by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
[F]or all of the breathless commentary from Beltway media, the reality is that the federal government can’t even shut itself down properly. Only about 25 percent of the federal government is affected. The military is fully funded and on duty, as are Social Security and Medicare. The US Postal Services continues delivering unwanted flyers and coupons, the TSA is fully funded and patting people down, and the Veterans Administration is still providing substandard care to our veterans.
On a more personal level, I have noted with satisfaction that when I turn on the faucet, water still comes out. When I drive to the store, the street lights are still on. In fact, I passed a police officer on the way to get a coffee this morning, so our neighborhood remains safe. So what am I missing? Not much it turns out. And neither is almost anyone else.
Maybe what we learned from the shutdown is that for all of the talk, all of the money, all of the skyrocketing debt, the federal government is mostly non-essential. The State Department? Mostly unnecessary and designed for another era. If the president wants to talk to the leader of Burkina Faso, he can send him an email. Instead of the diplomacy in service of American interests, State has become mostly a colonial office for our post Cold War policy of moral imperialism. And State is one of the original cabinet level departments which we actually need in some much more limited capacity. It gets worse from there.