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Shutdown serves no purpose

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By John Whitlock

For weeks, the threat of a federal government shutdown has been hanging over the heads of Americans.
With the Democrats demanding deep cuts in the federal budget, the Republicans demanding deep, deep cuts in the federal budget and the Tea Party demanding deep, deep, deep, deep cuts in federal spending, it looked like we were going to have some fairly significant cuts in federal spending.
So it looks like we are all pretty much in agreement that cuts in spending should happen.
But as talk of shutting down the federal government became louder and louder, it seemed less likely to actually happen.
U.S. Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Republican’s top political objective should be to make sure President Barack Obama only gets one term in office.
If the Republicans forced the government to close its doors, even for a short time, it could create the kind of resentment among mainstream voters that could tip the next presidential election.
If Obama and the Democrats were blamed for the shutdown, it could be used as another weapon to exploit the misguided notion that they don’t care about the nation’s fiscal problems.
Along with the political ramifications, a prolonged shutdown could have negatively affected the economic recovery and caused delays in hidden services Americans take for granted — such as food inspection, national parks, veterans’ benefits, and Medicare services.
Despite claims from both the left and right of the political spectrum, most elected officials do not want to see the American people hurt because of their actions or inactions — perhaps not so much out of the reality of pending elections, but for a sincere desire to help people and our country survive and thrive.
So, only the most hardened of political gameplayers wanted to see a shutdown, and even their desires were likely to be thwarted by the majority of office holders.
The Great Government Shutdown of 2011 was never really likely to happen, but the threat was good enough to make some people sit up and wonder what their representatives are doing.
Elected officials should be able to hammer out an agreement without the dramatics of a shutdown. The Congress is in session for roughly 11 months of the year not counting weekends and holidays. Doesn’t that seem like plenty of time to work out a deal on one of the very basic functions of the government — effectively spending tax dollars.
There wouldn’t be a need for threats if officials were doing their jobs in the first place.