imageThe presumptive House Majority Leader, Representative Eric Cantor (R-VA), was on Fox News Sunday this morning discussing the GOP Agenda.  They want to cut non-Defense discretionary spending down to 2008 levels which would represent a 22% cut in those programs.

About 10 1/2 minutes into the interview, the specter of the government shutdown that occurred in 1995 after the Republicans took back the majority in Congress in 1994 since the new Republican House could face the same type of impasse with President Barack Obama that the Republican controlled Congress faced with President Bill Clinton then.

CHRIS WALLACE:  Are you willing to say right now we’re not going to let the country go into default, and we won’t allow a government shutdown?

CANTOR:  Chris, look at this now.  The chief executive, the president, is as responsible as any in terms of running this government. The president has a responsibility, as much or more so than Congress, to make sure that we are continuing to function in a way that the people want.

The left is already jumping all over this interview.

It’s difficult to exaggerate just how harmful a shutdown or default would be for the United States and its economy. A “shutdown” occurs when Congress fails to appropriate money to fund the federal agencies. As a result, nearly every federal employee is sent home, including the officials who cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid checks. In other words, by threatening a shutdown, Cantor is holding the incomes of millions of American seniors hostage unless Obama complies with his petty demands.

First, Cantor didn’t threaten a shutdown.  He was answering a question.  Secondly I wonder if the author of this drivel remembered that our Federal government is currently operating without a budget and there isn’t any party gridlock.  Third, the President not Congress, decides the scope of any shutdown.  Cantor can’t shut the government down, only the Chief Executive can do that.  Fourth, Cantor’s “petty demands” are precisely the reason why Republicans were swept to power in the House and made huge gains in the Senate.  People want fiscal sanity back and if Republicans don’t deliver then they’ll likely be sent packing.  People want spending cuts and the growth of government scaled back, not just arrested.

Whether the President decides to work with the new reality he has or sticks to his guns on spending is entirely up to him.  I don’t think he’ll catch a break like President Clinton did in 1995 when the threat of a shutdown became a game of chicken between him and Speaker Newt Gingrich.  Instead President Obama will be fighting against the American people, but then again he’s been doing that for the past two years already so why should we expect any different now.

HT: Memeorandum

Update: Welcome Instapundit  and Legal Insurrection readers!

Update 2: Linked at The Other McCain

Update 3: Linked at The Atlantic Wire and made the headlines at The NewsReal Blog.

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  1. If the government shuts down, who other than tax consumers gives a crap? Not the taxpayers. Are the lights going to go off? No. Are the utilities going to shut down? No. Will the roads shut down? No. Will the gas stations, supermarkets, hospitals, restaurants, retail stores, transportation companies and all other businesses shut down? No. Will the local cops, fireman and teachers all be laid off? No. So again, other than those who live of other people’s taxes who gives a crap. Let them shut the federal government down for a month and when the sky doesn’t fall and the earth doesn’t stop spinning on it’s axis the spell of big government will be over.

    1. Other than vital defense functions which must be done at the federal level, I agree. A separate, appropriate funding measure specifically tailored for that purpose and that purpose only, and then only at a maintenance level along with sufficient funds to provide for the troops in the field is in order. Otherwise, defunding the federal .gov isn’t a bad thing, not at all.

  2. As I recall from Clinton’s presidency, the government shutdown was blamed on Gingrich and the Republicans from the start. The press seems to buy the Democrats’ line that small government rhetoric is cover for obstructionism.

  3. Well, this is pretty obviously a replay of the Dems big hope– when Clinton lost Congress in 94, Newt’s Republicans “shut down the government” and paid a big cost in terms of public support. Of course, that was in the pre-Fox, pre-internet days, when the Dem leaning press could pretty much spin things as they wanted. I doubt this next government shut down will have the same effect as the last one!

  4. Hey the Commissioner of Social Security already decided to shut down that agency the day after Thanksgiving (at a cost of about $25 million) so the lefty nightmare is truly under way, eh?

  5. I think Americans might want to do a little planning if the Republicans follow through on Rep. Cantor’s threat to force a government shutdown. Some of the way a Republican shut-down of the Federal Government affect individual Americans include the following:

    1) The heat, water, electricity, telephone, Internet, and sewage services to the U.S. Capitol will be shut off due to the government shut-down (no pay, no services).
    2) All airports will be closed to comply with the shut-down of the air traffic control system.
    3) All ports of entry, including people crossings, vehicle crossing, and airports will be closed to comply with the shut-down of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement services. This means that no people can enter or leave America, and no products can be brought into the country.
    4) The 150,000 troops and hundreds of thousands of support contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with all military and support personnel and dependents serving overseas will be returned to the U.S. shores prior to the government shut-down.
    5) The 350 ships in the U.S. Navy will return to U.S. shores prior to the government shut-down.
    6) All military and government aircraft will be returned to U.S. bases and grounded.
    7) All medical service providers, including hospitals, labs, doctors, etc. will have to notify patients to be prepared to pay cash.
    8) There will be no weather forecasts from NOAA or rescues from the U.S. Coast Guard.
    9) Working and retired people will have to notify the people processing payrolls for wages and pension payments to stop with-holding of Federal taxes or FICA payroll taxes since the government is not providing any services.
    10) Alaska, California, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi will be notified by the Federal government that they will not be receiving any oil or revenues or royalties from off-shore drilling, or drilling on Federal lands.
    11) The hedge funds, which hold most of their liquid assets in U.S. Treasury securities, will cease almost all trading activity or investment in new businesses due to the inability to redeem U.S. Treasury securities.
    12) In addition to stopping Social Security retirement and disability payments, all retirees will have to be notified that almost all pension payments may be reduced because most pension funds will be unable to redeem the short and medium U.S. Treasury securities in their portfolio.
    13) All Americans will have to be notified that money market checking accounts can no longer be used because the overnight and short term U.S. Treasury securities cannot be redeemed.
    14) All Americans purchasing or refinancing a home will have to be notified that there is no market for the mortgages being securitized with the shut-down of FNMA and GNMA activities.
    15) All business activity may have to be conducted in cash because the all of the banking debits and credits between banks are processed by a governmental agency that will be closed.
    16) All personal financial activities by individual consumers may have to be conducted in cash because the all of the banking debits and credits between banks are processed by a governmental agency that will be closed.
    17) It will be necessary to prepare all foods very carefully because there will be no inspection of any food products.
    18) Try to stay in good health because there will be no oversight of the manufacturing, quality, or efficacy of any pharmaceutical products.
    19) Don’t expect any mail.

    1. 1-thats a good thing!
      2-privitize the ATC like other countries have.
      3-obviously you have never dealt with ICE, hardly a noticeable difference.
      4, 5, 6 those are core functions of the government, defense is a constitutional requirement. Maybe the democrats might know this.
      7-no basis in that statement. that has nothing to do with cash paying patients or the privately insured.
      8-weather forecasts should privatized. As for the coast guard that also falls under the guise of national defense as a core function.
      9-and the problem with that is?
      10-those lands should revert to those states. Indeed Alaska would be better off financially as an independent country.
      The US would still defend Alaska just like the US defends the Saudis and Alaska would charge for basing rights like NATO countries do. And with all that land no longer under federal control Alaska would drown in cash for the natural resources. Texas doesn’t need the US, Louisiana and Mississippi with out federal controls on their resources might be better off as well being independent.
      11- it would take longer than a month for your doomsday scenario to happen. the net result would be the dumping of the dollar for other currencies and ultimately the public demanding the right to hold assets in whatever currency they choose to and the ability to enter in to contracts with currencies other than the dollar.
      12-that actually needs to be done.
      13-overnight money markets pay next to nothing, switching to regular checking accounts is no biggie.
      14-those agencies are at the heart of the banking crises. that would be a good thing. perhaps only people with decent enough credit and a 20% downpayment for a mortgage that doesn’t exceed 1x annual gross income is what is needed. like in the old days before the fed created stock market and real estate bubbles.
      15-a great case for privatization.
      16-same as 15
      17-right. those dirty evil capitalist running dogs will intentionally poison the food supply the moment the government shuts down.
      18-same as 17.
      19-and the problem with that is? FedEX and UPS will still deliver and most people under 60 who are computer literate can view their bills online and pay them to. What a concept!

      Like I said, a 30 day shutdown will be at best a minor inconvenience for taxpayers, so who gives a crap besides those living off other people’s taxes?

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