Instapundit pens a USA Today column on the horrors of the ongoing government shutdown. Just kidding. He’s pointing out how we could stand to shut down a lot more:
The big lesson of the shutdown is that — in a time when so-called “draconian cuts” usually refer to mere decreases in the rate of growth of spending on programs — America was able to do without all the “non-essential” government workers just fine. (The same AP poll cited above says that 80% have felt no impact from the shutdown; a majority also oppose increasing the debt limit.) Turns out that most of those nonessential workers really are non-essential. And it’s a safe bet that some of those who stayed on the job — like the National Park Service people who chased veterans away from an open-air memorial — could be done without, too, in a pinch. Under the shutdown, new regulations also slowed to a trickle, suggesting that we can do just fine without those, too.
With these lessons learned, here’s my budget proposal: An across-the-board cut of 5% in every government department’s budget line. (You can’t convince me — and you’ll certainly have a hard time convincing voters — that there’s not 5% waste to be found in any government program.)
Whichever side “wins” this showdown, if we come away from it realizing that we don’t really need government that much — and we really don’t need that much government — then it won’t have been for nothing.