Government shutdown: I didn’t even notice

ClarkCountyToday.com, Editor Ken Vance

Is it evidence that supports that a smaller, less-intrusive and less-expensive government is possible?

There was a time when I considered myself an average U.S. citizen. I felt like my perspective was usually a common view of the issues of the day. I thought I was average by most evaluations. It might have been a tad self centered, lacking awareness of others and the insight they could offer, but that’s how I felt.

As I’ve grown older, I feel I’ve gained perspective. I no longer believe my viewpoint is centric. The movies, music and television shows that are popular among the most Americans seldom appeal to me. I wouldn’t know pop culture if it crawled up my leg and smacked me in the face. I must admit that I don’t seem to seek out the opinions of others as often as I used to, I like to believe I still have an open mind, but I seem to exercise it less and less because I agree with others on fewer and fewer occasions.

It’s in this context I share with you that if the media didn’t cover the recent 35-day government shutdown, which ended Monday, I wouldn’t have even known about it. Some 400,000 furloughed workers and another 400,000 who had been on the job but were not getting paid were affected by the shutdown. To my knowledge, my life was not impacted by the shutdown one bit and I didn’t encounter anyone whose life was impacted.

Lars Larson. Photo courtesy of LarsLarson.com
Lars Larson. Photo courtesy of LarsLarson.com

Because of that, I really didn’t spend much time in reflection on the shutdown, who was responsible, and who was impacted as a result. So, I don’t offer the following as an insightful viewpoint of my own, instead I give full credit to local radio personality Lars Larson (a Clark County resident).

Larson posted the following on his Facebook page earlier today:

“Maybe all those government workers who were off the job for more than a month WERE non-essential,’’ Larson wrote. “With the exception of the TSA airport screeners and the Coast Guard, Americans got to see how sending those folks home didn’t have much effect on their lives at all.’’

That was certainly the case for me. Larson went on to reference a monthly report issued Friday morning by the Labor Department , which indicated the economy added 304,000 jobs in January, the 100th consecutive month of payroll gains, extending a record streak. Economists had predicted a gain of about 172,000 according to the New York Times.

“I’d like to see some more of this,’’ Larson wrote. “Smaller government that leaves Americans with more liberty. More private sector jobs brought about by a president who believes in low taxes and cutting ridiculous regulations.’’

I certainly agree, but unlike Larson, I’m not going to get all political on you. I can’t prove causation as to why these economic indicators are so bright. I’m no economist and I’m not going to try to act like one, and I never tell you who to vote for. But, I’ve always believed in a smaller, less intrusive government and for whatever it’s worth, people like myself are pointing to these statistics as offering support for that perspective.

I don’t want to see anyone lose their job. But, if folks like me got their wish and we reduced the size of government, those federal employees should be able to get private sector jobs. Now, I do believe that if the private sector had to provide services that were formerly provided by the federal government, it would do so in a more efficient way than the government does, so there might be fewer jobs for those job seekers to apply for. But, I’ve always believed in competition and the survival of the fittest. And, if we all got to keep more of our money and pay less in taxes, wouldn’t that boost the economy, and therefore create more jobs?

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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