Friday, April 8, 2011

Government shutdown? I think not.

As a law student with a nearly useless undergrad degree in sociology, I'm obviously very lacking in any kind of credentials to make any sort of prediction on government. But as I'm a huge cynic with a few remaining vestiges of common sense, I'm going to join the hordes of nameless people who blog their opinions as if they were important. Since my qualifications are basically void, the only basis for any conclusion I make has to be logic and common sense. So I'll start at the beginning.

First, congress is not full of stupid people. Corrupt, elitist, and out of touch with the general public, of course. But not stupid. Large corporations, power-hungry unions, and special interests groups will not fund the campaign of someone they think is an idiot. We Expect out politicians to be smart enough to solve problems, should circumstances ever provide them with an opportunity to do so.

Since Congress is not stupid, we can assume that they won't make stupid decisions. One of the smart decisions people in congress make is to do what they can to keep their jobs (smart for them, not so much for us).

Congresspeople want to keep their jobs. Let's face it, they have a pretty sweet gig. Here's some of the perks of being a congressperson:
Very good pay
Good benefits
Pandering special interest groups/corporations
Very little actual work

Let's face it, who wants to give up a sweet gig like that? All you have to do is make it appear that you're trying to get money to your state (money that was taxed from the citizens and corporations of your state in the first place).

So will Congress let government shut down? No. Their jobs depend in large part on public good will (but mostly on advertising and name recognition). And every member of Congress knows that there will be huge public outrage if the mail stops, the DOL shuts down, or the military doesn't get paid.

Here's my predictions of what will happen, on a scale from most to least likely.
1. Congress will grant themselves some sort of extension, or something of the sort, to keep themselves in session. Most likely Republicans will fold, knowing that Obama will veto any conservative bill that actually makes it to his desk.
2. Congress will shut down, but will pass a last minute resolution to keep all government functions running while they're gone.
3. Congress will shut down and all government function will continue as normal. Government workers will be given IOU's, and banks will decide it's probably not in their best interest to foreclose on the home of the millions of government workers with a mortgage. In the meantime, government workers might apply for welfare.
4. All government function will cease. The public will be outraged, and every politician in office will be replaced (in this case, I believe the ends may justify the means).
5. Armageddon. Buy a warm coat and canned food, because nuclear winter is coming.

Conclusion: government won't shut down. Congresspeople have too much at stake.

We'll find out if I'm right very soon.

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