Free Minds & Free Markets

The Government Is Going to Shut Down Again (and That's Bad)

System failures are a false path to limited government.

Libertarians want to shrink the government, but a shutdown is little cause for celebration. Hitting a giant "pause" button on federal agencies won't end the drug war or reform entitlements. A government shutdown doesn't even save money. Back pay to furloughed federal employees ensures that taxpayers pay just as much as they would have if the government had proceeded as normal. But during a shutdown taxpayers don't receive the government services they're paying for, and the economy takes a hit from the disruption.

In the latest "Mostly Weekly," Andrew Heaton explains why libertarians should be against the next government shutdown.

Mostly Weekly is hosted by Andrew Heaton with headwriter Sarah Rose Siskind. Special appearance by Brian Sack.

Watch past episodes here.

Script by Andrew Heaton with writing assistance from Sarah Rose Siskind and Brian Sack
Edited by Austin Bragg and Sarah Rose Siskind.
Produced by Meredith and Austin Bragg.
Theme Song: "Frozen" by Surfer Blood.

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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.

  • Lachowsky||

    I like the government shutdowns. I get to point out to people that the government is shut down, yet nothing changed amd maybe we don't need those people in the first place.

  • DajjaI||


    Still Shillin' for Jill 2020 approves this message.

  • Tony||

    But the reason nothing changes is because government doesn't actually shut down.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Some get furloughed for a few days and then back paid.

    Some of government is shut down and it doesn't hurt Americans.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Excuse me, but I think you meant to say that women, children, and the elderly die as the world ends.

  • MiloMinderbinder||

    Nah, they were already killed by Net Neutrality and Trump's Tax Cut.

  • Lachowsky||

    That's a shame too

  • Alcibiades||

    Just worried how much more strain that jacket button can take.

  • sarcasmic||

    I am officially in lust with dear Sarah.

  • sarcasmic||

    The creepy old guy has spoken.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Great, now I can confirm you're Hihn. Add that to my list.

  • CE||

    Got a mirror?

  • BYODB||

    Hihn is utterly incapable of self reflection.

  • Myshkin78||

    I'm sure he thinks that self-reflection is some kind of aggression.

  • Texasmotiv||


  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    It's the height of hilarity that Dumbfuck Hihnsano sees a random comment that isn't even directed at him and whines about cyber-bullying.

    If only someone had bullycided him in real life instead of the mean words that make him scream like a crybaby bitch.

  • BYODB||

    Wait, wasn't the shutdown 'good' under Obama since it showed how painless these shutdowns really are for the vast majority of everyone?

    Now I'm confused! Can I just continue to blame Jimmy 'motherfucking' Carter and his AG for all this retardation?


  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    You really want to be considered for the biggest moron of the year award, don't you? I guess it'll be a decent race with four participants.

  • Toom Tabard||

    I find it strange that you resort to childish name-calling and throwing up repetitive information when you're attempting to make a point. I would think most of the adults on this site would grow tired of the behavior. Just sayin'...

  • ThomasD||

    Man that's really gotta hurt.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Shitting your pants?

  • ace_m82||

    Governing (using government) initiates force at least twice, once when it taxes, and once more when it claims a monopoly on force. If you dare defy it, it will attempt to kill you.

    So, actual governing is an evil thing to do. So government is evil, definitionally.

    Please, argue with the above!

  • ace_m82||

  • Curly4||

    You are correct that We the People should be against a government shutdown. And again you are correct about the cost. There will not be any savings by a government shutdown. It will cost more because all that work that the furlough workers would have been doing will not be done and will have to be completed. Besides the furloughed workers will get the the pay for the furlough at the end of the furlough and then will have to work overtime to complete the work that was not done and the current work also.
    The only reason that there will be a shutdown is over the immigration problem we have. One side wants to give legal status and a pathway to citizenship without fixing the problem that got US in the immigration problem. The otherside wants to fix the problem with the undocumented immigrants that have signed up for DACA and even for those who would be qualified for DACA but did not sign up for that.
    If the group who wants just to legalize the illegal (undocumented) immigrants but only to do a half a** job in stopping future illegal (undocumented) immigrants stands fast then there will be a shut down. I half way hope they do, not that a shutdown would be good for the country in the short run but in the long run it may be the very thing that is needed to get this situation corrected once and for all.

  • BYODB||

    I think at this point it's more accurate to say that Democrats want to shut down the government to get an amnesty since they have absolutely no idea how to jive their love for immigrants with their own policies that specifically are designed to fuck over immigrants.

    'Fight For $15' is possibly one of the most anti-immigrant organizations around, but you'll never, ever, ever, in a billion years hear a single fucking Democrat say this.

    The fact that the party that's in favor of an expansive welfare state and a laundry list of labor protections also wants lots of immigrants is the antithesis of itself.

  • BYODB||

    If I'm 'wildly off-topic' than it means you didn't read the post I was specifically replying to.

    Does this mean that you believe that an expansive welfare state with many labor protections is actually a place that is friendly to immigrants (illegal or otherwise)? Just answer that simple question as it should reveal the misunderstanding.

  • BYODB||

    1) If I'm off topic, the OP is off-topic. This is an illogical conclusion.

    2) My question is to clarify a point of fact that you appear to have issues with, but given how irrational you generally behave it's tough for me to know what you actually mean.

    Your evidence, once again, does not support your point. Your 'evidence' appears to show that some percentage of people who believe there should be a physical wall along the southern border also believe in amnesty for all illegal immigrants currently in the nation. As a matter of fact, your 'evidence' shows that the majority of people who believe there should be a wall believe in blanket amnesty.

    Logic and grade school mathematics both say your evidence does not match your assertion. Even assuming some percentage of those who believe in a wall are completely illogical doesn't line up with those numbers.

    If you keep hammering that square peg hard enough I'm sure it will eventually fit into the triangle hole.

  • BYODB||

    Oh, and nowhere did I ask or imply that you're a socialist. I asked you if socialist programs and expansive labor protections are good for immigrant labor which is not the same thing.

  • BYODB||

    If someone believes that an expansive welfare state with many labor protections is friendly to immigrants it means they are by definition for socialism? Care to walk me through that logic? Last I checked every system creates winners and losers and socialism is no exception to that, and I wasn't asking for a value judgement on socialism just a statement one way or the other on if they benefit.

    When you assume that people are trying to trap you with questions it makes discourse impossible, you know.

    The simple point that I'm making here is that Progressive goals are contradictory since an expansive welfare state and open borders are goals that are at odd's with one another.

    Also there are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

    The Fox News poll was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) among 1,017 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide reached on landline and cellphones from Sept. 24-26, 2017. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points for results among all registered voters.

    Sampling Error:

    Exact measurement of sampling error is generally not feasible since the true population values are unknown; however, sampling error can often be estimated by probabilistic modeling of the sample.

    You'll forgive me if I know enough to ignore this type of evidence. I took statistics, friend. It is, at best, an educated guess method.

  • BYODB||

    *I should note probabilistic modeling isn't necessarily faulty, merely that it is always a victim of it's own assumptions.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Emphasis added for the mentally challenged

    You mean like dumbfucks who think mainstream city newspapers were written by Alex Jones?

  • Trigger Warning||

    I support a wall protecting us from Canadian heathens, and a concrete sarcophagus around Hihn's house.

  • Texasmotiv||

    Won't help, you'd have to cut off his internet access.

  • ace_m82||

    Huh, if that's what you mean by those things, then why do you so often accuse me of doing them? I never do that!

    Poor form by defining your terms, Hihn. Now it's much easier to disprove what you claim.

  • MasterThief||

    Why do federal employees get paid for the time they weren't working? I don't really mind that they will collect some necessary overtime to catch up, but it seems ridiculous to pay for time sitting at home and then even more to do their jobs. It's double dipping.
    In the private sector employees get laid off when revenue is insufficient and whoever is left is expected to pick up the slack of the missing employees. Doesn't this mean the taxpayer is not just paying for incompetent leadership, but paying for a lack of productivity (or double+ for standard productivity)?

  • sarcasmic||

    In the private sector you don't have the luxury of pointing a gun at your customers and demanding that they pay you for things that they neither need nor want, whether you are providing them or not.

    Short answer: FYTW

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    That would cost MORE .. and is not budgeted.

    1. Not necessarily. If those employees didn't work during that time, then one can presume that there was lost productivity for the furlough time, resulting in a calculable cost. And they probably get the overtime in addition to the back pay.

    2. Tell me when 'budget' was a priority for anything in the federal government? That 20 trillion debt didn't just budget itself.

  • Myshkin78||

    If the backlog of work that has to be done pushes non-exempt employees over 40 hours per week they'll get overtime in addition to back pay. There's no sane argument to Paul's point. It's completely correct.

  • BYODB||

    Simple logic fail. You should pay attention, because I've done payroll for thousands of people before.

    If your company shut down for a few days and decided to pay out those lost hours, say due to winter weather or something, than guess what? You're still going to pay out a huge amount of overtime on top of that because the actual 'work' you pay them for still needs to be caught up on in either scenario.

    Odd that a supposed libertarian would say that the employees shouldn't be punished for working at an entity that is widely known as having shutdown issues periodically over 'fuck ups' from both parties. If you know a company runs out of money to pay their payroll over idiotic issues, would you otherwise choose to work at said company?

    Of course, since it's the FedGov you know they can't really shut down and have functionally infinite money. Add to that vast union protections and better benefits/pay on average than your private sector counterparts and the choice becomes obvious. You work for the FedGov if you want to make a ton of money for very little effort.

  • BYODB||

    I'm glad you concede all my other points as factually true Hihn, it's awful big of you even if you only do it by omission.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Why do federal employees get paid for the time they weren't working?

    Because they have a better union than you do.

  • Bubba Jones||

    Laid off workers frequently get a severance in the private sector.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Frequently? You must have worked for some pretty cool companies.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    All Andrew Heaton is saying, in a sort-of funny way is, government shutdowns aren't shutdowns. We already knew this.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "Government shutdown may even hurt the cause of small government in the longrun"

    The correct way of saying this is, "a domestic army that will kill you if you don't acquire permission for your daily activities, makes it hard to do stuff when they won't give you permission."

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    So everyone just went about business without getting permits?

    It's as if you didn't watch the video at all.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    TOTALLY non-responsive

    aka, "Dumbfuck Hihnsano's Wedding Night"

  • CE||

    Sometimes pointing out the reality of a situation is the only way to lay the groundwork for real changes.

  • CE||

    Libertarians shouldn't be against any government shutdown. We should just want them to last longer and be more frequent.

  • ||

    It's weird how libertarians can totally get that shutting the government down temporarily might not lead to less government and may end up costing more and prompting more regulation in the future; but can't possibly fathom that blindly sweeping large numbers of immigrants into *the very same state* might have the *exact same outcome*.

    The car's clunking along and is gonna cost a shitload to get fixed but if we open the doors and cram more people in, we're bound to make it to libertopia.

  • Sanjuro Tsubaki||

    Give Sarah the talking stick. I'd like to see Sarah.

  • DesparateReasoning||

    I was super excited to see Brian Sack. Please make him a regular (at least in the writing room), the guy is a comic genius.

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