"Oh dread,"said Uncle Spud. "Another government shutdown is looming. Whatever shall we do?"
"Do you really think it will happen?"I asked.
"It might,"he said. "If congress can"t agree by Friday, there will be no budget deal and the government will run out of money."
"The government ran out of money a long time ago,"I reminded him. "Uncle Sam has been living on his credit card for the past 30 years."
"Well, if congress doesn"t use the credit card again, all non-essential government agencies will shut down at the end of the week."
"We have non-essential government agencies?"
"Hundreds of them,"Spud proclaimed, "Maybe thousands."
"You can"t be serious."
"Oh, but it"s true,"he insisted. "We have hundreds of government departments, agencies, bureaus, boards, offices, panels, centers, committees, commissions, consultants, contractors, chaos and confusion, and most of it is non-essential."
"In fact,"he continued, "many of them are redundant. Dozens of those bureaus, panels, boards, commissions, etc. duplicate jobs, services, responsibilities and record keeping. If you have any doubt about that, go to your computer and do a Google search for U.S. government agencies and see what you get. It"s a tangled web of bureaucratic inefficiency two or three layers thick."
"No wonder government can"t get anything done,"I said. "The bureaucracy has become like deadfall in the king"s forest. When the dead wood stacks up in layers like that, nothing can get through it. The forest becomes unproductive and the dead wood becomes a fire hazard."
"How many of those hundreds of federal agencies are non-essential,"I asked.
"Most of them,"he said. "The constitution says the role of the federal government is to provide for the national defense, regulate interstate commerce, and make treaties with foreign nations. Anything else has been surreptitiously or illegally added, and is therefore non-essential, according to our founding principles and documents."
"Hmm,"I mused. "Are you telling me that with hundreds of non-essential agencies, and with dozens, maybe hundreds of duplicitous bureaus, commissions and agencies on the payroll, congress can"t find a way to reduce the budget and stop borrowing money from China?"
"You got it,"Spud said. "In fact, the size of government is increasing exponentially as we speak. This administration has added 188,000 new people to the government payroll in the past two years. They just keep adding more layers to the bureaucracy. The federal government is our nations largest employer and has been for a long time. And once hired, it"s almost impossible to get rid of federal employees. People, jobs and agencies are never cut or reduced once they become meshed into the bureaucratic web."
"It is no wonder our nation is going broke,"I said. "No one can run a country or a business like that. To be productive, we"ve got to be efficient and cull the non-essential dead wood on a regular basis. Why doesn"t congress take inventory and cut back on the duplicate and non-essential agencies?"
"All of that old dry wood has become a fire hazard,"Spud said. "Look what is happening in Wisconsin with the public employees unions."
"Good point,"I had to agree.
"Maybe a government shutdown would be a good thing."
"Sure it would,"Spud agreed. "And the longer the shutdown the better. The only time we lose our freedoms, increase the national debt, and get smothered by new taxes and regulations that cripple the economy and make our lives miserable is when congress is in session. It would be great if we could send them all home and tell them we"ll call them if we need them to sign a treaty or declare war or something."
"Good idea,"I concurred. "Get the Government Accountability Office on the phone and we"ll pass our findings and suggestions on to them."
"Sorry,"Spud said. "Today is Monday. You can"t do business with the government of Mondays and Fridays. No one is ever in the office."