Notes on the government shutdown
Notes on the government shutdown
I have a post on the housing market pending at Seeking Alpha. If and when it goes up there, I will link to it here.
In the meantime, here are a few important notes on the shutdown.
I can’t find the quote now, but about a week ago it was floated that Trump could “save face” by declaring an emergency, starting to build the wall, and then allow the government to open. Then Trump indicated that if he declared a state of emergency, that wouldn’t mean that he would open the government even then. This is a win-lose capitulation transaction, and Trump is bound and determined to show dominance over the Democrats.
Aside from the fact that there is a large portion of the GOP that is taking advantage of this to “drown the government in a bathtub,” now that a Federal judge has turned down government workers’ “involuntary servitude” challenge, Trump has a ready-made force of de facto slaves that he can recall — or not — depending on whether he wants a particular government program to work or not:
Rank-and-file Democrats reject Trump’s invitation to shutdown talks, back Pelosi in opposition to border wall
The nearly 50,000 furloughed federal employees are being brought back to work without pay — part of a group of about 800,000 federal workers who are not receiving paychecks during the shutdown, which is affecting dozens of federal agencies large and small. A federal judge on Tuesday rejected a bid by unions representing air traffic controllers and other federal workers to force the government to pay them if they are required to work.
Don’t hold your breath waiting for SEC workers or those necessary to issue food stamps to be recalled.
I’m not the only one who is questioning the Democrats’ (lack of?) strategy here, in failing to frame this as a horse-trading negotiation:
But apparently more and more insiders are coming to the same conclusion I came to a number of days ago. It will take a preventable disaster to force an end to the shutdown:
Meanwhile, the longer the shutdown goes on, the more likely it is that the economic slowdown that I’ve been writing about for months turns into a recession:
Shutdown’s Economic Damage Starts to Pile Up, Threatening an End to Growth
Mr. Hassett said on Tuesday that the administration now calculates that the shutdown reduces quarterly economic growth by 0.13 percentage points for every week that it lasts — the cumulative effect of lost work from contractors and furloughed federal employees who are not getting paid and who are investing and spending less as a result. That means that the economy has already lost nearly half a percentage point of growth from the four-week shutdown. (Last year, economic growth for the first quarter totaled 2.2 percent.)
I’m guessing about 10 to 12 weeks of a shutdown would be enough to do the trick.
Finally, the focus on MItch McConnell is only half-right:
This is false. Unless Pelosi can round up over 50 GOPers in the House — and there’s no sign that she can — even a Senate bill passed 100-0 would not be enough to overcome a Trump veto.
I suspect the Democrats are using the same strategy they have been using since Trump was elected. They will just let him beat himself. He will make a serious gaffe if given ample opportunity, and will probably turn public opinion firmly against him.
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If federal workers had a real union none of them would be working right now. The first day that TSA and ATC didn’t show up would be the last day of the shut down. The workers hold all the leverage in this situation and they are for some completely inexplicable reason not using it.
The airline pilots could do it. They don’t work for the government. If their union decided it wasn’t safe to fly, the administration’s position would be toast.
As long as Nancy keeps seeing polls seeing Trump getting hammered over the shutdown it will continue. Trump will never back down because he needs his base to keep one third of the Senate and the shutdown has the advantage of diminishing the impact of the various reports that he is a suspected Russian agent, an unindicted coconspirator in the Southern District of New York and that his campaign if not him personally colluded with the Russians to rig the election. Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans fear Trump’s base more than they care for the country and we can only hope that the country shows them the door in 2020. On balance, I agree with the view that it will take a crisis to end the shutdown unless the country dramatically turns on Pelosi or Trump’s base deserts him.
Donald Trump is not Ronald Reagan.
Federal employee by law can have a union, but they can not strike. Plus there are enough people around Trump that would recall and pull a Reagan.
I don’t think for Trump this is any longer about his base. It is mostly if not solely all about his ego and showing who is “master”.
I have no concerns that Pelosi would not get enough votes if Mitch got the veto done which I’m confident he can do. Once the Senate did it enough repubs in the house are aware enough to see the writing on the wall regarding the survival of their party. There are enough repubs that are starting to realize the heat.
Ultimately, shutting down the government has to be permanently removed (and drowned in the bath tub) as a tool of political power.
It is called “Work to Rule”. Airline pilots do it when in a contract dispute with the airline. Not a strike.
The Work For Free workers can do the same.
Funny, we can’t find your paperwork. Please resubmit.
Funny, we saw something strange in your bag. We will have to inspect. Please step over here.
My late wife quit the IRS when asked to lie on TV. That is an option open to lots of folks.
While we’ve seen unions suing on an “involuntary servitude” basis, I don’t think that we’ve seen them sue on the basis that employees were improperly classified as “excepted.”*
* Protecting life and property. What the press usually calls “essential” a word the OPM is careful not to use.