By Ryan Lau | USA
Anyone who has watched or read the news sometime this month is most likely aware of the fact that once again, congressional Democrats and Republicans are unable to agree on a budget. Democrats are consistently pushing for some form of protection for Dreamers, which has since sparked backlash from President Trump. Republicans, on the other hand, seek an increase in defense spending, which has been vehemently opposed and countered by Democrats. Both parties wish to avoid a government shutdown, with a deadline of Friday at midnight to reach an agreement. Ironically, though, the one area in which both Democrats and Republicans generally agree is the one area in which both are wrong. In fact, a government shutdown, contrary to popular belief, would be incredibly beneficial to both the American people and government.
In the event of a government shutdown, all funding for federal programs would come to an immediate halt. An obvious exception exists for branches such as the Post Office, which are self-reliant upon their own revenue from stamps and postage fees for operation. However, the vast majority of government agencies would immediately lose their funding, and this is not a bad thing, as the government will save a considerable amount of money during this process by halting the funding of useless or overpaid agencies.
As a clear example of this, I first examined the expenditures of the United States National Guard, which has an alleged purpose of protecting our citizens in case of a foreign threat or emergency. The thing is, we don’t have any current foreign threats that require an acting home army. Most of these individuals are already trained for an event that has not occurred in our nation since the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Despite the clear lack of need for such a large force, the federal government allocates no small amount of funding for their archaic and currently obsolete services.
The average monthly wage of a guards-person ranges from $184 for a private enlisting in one weekend of basic drill training, all the way up to $18,936 for an active duty general. For the sake of simplification, I have conservatively estimated the average figure to be roughly $1,000 a month, though the true average is likely far higher. In the event that only half of the 348,156 currently enlisted National Guard members were told not to report to work (it would likely be a considerably higher number than this), the federal government would be saving 174 million dollars in a single month, but each guards-person would still be entirely capable of reporting to his or her full-time job.
Though admittedly a small figure, the National Guard is a tiny fragment of our overall spending. As an example of a larger agency, I will now examine the U.S. Department of Labor. The agency dumps out an exorbitant annual budget of 12.8 billion dollars for services that frankly, are none of the government’s business. If an employer and employee come to a voluntary agreement regarding the terms of the employee’s labor, it is not the place of any third party entity, regardless of their claim to power, to prevent this transaction from occurring, provided of course that it does not infringe upon the Natural Rights of any individual. On the other hand, if an able-bodied adult cannot find labor, it is not the business of the government to support him by forcibly taking money from the more successful. In both scenarios, a voluntarily funded market-driven solution would prove to be adequate and would do so without grand-scale theft.
Now, this aforementioned figure of 12.8 billion dollars also does not include the funding of over 17,000 full-time employees. Thus, not including the employees, a one-month long government shutdown would save over one billion dollars. Factoring in their salaries, this number would, of course, be significantly higher. That’s one billion at least, with nine zeroes, no longer being forcibly taken from the taxpayers in order to fund an inefficient organization, or one billion dollars used to shrink the staggeringly high national debt.
Ultimately, our federal government has a budget of approximately 3.8 trillion dollars for the fiscal year of 2017. When all is said and done, even a one month long partial shutdown, cutting the expenditures of the state by 50%, would save the American people 158 billion dollars. This money could be used in remarkably better places than it is now, and at the discretion of the American consumer, rather than a tyrannical and bloated nation willing to steal and kill to accomplish their allegedly-noble causes.
Though the finances of a government shutdown are a key aspect of its potential benefit, they are not the only one. Most notably save finances, the average American will have a significantly better experience with air travel. Given a shutdown is to occur, air traffic control and airport security staff would still be in place, as they are always hired by the airports themselves, and thus outside of the federal government’s payroll.
Who, then, is federally paid for in an airport? The Transportation Security Agency, with an abysmal record of zero terrorists stopped since its creation in 2001, devours nearly 8 billion dollars in federal funding annually. To make matters worse, dreadfully long lines can add five, fifteen or thirty minutes, even an hour to travel times due to security lines, depending on the airport and the occasion. A temporary shutdown, however, would eliminate these lines, and during the holiday season, families across the nation would be more able to travel without stress, spending more time with their families and less time waiting to be prodded by an eerie metal rod.
Clearly, the verdict is in on a government shutdown. Saving Americans money and protecting their happiness are allegedly in the direct intentions of the government. However, these intentions are clearly ignored. The American people are being stolen from in order to fund obsolete and inadequate services. Regardless of the state’s true intent (which I would venture to guess that nobody can fully explain in this day and age), the fact that a state that formerly protected the rights of the individual has fallen into such disrepair is a calamity. Reversal of this governmental decay, if you will, must be instituted at the earliest possible hour, in order to finally allow the American people to live in peace and prosperity. Thus, it is with no minute degree of irony that I declare: the federal government would best accomplish its goals by suspending its own existence.