Government Shutdown; Insanely Inaccurate Headlines
Discussion of Government Shutdown
Headline 1: “GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN”
Young Reporter: “Wait are we actually going to shut down the government, send home the military, quit collecting taxes, quit policing the borders, and prosecuting federal criminals?
Experienced Reporter: “No, No, we will just shut down Non-essential government services like federal parks and monuments, so we can send some government employees who work there home and then have a skeleton crew show up to lock the gates and doors, so no one can visit the parks.”
Young Reporter: “So shouldn’t the headline be:”
Headline 2: “GOVERNMENT CLOSING ALL FEDERAL PARKS AND MONUMENTS TO SAVE MONEY?”
Experienced Reporter: “No, No, No, We close the parks and monuments, but it doesn’t save money. All the employees we send home for a few days, but we pay them when they come back to work as though they had worked the days they got to stay home. It’s just that the parks and monuments are closed, and no fees will be collected from those who would have visited the parks those days. It doesn’t save money, if anything it causes us to lose some revenue.
Young Reporter: “Okay so your headline should be:”
Headline 3: “GOVERNMENT CLOSING ALL FEDERAL PARKS AND MONUMENTS BUT WILL PAY FURLOGHED EMPLOYEES AND TURN AWAY VISITORS AND COLLECT NO ADMISSION FEES”
Experienced Reporter: “Yes, that is what’s happening. But that would be a boring headline.”
Young Reporter: “Wait. Why do we even have that Lever Cronk? Why would anyone, even politicians agree to something that makes citizens unhappy and has no financial or other benefit at all?”
Experienced Reporter: “Oh that’s easy. There will be lots of press conferences and news media talking about the Great Government Shut Down. Tons of politicians will get free TV and Internet exposure explaining why the shutdown is someone else’s fault and ultimately explaining it will only be a problem for those flag waving patriotic types and tree huggers who like to visit national parks and monuments and the rest of the people will probably never notice.”
Young Reporter: “Well at least after they do it this once they will realize how amazingly stupid it is and never do it again.”
Experienced Reporter: “You must be new here kid. Congress has done this 18 times since 1976.1 Apparently, they don’t mind pulling this lever now and then.”
Footnote 1: Length of Government Funding Gaps Since 1976 (“A History of Government Shutdowns”) Data: Congressional Research Service; Chart: Lazaro Gamio / Axios