks like shit and ruins the park for anyone else.

    * Sorry, I understand as a pig farmer, that you get maximum profit from packing as many pigs into as small a space and possible, force-feeding them ultra-high nutrient concentrated feeds, and then dumping the raw pig shit into a nearby river so that it isn’t your problem anymore.

    Dang bureaucrats, getting their nose in people’s private business, forcing them to behave and not wreck things for everyone else!

    Had some old car batteries, paint, a bunch of plastic, and shingles we took off the old barn. Dumped it all in the ravine out back and burned it all. You shoulda seen the black smoke, and the air smelled funny for hours. Also, why does my well water taste odd? Eh, who cares. Freedom!

  22. I am well aware that trying to argue for government regulation is pointless on a website whose purpose is to promote libertarianism, but let’s give it a go.

    Government regulation prevents overuse and damage to infrastructure or resources, that would then go on to harm everyone else or future generations.

    * Sorry, you can’t fish in lakes using dynamite. I know how unfair this sounds to force you to have to mess around with worms and fishing poles, but no.

    * Sorry, I understand that that you and about 5,000 people want to all descend on Yellowstone and rock it out with the moose and the bears, but your teeming masses are going to trample the wildlife and leave us with a desolate mess that looks like shit and ruins the park for anyone else.

    * Sorry, I understand as a pig farmer, that you get maximum profit from packing as many pigs into as small a space and possible, force-feeding them ultra-high nutrient concentrated feeds, and then dumping the raw pig shit into a nearby river so that it isn’t your problem anymore.

    Dang bureaucrats, getting their nose in people’s private business, forcing them to behave and not wreck things for everyone else!

    Had some old car batteries, paint, a bunch of plastic, and shingles we took off the old barn. Dumped it all in the ravine out back and burned it all. You shoulda seen the black smoke, and the air smelled funny for hours. Also, why does my well water taste odd? Eh, who cares. Freedom!

    1. You gave it a go. Your examples are inane, pointless and insulting, so your go done went. Thanks for playing, now go back to Vox or Mother Jones or wherever it is that you can be happy and leave actually thoughtful people alone.

  23. We had some old car batteries, paint, a bunch of plastic, and shingles we took off the old barn. Dumped it all in the ravine out back and burned it all. You shoulda seen the black smoke, and the air smelled funny for hours.

    We’ve never had one of those newfangled septic things for the farm house. Everything just flows out to the ravine out back, and flushes away when the rains come.

    Also, why does my well water taste odd? Eh, who cares. Freedom!

    1. (Whoops, got a long delay and a “nginx gateway timeout” message the first time, tried again with a second shorter comment. I can’t delete one of them, as Reason limits my freedom to edit or delete my own posts.)

  24. It is interesting that all the news outlets are saying that it is Trump is keeping the government because he will not agree to what the democrats wants to give. But it takes two to come to an agreement the republicans including has offered several dollar amounts that might be acceptable but the democrats keeps saying Trump will never get any money to build the wall (what ever it is). It sounds like there is no agreement to be had so the only way Trump and the democrats can come to an agreement to open the government is for Trump to totally surrender which that is just what the democrats wants.
    The democrats wants to pass the bill to fund the government until September 30 but pass a CR for Homeland Security to keep it functioning just to February 6 (I think is the date.) Now if the government is funded until the next budget period everyone should know there will not be one more cent squeezed out of the democrats so Trump would be lucky to get enough money for the Homeland Security to do the very minimum which means that Border Patrol will have to shut down the camps that the illegals are kept in and the illegals will just disappear into into the population, the good and the bad will still be here in this country and no telling how many crimes will be committed by them until they are apprehended. Then those that are apprehended will get out on bail and then disappear back south of the border to reenter at some later date.

    1. The real need is not for a wall, which won’t keep people from seeking asylum. What is needed is more personnel and facilities for screening asylum seekers. For those who insist on following the law, well, timely resolution of asylum is in the law.

  25. Schumer and Pelosi can end the shutdown immediately. Just submit a budget allowing 0.41% of it for border barrier to protect America

    1. Congress can end the shutdown immediately. Don’t give in to the moronic self-serving goals of Trump, and vote a 2/3rds majority in both houses to override his veto.

    2. Sure, it’s only money, and there is only no crisis. Give Trump money, when he doesn’t even know what kind of barrier he wants? That’s not the way it’s done, man.

  26. Has the author checked the airports lately?

  27. Is the author or anyone in his family expecting a tax refund? Not gonna happen as long as the government is shut down.

  28. My only objection is that they often pay government employees retroactively for having not worked.

  29. What if they shut down the federal government and nobody cared?

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