Gaptoothed Government

Proponents of small government are struggling awfully hard to decide how much government they actually want.

As of this posting, the House of Representatives had passed 12 narrowly-focused spending bills to keep a variety of federal activities operating in the midst of a broader government shutdown. Among them: keeping national park lands open, paying death benefits to families of fallen soldiers and support for Head Start. Some are in response to complaints from folks back home, but most are designed to blunt media coverage. (No cigarette breaks for Smokey!)

Wait, did he say 12 spending bills? Yup. Sound familiar?

Had Congress passed the 12 regular appropriations bills lawmakers knew were required to keep the whole government running, the country wouldn’t be enduring death by a thousand workarounds.Thousands of contractors—I think they’re called job-creators—wouldn’t be sending workers home.

The CDC wouldn’t be scrambling to investigate the latest salmonella outbreak that has sickened people in 18 states.

The NTSB might be able to investigate a bus crash that killed eight people in Tennessee or the deadly fire in a DC subway line.

No one is untouched. Even the librarians are suffering: no National Archives, National Library of Medicine or Library of Congress!

Is there any hope on the horizon?

So far, there’s been a lot of political posturing, finger-pointing and “truthiness.” The time might be right to pack our national leaders into a bus for a weekend retreat to Camp David or other secluded spot—away from the media and without their Twitter accounts. Lock the doors and tell them to work it out.

This is the United States. They can’t secede from laws they don’t agree with.

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