Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Shut Down The Government, President Trump? Do So At Our Country's Peril.

     The awful scene in Texas these days coincides just in time with President Trump's belligerent threat to shut down the government if he doesn't get the funding to build that Mexican border wall he's
The Feds?
Sorry, Unavailable
obsessed with.
Speaking to a throng of true believers in Phoenix last week, Trump declared, "If we have to shut down the government, we're building that wall." The lunacy of that avowal in the context of the hurricane Harvey disaster should be self-evident to South Dakota's GOP trio of Congressional reps. If it isn't, they need to consider the consequences of a disabled federal government just as this unprecedented natural disaster has befallen our countrymen in Texas.  

    This might also be a good time to jog their memories of a local natural disaster that coincided with a politically-driven decision to close down the United States government when federal help was desperately needed.  In October 2013 a winter storm known as Atlas swept down on western South Dakota and killed as many as 70,000 head of cattle, according to estimates at the time. Our U.S. Representative Kristi Noem, who now aspires to become Governor of South Dakota, had just voted with her party to deny an extension of funding to the federal government, requiring the United States of America to shut down.  It was a masterstroke of political miscalculation, as the effect here was to close the federal agencies that ranchers, facing multi-million dollar losses, would normally turn to for disaster assistance.  Can you imagine being a rancher caught up in this mess who called the local disaster assistance office and got this recording?  "Hello.  You've reached the USDA service center.  Due to the lapse in current federal government funding, all employees aren't available until further notice.  Thank you."  
     On another economic front, of much interest to many a western South Dakotan, Noem's vote to strangle the federal government by denying it money to operate caused all of our national parks and monuments, including Mount Rushmore and Badlands National Park, to close their doors.  I'm heavily enough involved in the tourism biz to tell you that it killed our Autumn season and did some real harm to the many thousands of workers employed in the industry, coming as it did just before the holiday shopping season.  Compounding this display of federal heartlessness, dedicated Republican Noem joined with all of her colleagues in the House of Representatives to restore the pay of furloughed federal workers who were laid off during the shutdown, but never said a peep about the lost wages of South Dakota's private sector workers who were effectively "furloughed" at the time. 
     Local memories and the current catastrophe in Texas should be enough to convince our GOP congressional threesome (Thune and Rounds in the Senate, Noem in the House) that President Trump is risking a calamity with his threats of a government shutdown.  Atlas was a micro disaster compared to the apocalyptic result that would occur if the government were out of business during Harvey.  Our reps need to understand that party loyalty is one thing, irresponsibility is another.  As Kristi Noem has probably figured out by now, we send these people to Washington to run the government, not shut it down as an act of political complicity.  


  1. There are times when IOKIYAR is just not enough. This is one of those times.

  2. A VERY timely reminder. Thanks, John.

  3. Another good article by John. Yes another Republican malady. Shut down the government and waste the taxpayers money. And then they have the gall to call themselves conservative.