Government Closes Down and …???   Leave a comment

The federal government is “closed” as of midnight last night and … well, Alaska has a lot of federal government. About 13000 Alaskans work for the federal government, for example … not including direct military personnel. So a government shutdown should affect us a lot.

Denali National Park closed last week because it’s at a high elevation in Alaska and it always closes about September 15 to 30. Construction season is already winding to a close because we’ve seen terminal dust (what Alaska’s call the little dustings of snow that start a few weeks before true winter slams us), so the funds were already paid out and the projects are finishing. There was still a long line into Ft. Wainwright this morning. Traffic was a little slower because it’s Municipal Election Day here, but really there was nothing different from the thousands of mornings I’ve set out for work.

I’m old enough to remember the Carter administration “shutdowns” and how non-eventful they were. Oh, the media insisted my grandmother would have to eat cat food, but in reality, not much happened. The Clinton administration shutdown was a little more concerning because of the way Clinton stroked the 24/7 media, but in reality, nobody died, planes did not drop from the sky, and we got welfare reform out of the non-ordeal. Whatever happened to welfare reform anyway?

In truth, local and state government affects our daily lives far more than the federal government does … unless we’re employed by the federal government (which might be something worth spending mental energy on). The mayor of my city has the means to ruin my day any number of ways, starting with not plowing the street in front of my home after a heavy snowfall (which happened about 20 years ago because of the results of a citizen’s initiative designed to — oh-oh — control the growth of city government). On the other hand, the federal government almost always impacts me negatively. For example, the EPA seeks to end wood-burning for home heating in my community, which will add about $6000 a year to my housing costs and they’re going to do it by forcing the borough (like a county) into implementing highly unpopular regulations, threatening that if they do not comply, they’ll lose out on federal funding.

Federal funding may not be the root of all evil, but the love of federal funding was probably tied up in Adam and Eve’s Fall from Grace.

If we would get the federal government under control, we would need to send less money to DC, meaning we could keep it local and use it on things that actually affect our lives … like snowplowing — or, hey, I could use it to buy home heating fuel. Interesting how that works.

So stay tuned. I plan to post the minute the federal shutdown inconveniences me in any way. Please don’t hold your breath, because I can’t think of anything I had planned to do that interfaces with the federal government and I wouldn’t want anyone to hurt themselves waiting for it.

This is a good thing with some negative SHORT-TERM consequences that we can use for the LONG-TERM benefit of the nation.

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