The coming days will be filled with news about a possible “government shutdown”. The budget runs on a fiscal year that ends on September 30. The Republicans are proposing a budget that does not include the funding of Obamacare. Some of the Republicans are saying that they are willing to see a so-called government shutdown unless Obamacare is defunded and/ or repealed.
Unfortunately, this is not great news for libertarians, despite the rhetoric. This is mostly politics as usual. The so-called government shutdown will consist of denying visitors access to the Washington Monument, national parks, and some museums. It may slow down a few processes.
There are a lot of things that a government shutdown does not entail. It doesn’t mean that Social Security checks will stop going out. It doesn’t mean that all wars will end and the military will come home. It doesn’t mean that foreign dictators will stop getting U.S. tax dollars. It doesn’t mean that federal school funding will shut down. It doesn’t mean federal agents will stop arresting drug users.
In other words, this is nothing for a libertarian to get excited about. I suppose it would be a positive thing if Obamacare is defunded, but this is not likely. If Obamacare dies, it is because it is self-destructing under its own weight. In the words of Nancy Pelosi, we are still waiting to find out what is in the legislation.
Of course, most of the Republicans are using Obamacare for political posturing, even if they happen to be right that Obamacare is an abomination. Most Republican politicians want their own form of fascist/ socialist healthcare. Most do not advocate a free market in medicine and health insurance.
After all of this, we will also be in for a debate about the national debt ceiling. Obama is making these ridiculous speeches saying that we have to pay our bills. But the government can still pay the bills without raising the debt ceiling. It is just that the politicians would actually have to balance the budget going forward, which they do not want to do. That would mean giving up on their foreign wars, their drug wars, their funding of dictators, their handouts to rich farmers, and a good portion of the welfare state. It would also mean a change in so-called entitlements.
I have absolutely no doubt that the Republicans will fold on this too. Of course, it is ultimately the responsibility of the American people. While I think there has been a bit of a change in public opinion towards more liberty, it is still way too far away. The American people say they care about the national debt, but most will not care that much, especially if there are scare stories about government shutdowns and terrorists under your bed. They will tolerate more government debt, as long as their lifestyle is not taken down too dramatically.
I think there would be a few Republicans in Congress who would actually stay strong and refuse to vote for an increase in the debt ceiling. But there are not nearly enough, and most will fold under public opinion.
I can only hope that one day the American people are so strong in their feelings of not raising the debt ceiling that politicians will actually fear for their jobs if they vote for another increase. Until that day comes, or until we see much higher price inflation, then expect more of the same. Expect the national debt to keep going up.