Shutdown Showdown could be on the horizon
Published 2:15 pm Tuesday, September 19, 2023
BY TOM HASTINGS
“I’d shut down the government if they can’t make an appropriate deal, absolutely.” —Donald Trump this week on Meet the Press
Speaking as a senior citizen on Social Security, just one of the 66 million Americans who count on Social Security, thanks so much, Trump.
And I’m sure the 16 million military veterans don’t mind if they stop getting benefits, or if the VA shuts down.
The wealthy we elect to run the country won’t be affected at all, so, sure, billionaire grifter Trump, let’s shut it down. We know he’s occasionally honest, and this is one of those occasions, since he was key in shutting down the government for more than a month in 2018-2019 when he occupied the White House.
It was the longest US government shutdown in history, all because he didn’t get all the money he wanted for his wall that he claimed hundreds of times that Mexico would pay for. His lies and grifts are like a Russian nesting doll, each one inside another.
During Trump’s shutdown federal workers missed two paychecks–not a concern for those whose massive wealth is fueled by investments. Republicans are proclaiming, like Trump, that they are fine with shutting down the federal government, though some of them just shake their heads in disbelief.
Long-time Republican advisor Karl Rove said the reason Republicans get blamed for shutdowns is that they cause them. That seems fairly straightforward analysis by someone with a lifelong loyalty to what used to be the Grand Old Party but has morphed into the Grifters Only Party.
The most radical supporters of a US government shutdown (aside from Vladimir Putin) claim that they really want to reduce the federal deficit. Then they claim that they are really trying to do so by eliminating child care, reducing care for people with disabilities, and rolling back the infrastructure projects that would help reform our carbon-heavy, climate chaos-driving energy consumption.
Yeah, Trump really wants to cut the deficit. That’s why his administration added $8 trillion to it. He managed all that in only one term, including two years when he had the House and Senate with him. His only significant legislative achievement during those salad days was to pass a law that radically cut taxes to himself and other wealthy people, thereby jacking up the deficit enormously.
When asked if the federal deficit could be reduced instead of growing by simply reverting to older tax laws that taxed rich people more, Kevin McCarthy and his cronies actually burst into laughter back in May, during the last shutdown showdown. Trump endlessly whines that the “system is rigged.” Ya think? He and his rich friends should know. They rigged it.
And they want to rig it more. One element of the Republicans’ demands before they agree to avoid shutting down the government is to eviscerate the Department of Justice’s ability to prosecute those who tried to steal the White House for loser Trump. Yeah, the same guy who led chants of “Lock her up!” when Hillary Clinton wasn’t careful enough with her email account. Now he and his co-conspirators, clearly intending to end democracy as we know it, are supposed to be above the law or the government gets shut down.
We pretend our democracy is a sure thing, that it will somehow survive all attempts to erode it, that all efforts to make it only work for the rich and powerful are not the American Way and are therefore not going to happen.
I suppose we can continue to believe it if it makes us feel better.
But maybe we can do better.
(Dr. Tom H. Hastings, PeaceVoice Senior Editor, is Coördinator of Conflict Resolution BA/BS degree programs and certificates at Portland State University.)