10 May 2014

Bring back the government shutdown

I don't generally venture out into the world all that much. I run the requisite errands to the grocery store but other that that I would prefer to spend my time in other ways. Where I live when the school year is about to start, the state offers a tax-free weekend to bolster spending and, in theory, help lower-income families prepare for the coming school year. This is usually a horror weekend that is best avoided at all costs. Unfortunately I had to venture forth to Target that weekend and I expected the worst.

When I arrived at Target on a Saturday afternoon, I totally expected to lose several hours of my life in the endless gridlock of aimless, wandering "shoppers" but I was unprepared for what I actually found. This tax-free weekend happened to coincide with the government shutdown. The result was the unexpected emptiness of the store and relative ease with which I was able to make my purchase and go home. Even the streets were eerily empty. The longer the shutdown went on, the fewer people were out in the stores and on the streets.

Perhaps most surprising was the way in which the shutdown revealed the underlying and usually hidden truth that we suspect exists but cannot see, a truth we're told is a mean-spirited lie. That truth is most people are living on borrowed time, borrowed money, and borrowed affluence. Nothing exposes the lie quite like taking the free ride away. Suddenly all those who rely heavily on debt are faced with the prospect of having to live within their means.

I was astounded at how different the world looked when the government was on the verge of defaulting. It looked more like the America of my youth, an America I never thought I would see again. And while this glimpse didn't last, it did provide me with some hope that it is possible to reverse our current doomed course, and I would love nothing more than to see that happen. It's time to end the government subsidies and let truth prevail.

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