Government Shutdowns as tools of negotiation aren’t an unbiased across the board suspension of government services. They are #Selectivestarvation
The essential services kept going are ones designed to favor the GOP and their law and order model of government, while social services such as food and healthcare for the poor are suspended.
If the last “shutdown” is any guide, , , , our , , , the , and theFBI’s entrapment regime will remain entirely untouched. The parts of government that serve the poor and working class, however, will be first on the chopping block: , , , , the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (which oversees the derivatives market), , , , and will all be axed. Indeed, the one time the government got remotely close to undermining, even briefly, a pillar of the right-wing state, the powers that be to the Defense Department virtually untouched.
In principle, the criteria of what is and isn’t “essential” is determined by unelected agency and department heads using guidance issued by the Office of Management and Budget based on a Department of Justice opinion authored in 1980 by then–Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti. That determination, McClatchy, defines “essential” activities as those that “protect life and property”—a fundamentally reactionary (and curiously unexamined) criterion that elevates property over justice, feeding people, and protecting the vulnerable.
When Congress passed laws over the past decades to feed the poor, educate people, and create public spaces, it didn’t mark these efforts as “nonessential.” This distinction is simply an extra-legal assertion by the government that’s been mindlessly accepted by the media and internalized by the broader public. But what is and isn’t “essential” isn’t a determination made by some objective bureaucrat simply calling balls and strikes; it’s the entire framework for how this right-wing administration and Congress will remake government in its image—all without input from the public.
There’s the broader ideological coup as well. As Michael Zuckerman in The Atlantic in 2013, by calling it a “government shutdown” the left runs the risks that many Americans will not notice their lives change in a clear way as the months roll on. The ROI, or “return on investment,” of liberal government–education, science, children’s health–are not noticeable in an immediate and demonstrable way. Each day the “government shutdown” rolls on is another day the far right achieves another propaganda victory by giving the public the impression that government must not be very important if its wholesale closure has no impact on people’s lives.