Closed for business? Government shutdown history

Closed for business? Government shutdown history

 CONNIE CASS | September 29, 2013 03:39 PM EST |

WASHINGTON — OK, gridlocked politicians we’re used to. But why padlock the Statue of Liberty?

You don’t see other democracies shuttering landmarks and sending civil servants home just because their political parties can’t get along. Belgian civil servants, for example, carried on nicely for a year and a half while their politicians bickered over forming a new government.

The potential for a partial shutdown Tuesday is a quirk of American history. So if you’re bored with blaming House Republicans or President Barack Obama, you can lay some responsibility on the Founding Fathers.

Or blame President Jimmy Carter for his rectitude. Or ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich for his hissy fit over how he got off Air Force One.

A history of government shutdowns, American-style: Continue reading “Closed for business? Government shutdown history”

Federal employees deserve better

Federal employees deserve better
8:30 PM, Sep. 18, 2012  |  
2 Comments

For more than two years, the U.S. population has heard that federal employees are the root cause of all of the government’s financial problems, and with less government, the budget crisis will be solved. It is time to stop allowing politicians to demonize federal employees and to thank them for the services they provide the public.

In early January 2012, the Census Bureau reported that the population of the United States was about 312,809,589 (with births, deaths and immigration; we have a net gain of one person every 17 seconds). At the same time, there were about 2,130,289 federal employees, including those who work around the world and in the U.S. territories. Thus, the federal workforce (many of whom are represented by the American Federation of Government Employees) makes up approximately 0.7 percent of the U.S. population. That 0.7 percent of the population cares for our veterans, maintains military equipment, protects our borders, ensures the food we eat is safe and works tirelessly to make our country the best that it can be. Continue reading “Federal employees deserve better”

Paul Moreno: How Public Unions Became So Powerful

The Wall Street JournalPaul Moreno: How Public Unions Became So Powerful

By 1970, nearly 20% of American workers were employed by government.

By PAUL MORENO

The Chicago teachers strike has put Democrats in a difficult position. Teacher unions are the most powerful constituency in the Democratic Party, but their interests are ever more clearly at odds with taxpayers and inner-city families. Chicago is reviving scenes from the last crisis of liberalism in the 1970s, when municipal unions drove many American cities to disorder and bankruptcy. Where did their power come from?

 Before the 1950s, government-employee unions were almost inconceivable. When the Boston police unionized and went on strike in 1919, the ensuing chaos—rioting and looting—crippled the public-union idea. Massachusetts Gov. Calvin Coolidge became a national hero by breaking the strike, issuing the dictum: “There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.” President Woodrow Wilson called the strike “an intolerable crime against civilization.”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt also rejected government unionism. He told the head of the Federation of Federal Employees in 1937 that collective bargaining “cannot be transplanted into the public service. The very nature and purposes of government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer” because “the employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws.” Continue reading “Paul Moreno: How Public Unions Became So Powerful”

How ‘Government’ Became A Dirty Word

How ‘Government’ Became A Dirty Word

by NPR Staff; September 1, 2012

 President Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy Reagan, in the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., in January 1981. In his speech after being sworn in, Reagan called government "the problem."

Enlarge APPresident Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy Reagan, in the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C., in January 1981. In his speech after being sworn in, Reagan called government “the problem.”

The message at the GOP convention this week was clear: Government is too big, too expensive, and it can’t fix our economic problems.

“The choice is whether to put hard limits on economic growth, or hard limits on the size of government. And we choose to limit government,” said Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

There’s nothing new about the message. Anti-big government sentiment is practically part of the American DNA, and it has deep roots in the Republican Party. Continue reading “How ‘Government’ Became A Dirty Word”

Ryan’s Speech Revives The Spirit Of Jack Kemp, War Over Reaganomics

07:13 am; August 30, 2012; by

Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential nominee, became a speech writer for the conservative Republican politician Jack Kemp after graduating from college in 1992.
Enlarge J. Scott Applewhite/APRep. Paul Ryan, the GOP vice presidential nominee, became a speech writer for the conservative Republican politician Jack Kemp after graduating from college in 1992.

The second night of the Republican convention was an orchestrated buildup for Mitt Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan.

Ryan emerged at the evening’s end to deliver the payoff speech and introduce himself to a national audience. He did a rousing job of it, delivering the session’s most memorable material with stark intensity.

Outlining his many differences with President Obama on economics, the role of government and Medicare, Ryan was most believable as he declared: “Our nation needs this debate. We want this debate. We will win this debate.” Continue reading “Ryan’s Speech Revives The Spirit Of Jack Kemp, War Over Reaganomics”