Thursday, 07 April 2011 20:13

Is US congress Throwing Granny Under Bus With Federal Shutdown?

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With the U.S. Congress and President Obama on the brink of a federal government shutdown, which could have serious impact upon domestic and foreign policy services and decisions, questions are being asked how bad can it be for the United States and for the individual states should there in fact be a termination or suspension of services.

By email, Bayoubuzz has asked author and historian, Dr. Robert Owens, his opinion regarding the looming shutdown.  Here is his written  response:

Bayoubuzz:  By claiming we should go back to the principles of smaller centralized government enunciated by the Founders, is that concept somewhat archaic given the US role as the world’s superpower and given the nation is worlds apart from what it was over 200 years ago?

Tags: US congress, federal shutdown, Dr. Robert Owens, President Obama, federal government

Dr. Owens: In my considered opinion – no – it is not an archaic concept.  I believe the principles of limited government and individual liberties are still new and fresh.  These ideas have had little opportunity to exist in a world, which has suffered under the boot of despots and their plunder empires throughout history.

Yes, we are a superpower, a preeminent one, and some might almost say a hegemonic one.  However, this unique status, which was achieved through the explosion of creativity and production unleashed by limited government and individual freedom, would be ill served by the reduction or loss of these twin blessings.

And yes, we do live in a world that is much different than the one we inhabited 200 years ago.  However, I believe the ideals of limited government and individual liberties are timeless and universal.  With government out of the way and the equality of opportunity which only personal liberty allows, humanity is free to reach the true extent of its potential.  Unlimited government and serfdom stifle the human spirit and enslave the talents of humanity to the service of whoever is strong enough and ruthless enough to seize power.

Bayoubuzz: What might be the impact upon the states and local governments should the government shut down?  What state services would be affected by a shutdown, even a short one?

Dr. Owens: What our perpetually re-elected leaders are calling a shutdown is actually what we call living within our means.  Recall that when any local politicians are threatened with not having enough money to fund their pet projects and boondoggles they immediately moan they will have to lay off the police and there won’t be any gas for the rescue squad.  They never seem to think maybe they could take one less limo ride or perhaps their secretary’s secretary really doesn’t need a secretary.

On the national scene it is even more pronounced.  The eternally entrenched bewail the very thought of less money with which to play god even if a large chunk of that money has to be borrowed on an overextended credit card.  As the deadline approaches for a dreaded dose of fiscal sanity the leaders of the Big Government Party (on both sides of the aisle) wring their hands and tell us they don’t want to see it happen, but we’re going to be forced to throw Granny under the bus, starve the children, and open the doors to Osama and Al Qaeda.  They didn’t want to do it, but we forced them to so SEND MORE MONEY QUICK!

In answer to your question, since it is the Federal Government whose credit card might get cut in half, the only impact possible upon the states and localities would be a loss of money from Uncle Sugar, and the only services that would be affected are ones funded by Federal dollars.  While some of these programs might be good, and most people have their personal favorites, it comes down to if we at the state and local level really want them we should fund them ourselves.  Moreover, if they don’t make it through a realistic cost/benefit analysis then we have no business expecting them.

Beneath all the hand wringing and wailing we learn essential services will continue during a shut down. If we are really so far in debt that no one would lend us enough money to be broke what sense does it make to pay for non-essential services anyway?

This won’t be our first dance around the Federal government shut down Maypole.  In fact, there have been seventeen shutdowns since 1977, which have ranged in length from one day to three weeks.  There were six during Carter’s term alone.  When we hear the Kleptocracy in Washington whimper about running out of our great grand children’s money it should scare us about as much as hearing the person who stole our identity say they are going to quit buying gold with our credit card.

On the National, State, and Local levels the return of fiscal sanity is going to throw a wrench into the profligate lifestyle to which we have all become addicted, but unless we really believe it is right to take out a mortgage on our great grandchildren’s future – which has yet to be built – then we must stop over spending.

Dr. Robert Owens, a Constitutional scholar, holds a PhD in Organizational Leadership, a Master’s Degree in History and Religious Education, and a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Religious Education.  He teaches History, Political Science, Religion and Leadership at Southside Virginia Community College – a part of the Virginia Community College System – and History for the American Public University.  The Constitution Failed is available online at, and

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