There's been a lot of talk about federal deficits lately, but very little understanding. Here's a way to put this complex issue into perspective: Let's assume that your family is in financial trouble, and that you bring in an advisor who studies your books and reveals that you're spending $15,000 a year more than you take in. Would you expect the advisor to suggest that you only cut spending by $610, and charge the rest on your credit card? That's the comparable level of federal spending cuts in the bill that the House passed a few weeks ago. $610 of a $15,000 shortfall is the same proportion as 61 Billion dollars of our projected 1.5 Trillion dollar deficit in the current fiscal year. Most of us would agree that it is a very small portion indeed — probably far too small. But the Senate Democrats say that $61 billion is too drastic of a cut, and they won't support it, even if it means shutting down the government. It's mind-boggling.
If Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats refuse to even take up the House-passed Continuing Resolution, also known as HR 1, and if there is some kind of a government shutdown or slowdown, then the Senate Democrats should be seen by the public as the ones whose actions led to a government shutdown, not the Republicans who proposed a package of cuts that most would consider miniscule.
Finally, if the impasse continues beyond the time limit of the Continuing Resolution, the result would not be a true government shutdown. It would be more like a slowdown. Or, to put it another way, it would be like a long snow day. Haven't you heard weather reports that say, because of the snow, non-essential government employees are asked to stay home? Well, this would be like a long snow day — non-essential government services might stop, but Social Security checks would still be paid, the military would continue to be funded, the Border Patrol would stay on the job, and so on. Anything less would be an act of civic irresponsibility even worse than the dereliction of duty of the Wisconsin Democratic State Senators who skipped town for a few weeks. Harry Reid cannot escape personal and political responsibility for the partial government shutdown if he directs his fellow Democrats to oppose the modest cuts in the Continuing Resolution passed by the House of Representatives.