Government ‘Shutdown’, or the Big Yawn

Who Cares?

Apparently the unresolved back and forth between House and Senate concerning the 'Obamacare' bill in the run-up to the debt ceiling cut-off date on October 17 will lead to what is breathlessly referred to as a 'government shutdown' in the media. Wish that it were so, as an actual shutdown would have the salutary effect of demonstrating that very few are going to particularly miss the government.

In fact, one wonders why the recent stock market decline is blamed on this looming shutdown (which essentially consists of the cessation of 'non-essential services'. If they are 'non-essential', why do they even exist?). Stock market participants should be glad that government meddling in the economy might be temporarily interrupted.

[Hear More: Charles Hugh Smith: Healthcare, Education Cartels Devastating Our Economy]

On this occasion it may be worth considering the definition of government's nature by German sociologist Franz Oppenheimer (in his 1926 book “The State: Its History and Development Viewed Sociologically”):

There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one’s own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others. [… ] I . . . call one’s own labor and the . . . exchange of one’s own labor for the labor of others, the ‘economic means’ for the satisfaction of need while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the “political means.” [...] The State is an organization of the political means.”

So what is about to be shut down is the “organization of the political means for the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others”. What can be bad about that?

Of course there have been 17 such 'shutdowns' over the past four decades, and none of them actually amounted to a true shutdown. Mainly the whole show is about whose favored pork barrel projects are going to receive funding. There may be a handful of representatives in Congress and the Senate who are genuinely concerned about the public debt, but they are few and far between. Even the most reviled and 'harshest' cost cutting proposals are merely about slowing the speed at which government spending will grow, not about actually reversing the government's debts and deficits.

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