Let’s do a reality check on the current federal shutdown. Are you ready for a good laugh? Put down your favorite mainstream media outlet. Switch it off, and just follow the numbers. Yes, every rooftop is cluttered with news anchors, bellyaching reporters and stray Democrats shouting “the sky is falling!” or “the federal shutdown is ending life as we know it!” Here is real news. Not so.
First, recall that when President Obama managed a congressional shutdown, he blamed Congress and “weaponized” that shutdown against average Americans – deliberately putting barricades around traditionally open, accessible monuments and parks, including our WWII Memorial on the National Mall.
President Trump has done the reverse, waiving obstacles to volunteers at monuments and parks, clearing the way for federal agencies to stay as open as much as possible. He has specifically assured EVERYONE entitled to a timely tax refund will get it, throughout the shutdown. Most parks can use operating budgets to keep restrooms and garbage pickup going. As he seeks to get Congress to properly secure US borders, he is looking after the American People – in ways his predecessor did not.
Second, remember that the bills held up by Democrats in Congress have more than 300 billion dollars that could be placed against the five million dollar request. It would take ten minutes for Congress to agree. The five could be taken from parts that deliberately EXCEED the President’s original request – such as the 10.6 billion dollar jump up for Housing and Urban Development over the President’s request. This would instantly end the crisis, allowing money to be used for border security or “the wall,” also allowing other programs to remain at requested levels.
Third, look at the real numbers on shutdown impact. No one is doing it – so let’s do it here.
As of this week, 328,000 federal employees are on furlough, according to the most recent agency reporting. If history is any example, they will all be given back pay – part of the eventual compromise – when the shutdown ends.
They represent 38 percent of employees at the several affected agencies – so less than half, even of those agencies – and almost nothing by comparison to total government employees, federal or national employment.
Today, there are 230 public employees for every 10,000 Americans, according to the US Census data. Altogether, America has 16 million public employees employed beyond the federal government, plus more than two million (fulltime) federal employees, excluding postal employees.
Since we have another half million postal employees, we have a total of 2.5 million federal employees, 18.5 million overall public employees (with the federal employees), and a total of 126 million employees nationally – a number that has risen sharply (and in every demographic) since President Trump took office.
So, let’s keep some perspective here. This “partial shutdown” – furloughing 328,000 “non-essential” federal employees who will likely be paid for time off – is a drop in the national bucket. To be precise, these “time off” employees represent 13 percent of our total federal workforce, less than two percent of public employees, and one quarter of one percent of all American employees.
So, while congressional Democrats insist that 10.7 million illegal aliens in the United States amount to nothing to worry about, and we witness roughly one-half a million new illegal entries per year, the commotion is now about the one quarter of one percent of employees who are presently furloughed – pending protection of the border.
The sad irony is that this contrast – genuine public health and safety issues tied to a porous US border versus the political hoopla promoted by Democrats who refuse to pass the bills that would protect the border and pay the quarter of one percent on furlough – is somehow lost in the clatter and clank of what masquerades as modern political debate.
Average Americans are tired of this poking by Congress at a President trying to protect the nation, endless and pointless posturing, ranting and reorganizing of facts to support what Democrats in Congress think will bring more votes.
The average American is glad that President Trump has assured all social security, Medicaid, Medicare, Military pay, and IRS refunds will go out uninterrupted by the political shenanigans. They are glad essential personnel will remain as usual, and that the “partial federal shutdown” is not being weaponized against the American people. They are glad too that President Trump wants to protect them and secure the borders. What they are not pleased about is the antics that now define the public square.