Why should the Tea Party cooperate with the rest of Congress, if cooperating means they lose 100% of the achievements they've made?
Don't believe they've achieved? What are their stated goals: Make government smaller. Get government out of their lives. Get government out of the business of governing and into the business of facilitating the "people" into governing themselves. Most importantly, to return the parts of the government that are currently overreaching back into the hands of citizens, private business, and if necessary, local government.
The shutdown is the method, not the waypoint. I discussed this in depth in the first part of this post (Read Here: The Tea Party Has Already Won) mainly because I did not see this being reported anywhere else, and it was my attempt to see if anyone else had a similar feeling. I received two major criticisms of my thesis. Which I feel I should address here:
- This is not about the next election: This is not about approval ratings or control of the House or even the next president. This is especially not about the ACA or Obamacare. This is about achieving the long term stated goals via Any Means Necessary. No negotiation will achieve their stated goals, too many people are against those goals. On the other hand, the failure to vote, the denial of the quorum will moves us closer to those stated goals above.
- Everyday the Shutdown moves us closer to the government the Tea Party desires: In the previous essay I wrote "short term becomes long term" and left it at that. The truth is, while my heart and best intentions told me that was true, I was not informed enough to explain why I felt so. Once I wrote the article, people kept sending me examples of how the short term Shutdown creates the long term atrophy of government. There are two major areas the Shutdown engineers this: People and Services.
A. People: Even though the Government stopped issuing paychecks, banks have not stopped collecting mortgages, landlords are still collecting rent. Utilities are not Federal and are still collecting money. Gas stations still require money, as does anywhere where you want to get food, grocery or restaurant.
At some point, the people who expect to get checks from the Federal Government will need to get checks from somewhere. Anywhere. But somewhere dependable. Right now, the private sector is much more dependable than the Federal Government. As these employees leave, their departments will be understaffed. If the department is understaffed, the work will not be performed as well. If the work is not performed as well, that is another reason why the Government should not be in charge of that section of government. If the work is performed as well, it is a reason why that department was overstaffed to begin with.
Welcome to logic, Tea Party style.
B. Services: This one is even worse. Currently in National Parks are losing 716 Million a day for local communities. States are asking to take over National Parks, the Feds have responded "you can pay the salaries, but you cannot take over the parks themselves." But a lot of people are not happy with that. The adoption of Federal Parks by local governments is a great way to reduce government programs.
What about scientific research? Of course childhood cancer needs to be cured at any cost, including the passage of a clean budget. Of course not. The CDC is one of the first departments the Tea Party would like to close. One of the least essential in their eyes. Solving cancer is the purview of big pharmaceutical (who stands to make a fortune off a new medication, anyway) or Non-profit organization. If the problem is bad enough, of course the non-profit will be able to raise enough money to support the research. And the mice they've been using to test techniques to slow the Alzheimer's that is slowly eating away at my mother's brain? Toss 'em!
What about space exploration? We have Richard Branson, why do we need NASA? The moonwalk was so long ago when forget the national pride it provided. And Global Warming? If we never study it, we never have to admit it exists!
Here's a list of other changes you can expect during the shutdown. The solution to most of these is to privatize these services and then allow the free market to handle them. At least, if that is considered a positive. Why not privatize the Federal Public Defender's office and auction it off to the lowest bidder? I'm sure there's a document management company that could review all the applications for VA treatment that could do it faster for less money. Never mind if it is in India, the CEO would live in America and that money would trickle down into real American jobs and services here, right?
The important thing to remember here is not whether I or you are in favor of the Tea Party or the Shutdown technique. The question is, are they achieving their stated (or even unstated) goals by keeping the government shut down. And if they are, what is the incentive for them to allow a vote that will re-start everything they dislike about our government. By denying the Congress the ability to vote, the Government moves closer and closer to the government the Tea Party desires by default.
What does the Tea Party gain by passing a Clean Bill? No one has answered that. And especially what do they gain that, balancing against the devastating effects on programs (the programs Tea Partiers desire to suffer ill effects) are worth coming to the table? Not one.
When the kid down the street takes his ball and goes home, how long do you cry and say "Please bring your ball back. Come on, we really want to play." At some point you say "okay, we're playing with my ball now, and you can either play with us, or we'll play without you." The government has to move past the crying phase. The Tea Party is using legal means to meet tactical ends. But the Shutdown is not a negotiation strategy to achieve, it is the means to achieve those goals! Basically, the shutdown serves the people who put the Tea Partiers in office, and so the Shutdown continues. It is time for the rest of the government by the people, for the people, to figure out a better way to serve the people instead of crying that they want the ball back.
To see more blogs about legal issues by the author please check out his legal blog here.