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.