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A Horse Named Stranger

U.S. Politics: Oh Donnie Boy, the Feds are calling...

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A few facts to keep in mind as the government shutdown in all likelihood begins in earnest over the coming days:

  • Federal employees get backpay.  This is required for those that are forced to work without pay during the shutdown and has always been the case even for furloughed employees - and the Senate already passed a bill guaranteeing furloughed employees backpay this time.  The long-term cost is passed on to the taxpayer.
  • Government shutdowns rarely last long.  The longest was 1995-96, which lasted for a total of 27 days from November 14 to January 6.  Other than that, only a handful have lasted more than ten days, and none more than 20.  
  • Federal employee salaries range from about $30K to $100K, with an average of $65K.  As someone who's lived off of grad school stipends/fellowships the seven of the past nine years (and was a lowly community college adjunct the other two), I'm hesitant to describe anyone making that much missing a couple weeks' worth of paychecks in any hyperbolic terms, albeit DC is considerably expensive to live in.
  • The real suffering in terms of lack of pay comes from low-wage federal contractors.  From the link:  "More than 850,000 federal workers who were furloughed during the 2013 shutdown eventually got repaid. But the janitors, security guards, and cafeteria servers who work as subcontractors in federal buildings didn't.  More than 700 janitors and security guards and 500 food-service workers were unable to work in the Washington, DC, area during the shutdown, according to the Washington Post."
  • Between the administrative cost, loss in government revenue, and macro-effects, government shutdowns are considerably costly on the economy in a variety of ways.
  • And of course, this is only a partial government shutdown, that only affects certain departments and agencies.

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From @Kalbear in the last thread

Quote

If you can hammer home how incompetent Trump is, great. Are you willing to have 800,000 people out of work because of it? Are you willing to cause places like the TSA to go with longer lines and waiting, national parks to be unstaffed, the coast guard not get paid?

And I don't want to give Trump any kind of win at all on this. I hate that it might come across that way. But I don't see how Trump will give in normally. Maybe that's it - you appeal to Trump personally - you start an investigation or two and then say it'll go away if he funds the government, at least for a while. 

Yes, you let Trump put 800,000 people out of work (and the associated contractors who will also suffer badly).  That sucks for them, and I wish this wasn't happening, I have both friends and family members who are getting screwed on this.  But the alternative is worse.  If Trump can just shut down the government and get whatever he wants from Congress, he'll do it, over and over again.  What is the point of electing Democrats if they are just going to give Trump everything he wants because he's willing to take the government hostage?  Appeasement doesn't work. 

The shutdown is not a winner for Trump.  Maybe his base will support him for a while, but the longer this goes, the more unreasonable he looks, the more damage it does to the economy, and the more likely he loses reelection.  On the other hand, if Democrats cave here, he gets a big win, Democratic enthusiasm plummets, we waste a ton of money building a monument to Trump's stupidity on the border and we have another shutdown fight two weeks later over the next thing Trump wants. 

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Of course there may have been a Mueller angle in the shutdown.

Quote

Government attorneys had argued in a United States district court filing Wednesday that the ongoing government shutdown hamstrung their lawyers by cutting off funding to the Justice Department.

"Absent an appropriation, Department of Justice attorneys are generally prohibited from working, even on a voluntary basis, except in very limited circumstances," they claimed in the filing in Washington, D.C., District Court.

So question for the law/ US politics buff.

Does the shutdown interfere with Mueller's investigation?

And if so, how much?

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9 hours ago, DMC said:

A few facts to keep in mind as the government shutdown in all likelihood begins in earnest over the coming days:

  • Government shutdowns rarely last long.  The longest was 1995-96, which lasted for a total of 27 days from November 14 to January 6.  Other than that, only a handful have lasted more than ten days, and none more than 20.  

This one might be the exception though. Getting back to Kal’s question, what incentive does either side have to give in? Congressional Democrats had a deal in place and just retook the House. Capitulation will look bad for them, and their base will hate them for caving on the wall specifically. Likewise, Trump was willing to accept the compromise until the talking heads on Fox freaked the F out. The wall matters more than any other issue to his base, so why should he accept a deal that does not include funding for the wall, especially considering all he cares about is holding his base?

To answer Kal’s question, there’s really only one pathway where both sides can feel like they didn’t get hoodwinked. First, Trump has to get Hannity et al. to give him a pass and hope his base does the same. Second, Democrats will have to increase what they’re willing to give, but mandate that it is for more border security and that none of it goes towards the wall. And lastly, both sides will just have to bank on everyone forgetting that any of this happened. Good luck with all of that……

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1 hour ago, Maithanet said:

From @Kalbear in the last thread

Yes, you let Trump put 800,000 people out of work (and the associated contractors who will also suffer badly).  That sucks for them, and I wish this wasn't happening, I have both friends and family members who are getting screwed on this.  But the alternative is worse.  If Trump can just shut down the government and get whatever he wants from Congress, he'll do it, over and over again.  What is the point of electing Democrats if they are just going to give Trump everything he wants because he's willing to take the government hostage?  Appeasement doesn't work. 

The shutdown is not a winner for Trump.  Maybe his base will support him for a while, but the longer this goes, the more unreasonable he looks, the more damage it does to the economy, and the more likely he loses reelection.  On the other hand, if Democrats cave here, he gets a big win, Democratic enthusiasm plummets, we waste a ton of money building a monument to Trump's stupidity on the border and we have another shutdown fight two weeks later over the next thing Trump wants. 

So much this.

It totally sucks for the people getting screwed. And I'd really like to see some of the big billionaire Democratic donors like Soros and Steyer be proactive in donating money and fundraising to help furloughed workers...call it the Donald J. Trump Owns the Shutdown Fund or something, and keep it as an ongoing thing for the next time Republicans shut down the government.

But Democrats absolutely cannot cave on this. Policy-wise, it's just a dumb, stupid policy. And it would be political suicide for the Dems to bail Trump out of the corner he has painted himself into. He owned the shutdown on-camera and he's desperate now and is just throwing shit against the wall to try and get something to stick.

Not to mention, $5 billion isn't going to pay for the wall. If Dems bail him out, he's going to keep asking for more money for the wall, shut down the government when he doesn't get it, and Dems will have already set a precedent for bailing him out, so from then on, Dems will own any shutdown Trump precipitates.  They would literally be helping him fulfill his racist campaign promise that Democrats have been most opposed to.

Meanwhile, those on the center-left and the left will be furious, while the right will become emboldened. Donnie Dipshit needs to be checked hard, and Democrats have every policy, political and polling advantage behind them to be able to do so.

And if the Democrats can truly cow Trump on his signature campaign promise, that might be the crack that starts to fracture Trump's base. Coulter, Rush and Hannity will turn on him, he'll be perceived as weak, and Democrats will look like the strong ones.

 

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3 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Second, Democrats will have to increase what they’re willing to give, but mandate that it is for more border security and that none of it goes towards the wall. And lastly, both sides will just have to bank on everyone forgetting that any of this happened. Good luck with all of that……

I think giving some more money to border security is probably not that problematic for Democrats (esp. if the shutdown drags on). Just as long as not a single dime is spent on that racist vanity project (aka the wall).

As for the GOP, I know I am dealing in stereotypes here, but I don't think their voters in the south will be too pleased, if they don't get their benefits in time.  And at some point, they will probably decide it's not worth it.

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If only the people who so vehemently attack Trump's "racist" wall spent a fraction of that time campaigning against the US giving Israel several times the amount of money Trump is asking for, every year, so Israel can build THEIR wall, from behind which they can shoot palestinian children, the world might be just a little bit better. 

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6 minutes ago, SweetPea said:

If only the people who so vehemently attack Trump's "racist" wall spent a fraction of that time campaigning against the US giving Israel several times the amount of money Trump is asking for, every year, so Israel can build THEIR wall, from behind which they can shoot palestinian children, the world might be just a little bit better. 

That wall is horrible and that is why I don't want one here.  I agree, let's not repeat that mistake.

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Gotta say, the title to this thread is really fine!

Like the Puerto Ricans suffering -- and still suffering, without any federal help -- so very long now after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, the orange nazi is throwing the government employees paper towels: offer to exchange doing maintenance work in exchange for paying the rent.  That's his advice.  Bersides all these people not getting paychecks for the work they're doing, they're Dems, so suck it up, suckas!

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/opm-shutdown-advice-to-furloughed-workers-try-bartering-for-rent/

As for the superhero event in NYC, ain't one, just a super disaster: a Queens transformer station blew up, turning the night blue.

https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/a-transformer-exploded-in-new-york-and-the-videos-rule-1831352497

In the meantime, read in the NYer about this guy, w/o whom the orange nazi wouldn't be in the White House at all:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/01/07/how-mark-burnett-resurrected-donald-trump-as-an-icon-of-american-success
 

Quote

 

. . . . Burnett has made many programs since “The Apprentice,” among them “Shark Tank,” a startup competition based on a Japanese show, and “The Voice,” a singing contest adapted from a Dutch program. In June, he became the chairman of M-G-M Television. But his chief legacy is to have cast a serially bankrupt carnival barker in the role of a man who might plausibly become the leader of the free world. “I don’t think any of us could have known what this would become,” Katherine Walker, a producer on the first five seasons of “The Apprentice,” told me. “But Donald would not be President had it not been for that show.” . . . .

. . . . “The Apprentice” portrayed Trump not as a skeezy hustler who huddles with local mobsters but as a plutocrat with impeccable business instincts and unparalleled wealth—a titan who always seemed to be climbing out of helicopters or into limousines. “Most of us knew he was a fake,” Braun told me. “He had just gone through I don’t know how many bankruptcies. But we made him out to be the most important person in the world. It was like making the court jester the king.” Bill Pruitt, another producer, recalled, “We walked through the offices and saw chipped furniture. We saw a crumbling empire at every turn. Our job was to make it seem otherwise. . . .

 

 

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7 minutes ago, SweetPea said:

If only the people who so vehemently attack Trump's "racist" wall spent a fraction of that time campaigning against the US giving Israel several times the amount of money Trump is asking for, every year, so Israel can build THEIR wall, from behind which they can shoot palestinian children, the world might be just a little bit better. 

You know, lots of us have had a problem with that.  For a long time   This is just more of your whiney whataboutism bullshit.

Edited by larrytheimp

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2 minutes ago, SweetPea said:

If only the people who so vehemently attack Trump's "racist" wall spent a fraction of that time campaigning against the US giving Israel several times the amount of money Trump is asking for, every year, so Israel can build THEIR wall, from behind which they can shoot palestinian children, the world might be just a little bit better.  

Welcome to a new round of "What aboutism" I am not Alex Trebek, your host.

And I strongly recommend to our viewers not to play. And leave tonight's contestant alone.

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9 hours ago, DMC said:

A few facts to keep in mind as the government shutdown in all likelihood begins in earnest over the coming days:

  • Government shutdowns rarely last long.  The longest was 1995-96, which lasted for a total of 27 days from November 14 to January 6.  Other than that, only a handful have lasted more than ten days, and none more than 20.  
  • Federal employee salaries range from about $30K to $100K, with an average of $65K.  As someone who's lived off of grad school stipends/fellowships the seven of the past nine years (and was a lowly community college adjunct the other two), I'm hesitant to describe anyone making that much missing a couple weeks' worth of paychecks in any hyperbolic terms, albeit DC is considerably expensive to live in.

I agree with @Tywin et al. that this shut down could possibly break some records for length of time.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but iirc you don't have children. A single adult with no children making in the $30-45k range could most likely stretch their income easily enough to cover a couple of weeks lost pay. A single parent with kids making that, especially if they're classified as a vital employee and still have to work and pay daycare expenses, is going to have a very rough go of it. Hell, even two income families with children will most likely experience some hardships.

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10 minutes ago, SweetPea said:

If only the people who so vehemently attack Trump's "racist" wall spent a fraction of that time campaigning against the US giving Israel several times the amount of money Trump is asking for, every year, so Israel can build THEIR wall, from behind which they can shoot palestinian children, the world might be just a little bit better. 

Stop the presses! Something you and I actually agree on!

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Just now, larrytheimp said:

You know, lots of us have had a problem with that.  This is just more of your whiney whataboutism bullshit.

You have a problem with it, but you still choose to focus on Trump's wall. Trump's wall has been discussed and criticized and described as the end of the world non-stop, but I can't remember anyone ever bringing up the huge amounts of foreign aid the US is giving to Israel, even though that one is used to carry out truly horrible things. Let's be honest here, Trump's wall has received far, far more criticism, both here and generally in the media. This isn't whataboutism, nor is it an argument for Trump's wall. I'm saying that if you care about your tax dollars going towards something you find unethical, you should absolutely prioritise stopping foreign aid that goes towards useless wars. The amount of money involved, and the atrocities commited, are on completely different levels.

And before you start objecting, I don't really care if you personally have spoken out against it, although I haven't seen it. I'm talking in general. This issue is usually ignored, or worse, dismissed by labeling everyone critical of Israel's actions as anti-semites.  (#NotAll)

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44 minutes ago, A Horse Named Stranger said:

I think giving some more money to border security is probably not that problematic for Democrats (esp. if the shutdown drags on). Just as long as not a single dime is spent on that racist vanity project (aka the wall).

As for the GOP, I know I am dealing in stereotypes here, but I don't think their voters in the south will be too pleased, if they don't get their benefits in time.  And at some point, they will probably decide it's not worth it.

They key is you have to get it in writing that none of the money can be spent on the wall. Democrats have the upper hand and not much can cost them that.

Twist the knife.  

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19 minutes ago, Zorral said:

Like the Puerto Ricans suffering -- and still suffering, without any federal help -- so very long now after the devastation of Hurricane Maria, the orange nazi is throwing the government employees paper towels: offer to exchange doing maintenance work in exchange for paying the rent.  That's his advice.  Bersides all these people not getting paychecks for the work they're doing, they're Dems, so suck it up, suckas!

 

This is patently false, FEMA has spent and continues to spend billions of dollars in Federal disaster monies in Puerto Rico. 

https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2018/11/01/fema-public-assistance-funding-tops-4-billion-puerto-rico

https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2018/09/10/fact-sheet-obligated-funding-puerto-rico

https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2018/10/09/basics-femas-public-assistance-program-puerto-rico

not only has Puerto Rico been receiving billions in Federal Assistance, but has been receiving it at an unprecedented rate. 

https://www.npr.org/2018/08/17/639473616/nearly-a-year-after-maria-fema-reduces-assistance-to-puerto-rico

"I think this is a good sign," said Mike Byrne, the top FEMA official on the island. "It's a sign that ... we're entering a recovery phase. The emergency requirements are no longer in place. We're no longer delivering food and water, power is back with the exception of a very few people. All of the essential infrastructure functions are up and running."

After "major disaster" declarations, FEMA typically covers 75 percent of the cost of emergency response services, while local governments are responsible for the remaining 25 percent. After Hurricane Maria, President Trump authorized FEMA to cover 100 percent of those costs in Puerto Rico. To date, the agency says it has spent roughly $3 billion on things like debris removal, hazardous waste cleanup and road repairs, plus more than $2 billion on power restoration efforts.

The agency said it has been one of the longest period of times for which it had covered 100 percent of the cost of emergency work, surpassed only by work in Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. In those cases, Congress eventually passed a law that allowed FEMA to cover 100 percent of emergency work for the life of the disaster

 

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18 minutes ago, SweetPea said:

You have a problem with it, but you still choose to focus on Trump's wall. Trump's wall has been discussed and criticized and described as the end of the world non-stop, but I can't remember anyone ever bringing up the huge amounts of foreign aid the US is giving to Israel, even though that one is used to carry out truly horrible things. Let's be honest here, Trump's wall has received far, far more criticism, both here and generally in the media. This isn't whataboutism, nor is it an argument for Trump's wall. I'm saying that if you care about your tax dollars going towards something you find unethical, you should absolutely prioritise stopping foreign aid that goes towards useless wars. The amount of money involved, and the atrocities commited, are on completely different levels.

And before you start objecting, I don't really care if you personally have spoken out against it, although I haven't seen it. I'm talking in general. This issue is usually ignored, or worse, dismissed by labeling everyone critical of Israel's actions as anti-semites.  (#NotAll)

So wait, your complaint is that  the President of the United States of America’s signature issue gets far, far more attention in a U.S. politics thread and in the U.S. media than Israeli foreign policy?

Your troll game is weaker than Nathan Peterman’s passing abilities.

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1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

Getting back to Kal’s question, what incentive does either side have to give in?

The Dems have no incentive to give in and every incentive not to.  As I said in the previous thread, however, Trump will move the goalposts on what "winning" means (as he's already started) because he will have an incentive to give in when his approval starts dropping.  And that's almost certain to happen.  Even when presidents "win" shutdowns, their popularity suffers during the shutdown.  In 95-6, Clinton's approval got to its lowest point of his presidency after June 1993 during the shutdown (albeit it skyrocketed at the shutdown's conclusion as he was perceived as victorious).  Obama clearly "won" the 2013 shutdown, and while his approval pretty much held steady during it, his unfavorability ratings rose significantly, to the point he was in the red on net favorability by the end of the shutdown for the first time in his presidency.  To be sure, there's probably a basement on Trump's approval in this context (I'd put it at 35%), but I'd guess he'll budge before it gets there - although that is definitely just a baseless guess.

1 hour ago, Tywin et al. said:

To answer Kal’s question, there’s really only one pathway where both sides can feel like they didn’t get hoodwinked. First, Trump has to get Hannity et al. to give him a pass and hope his base does the same. Second, Democrats will have to increase what they’re willing to give, but mandate that it is for more border security and that none of it goes towards the wall.

Again, like I said previously, Hannity et al. will eventually turn their attention back to demonizing the Dems.  Particularly if/when Trump's approval starts significantly dropping and the shutdown looks clearly bad for him.  They do not want to be responsible for tanking his presidency, so they'll be happy to swallow whatever goalpost-shifting spin Trump puts on "winning."  To the second point, no, the Dems don't have to increase what they're willing to give.  The $1.6 billion for border security the Senate originally agreed to should be as high as they're willing to go.  Do they even offer that at this point?  That's a political determination for them to decide.  It is tempting to take that off the table and make Trump eat it, but that could easily backfire and blame could shift to the Dems.  More importantly, I'd think it's worth it just to end the effects of the shutdown (not to mention a $1.6 billion increase in border security isn't necessarily a bad thing).

Anyway, I agree it's quite possible this shutdown lasts comparatively long.  20-30 days is probably as good an estimate as any.  I have a hard time seeing Trump sticking it out longer that that though, but again, I'm not predicting anything with him.

41 minutes ago, The Great Unwashed said:

And correct me if I'm wrong, but iirc you don't have children. A single adult with no children making in the $30-45k range could most likely stretch their income easily enough to cover a couple of weeks lost pay. A single parent with kids making that, especially if they're classified as a vital employee and still have to work and pay daycare expenses, is going to have a very rough go of it. Hell, even two income families with children will most likely experience some hardships.

Oh, certainly, I'm not trying to belittle what low-wage federal employees have to go through.  As you and many others have said, this sucks for them, even totally sucks.  I think that's the appropriate adjective.  Was just saying I wouldn't go so far as to describe missing a couple weeks of pay (that you'll eventually get back) in any hyperbolic terms.  If it lasts a month or more?  Then sure, that starts getting into the suffering territory.

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