Friday, August 30, 2013

The Looming Debt Ceiling Crisis: Remember What Murray Rothbard Wrote

Poltico reports:
The White House and a group of Republican senators have reached an impasse on the deficit after months of private talks, a development that raises the prospects of a budget crisis in the fall.

After a private meeting yielded no progress between eight senators and top White House officials, the two sides concluded it was time to break off discussions, officials said Thursday evening. With virtually no prospect for a bipartisan deal in the Senate, participants said the development would shift the focus back to the House, which will have to begin finding a way to avoid a government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis.
Murray Rothbard wrote in 1990:
 In politics fall, not spring, is the silly season. How many times have we seen the farce: the crisis deadline in October, the budget “summit” between the Executive and Congress, and the piteous wails of liberals and centrists that those wonderful, hard-working, dedicated “federal workers” may be “furloughed,” which unfortunately does not mean that they are thrown on the beach to find their way in the productive private sector. The dread furlough means that for a few days or so, the oppressed taxpaying public gets to keep a bit more of its own money, while the federal workers get a rare chance to apply their dedication without mulcting the taxpayers: an opportunity that these bureaucrats invariably seem to pass up.

Has it occurred to many citizens that, for the few blessed days of federal shutdown, the world does not come to an end? That the stars remain in their courses, and everyone goes about their daily life as before?[...] The 1990 furlough crisis highlights some suggestive but neglected aspects of common thinking about the budget. In the first place, all parties are talking about “fair sharing of the pain,” of the “necessity to inflict pain,” etc. How come that government, and only government, is regularly associated with a systematic infliction of pain? 
In contemplating the activities of Sony or Proctor and Gamble or countless other private firms, do we ask ourselves how much pain they propose to inflict upon us in the coming year? Why is it that government, and only government, is regularly coupled with pain: like ham-and-eggs, or . . . death-and-taxes?
Perhaps we should begin to ask ourselves why government and pain are Gemini twins, and whether we really need an institution that consists of a massive engine for the imposition and
administration of pain and suffering. Is there no better way to run our affairs? 

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