Shutdown Politics

I don’t have a great deal to say about the federal government shutdown. Those who say that President Trump is only pursuing his wall to to fulfill a campaign promise are right. Those who say that the Democrats are only refusing to give him the $5 billion for political reasons are right. The total federal budget is around $4 trillion. $5 billion is .125% of that—a significant amount to you and me but completely insignificant in the larger scheme of things. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the shutdown itself costs us more than $5 billion.

I have made my views of illegal immigration and what to do about it clear and I won’t repeat them here. I don’t believe any real principle is at stake in the conflict. It’s primarily a headbutting contest between Donald Trump and Nancy Pelosi. The news media who are overwhelmingly blaming Trump for the shutdown are rather obviously taking an overtly partisan stance. The president is under no obligation to knuckle under to the Speaker of the House and, contrariwise, the Speaker of the House is under no obligation to defer to the president.

They should craft a compromise that allows both of them to save face, an ironic diction under the circumstances. Both should get something they notionally want and both should relinquish something they notionally want. My confidence that will take place approaches zero.

12 comments… add one
  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    Want to have a betting pool when it ends?

    1) monday, Jan 14
    2) state of the union (jan 29)
    3) feb 7 (micheal cohen’s testimony to Congress)
    4) April 1 (tax season, 100 days)
    5) Memorial Day
    6) aug 1 (debt ceiling, congressional recess)

    My guess is 3.

  • Gray Shambler Link

    Be alright with me if it stays closed until Nov. 4, 2020.

  • Gray Shambler Link

    The state of the union address, if it happens, will be telecast from the oval office.

  • I doubt it will end with Michael Cohen’s testimony unless Trump knows for certain it will completely exonerate him and his family. In fact I would predict that, if the shutdown is still ongoing on February 6, Trump will declare an emergency on February 6 and order the military to start building his wall. The shutdown is a great way of dominating the conversation for Trump.

  • BTW, I despise the SOTU address. IMO it’s a custom that should be abandoned. It reminds me of a levee, something that should not take place in the United States.

  • Steve Link

    At least on the Dem side it is more than headbutting. There is also a revenge component. The GOP and Trump had agreed to DAVA in return for the wall. Then Trump backed out. Then the Senate voted unanimously for a budget deal and then backed out. When you keep agreeing to deals and backing out the other side wants revenge.


  • The GOP and Trump had agreed to DAVA in return for the wall.

    Could you please document that, Steve? My recollection is that the Democrats upped the ante by requiring that the parents of DACA beneficiaries also be given amnesty.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    Yes, I thought waiting through Michael Cohen’s testimony made a lot of sense; drown it out of the news after a day.

    Remembered SNAP will pay Feb benefits but not in March. So March 1 is a good pick too.
    Brings up another thought, what if Trump ends up declaring a national emergency to continue SNAP benefits and fund the wall in the same order… that would be an interesting outcome.

  • Andy Link

    I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen. It’s not clear who is driving the bus.

  • Guarneri Link

    “My recollection is that the Democrats upped the ante…”

    Heh. Always conveniently left out by media, pols, partisans etc.

    You know, there a negotiating reality – “When you keep agreeing to deals and then changing the terms, the other side loses trust.”

  • steve Link

    I did not find anything about requiring that parents be given amnesty. Have a link?


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