Days of Change

Welcome to Libertarian Government | January 13, 2019

Early in the Trump Administration, I mentioned that people wanted someone to “un-govern” the country. Over the last couple of years, this is what has happened. While the cabinet and key positions have seen about average churn, the Democrats are slowing down confirmations and federal workers are quitting at a higher rate. Fewer people are working for the federal government and the country hasn’t blown up.

The government shutdown is adding a new level. We are now in the longest dark period in budgeting for the government. Many workers are starting to miss a paycheck and other transfer services are not providing funds. Unfortunately, the resolution to such shutdowns is to eventually provide back pay, then pay overtime to catch up. Non-essential does not mean unnecessary.

In a bit of irony, the border wall shows the libertarian free market at work. Border crossers can make better money in the US and therefore make the arduous journey to get here. Democrats tacitly support this because they are a source of votes for them. In reality, $5 Billion worth of wall is about 70 miles, which will mostly serve to redirect border crossings, rather than eliminate them. Democrats are putting up a legislative wall for about 0.02% of the federal budget.

The end of this fight is a matter of democracy and marketing. For Trump, the lack of wall funding or real construction is the tipping point for the support needed to get him reelected. It took Ann Coulter over 3 years to sour on Trump because of missed opportunities. Rush Limbaugh is right behind her. Even Sean Hannity has said that at least 1/3 of the remaining open border must be walled off to secure Trump’s reelection.

For Republicans, it is a more complicated issue. Right now, there are just about enough donors and voters to prevent 20 Senators to break ranks and pass a veto-proof budget. As time wears on the pressure to do something will increase for them, probably faster than for the Democrats. People who need their paychecks and government benefits tend to dislike Trump, so they are also willing to give Democrats a pass. This is good for them because the more vocal progressive faction barely cares about electability and would rather Democrats passed more government programs, even if they were voted out in 2020 because of it.

There is no stalemate. It is more of a wearing down until one side has to give up. Either is the wall (funding) or nothing. There is little interest in a compromise because it has the potential to make factions on both sides angry. Someone is going to take a hit on this.


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