HART: Another government shutdown showdown?

Ron Hart
Ron Hart

The theatrics surrounding government funding standoffs could be avoided if Washington politicians didn’t have the budgeting skills of an Ole Miss frat boy.

I am not the least bit concerned about the federal government shutting down over the spending bill to keep it running. A shutdown is not a problem — I worry when the government is open.

Dems are using DACA “Dreamers” funding as a shutdown tactic. They, and the permanent bureaucracy in D.C., obstruct Trump at every turn.

There have been about 13 government shutdowns. The last one was in 2013 and no one noticed. The “Deep State” is so petulant that the feds took extra steps during that shutdown to post guards at open air National Parks to prevent citizens from walking through them.

Two things again became apparent then: how little we need most of government, and how spiteful public servants can be when they do not get their funding. They fake falling down and playing hurt like a World Cup soccer player.

Of course, members of Congress get their full pay during shutdowns, under the Americans with Next-to-No Abilities Act.

Don’t raise the debt limit. Let Congress live within its means like the rest of us. Think of it this way: If someone owed you lots of money, would you prefer that he be allowed to raise the credit limit on his credit card or forced to live on a budget?

We have a $20 trillion debt, up from $10 trillion when Obama took office, and much of it is owed to China. All the while, Congress ping-pongs spending bills back and forth between the House and Senate. Here’s what we know about ping-pong: Championships happen every four years and the Chinese always win.

Why in the budget battle have there been no conversations about cutting government? Corker and Flake have tried to advance that novel idea and are now “enemies of the state” or, better said, enemies of the Deep State. The cruel Nancy Pelosi said that “the government cannot cut any more.” Nancy will not rest until Democrats recapture the House or until she captures all 101 Dalmatians.

Why not require every government agency to appear before Congress and define what it does, why it does it, and how much it costs? We then decide if we want to keep it. If whatever service it purports to do can be found in the Yellow Pages, I say shut that agency down. We have 800 military bases in 70 countries. We have 14 intel agencies who don’t cooperate with each other or with Congressional subpoenas. Really?

Threats of government shutdowns will continue. Such standoffs have no easy off-ramps for either side; neither wants to be the first to blink. But Dems have the decided advantage, since Nancy Pelosi has not blinked since the 2013 sequester.

When politicians head over a “fiscal cliff,” I pull for gravity and a low tide. It’s our fault. About $38 million will be spent just on the Alabama Senate race for a job that pays $174K a year. And we expect these folks to balance a budget? 

A syndicated op-ed humorist and award-winning author, Ron’s a frequent guest on CNN. He can be contacted at or @RonaldHart on Twitter.