The longest government shutdown in the nation's history is finally over-at least for three weeks.
Why did it take so long to re-open the government?
Was it the Democrats' fault? Republicans'?
Facts are facts: even though Donald Trump, as President of the United States, was guilty of intransigence, refusing to concede any funding that did not include five billion dollars of taxpayer money for a wall along the southern US border with Mexico, it was actually Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) who deserves a great deal of the blame for the malingering shutdown, as he was the one with the power to bring to the Senate floor bills to break the impasse.
The House of Representative and the Senate voted for numerous bills to reopen the government, yet McConnell refused to present any of them.
So, it was Republicans' fault.
But was the partial shutdown really over a wall, or was there a more insidious, calculated, deleterious reason that drove so many of the 800,000 furloughed federal workers to be left with damaged credit ratings, missed mortgage payments, unnecessary debts, and doubts about their future job security?
Three words: STARVE THE BEAST.
"Starving the beast" is a political strategy former president Ronald Reagan's budget director David Stockman coined.
Basically, the goal is to eliminate government spending (the "beast") by defunding vital government agencies so they collapse under their own weight. Republican lawmakers can then return to their constituents and report that, just as predicted, those agencies were a waste of their money.
This is not surprising coming from the president whose first inaugural speech called government "the problem."
Since it's been around since Reagan, it's hardly new. But make no mistake, Republicans have been hard at work at it for the past three and a half decades.
Now they have a President enacting the billionaires' agenda.
The recent shutdown nearly brought the nation to its knees.
We saw airport checkpoints close, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) staffing levels hit a 30-year low, garbage pile up in and around our national parks, food inspections hindered, the IRS's tax filing work significantly delayed, and federal courts' funding limited.
This is causing many Republicans to wonder if agencies wouldn't better serve us if they were removed from the government's auspices and privatized.
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