So what does a government shut down look like? Do the president and vice president resign now that the government ends? No, they stay on the job and receive full pay as before. Does Congress fly out of Washington D. C. the following day and cease to draw their pay, and the Supreme Court cease to deliberate on constitutional questions? '
Does the army come home and cease to protect us? NO! No, No! Do states, counties, and cities no longer function? No again, they have their own tax base and cops, prisons, and teachers remain in place.
Will I still get my mail? Yes. The U.S. Postal Service functions as an independent business unit.
Will I still get Social Security benefits? Yes! And food stamps? Yes. And unemployment compensation? Yes. And veterans’ benefits? Yes, at least until late October.
And will there still be a functioning federal school lunch program? Yes, at least through October ("66 questions and answers about the government shutdown," by Gregory Korte, USA Today Oct. 1, 2013).
Then why the hysteria? Because these two words, “government shutdown,” and the possibility of missed food stamps send the largely uninformed into frenzy, they finally awake from their stupor.
They largely know nothing, although they should, of the wrangling of government to protect them from themselves and oppose any proposed government diet that might reduce their daily feed. They worshipfully listen to the party and political leaders that are least likely to disturb this base, like defunding Obamacare.
There will never be a government shut down because none of these things will ever happen short of an overthrow of the government from within, the collapse of our financial structure (which is becoming ever more likely do to our obsession to live beyond our means), or a successful invasion from without.
So cease the media frenzy and subsequent over-reaction.
How do we know this? Because we have had 17 government shutdowns since 1977 according to the Congressional Research Service, the Reagan Administration having 8 of them alone. Because in 1979 the government was shut down for 10 days while Congress argued over a proposed salary increase for the legislative branch. Because we had a five-day shutdown between November 14 and Nov. 19, 1995, and a second one of 21 days, between Dec. 16, and Jan. 6, 1996, and none of the bad things mentioned above happened. No! Not even one. In fact, the public as a whole didn’t even notice.
Dr. Harold Pease has taught history and political science from a conservative perspective for more than 25 years at Taft College. To read more of his articles, visit www.LibertyUnderFire.org.