Many constitutional and social conservatives are understandably upset after Trump capitulated to the Democrats, agreeing to reopen portions of the government for three weeks without acquiring funds for a desperately needed border wall. Trump’s intelligence insulting excuse only added more gasoline to the wildfire, claiming that he needed to reopen the government due to federal workers being financially hammered by the partial shutdown. The truth is that there is more to this than what the President, Republicans, Democrats, the Enemy of the People (the mainstream media, which includes Fox News) and the pundit class are disseminating.
1. If federal workers were suffering economically due to the shutdown, it’s their fault
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the average federal employee makes 17% more than his private sector counterpart – both in earnings and benefits. This disparity is worse when educational attainment (or rather, lack thereof) is factored in. Those with only a high school diploma make 34% more in wages and 93% more in benefits than their private sector counterparts. For most federal workers to be level with private sector employees, they’d have to receive no pay for eight weeks.
Hence, the narrative that the media and then Trump both demagogically parroted, causing false alarm over the partial shutdown, is unfounded. Considering the aforementioned numbers and the fact that after shutdowns federal employees receive back-pay, there is absolutely no reason why any government worker should feel the pinch. If they are living paycheck to paycheck, it is because they are personally irresponsible with the taxpayer money that constitutes their wage and have no savings accumulated for such rainy days.
The American taxpayer’s safety (in this case, in the form of a border wall) shouldn’t be held hostage by the financial irresponsibility of what are, in essence, overcompensated bureaucrats.
2. If the partial shutdown was causing consternation at airports and impeding business due to lack of permitting, it’s proof that government ought to shrink
Ever since George W. Bush unleashed a bevy of liberty-crippling bureaucracies after 9/11 (under the false guise of increased safety and security), the creation of the useless and incompetent Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) has made travel burdensome and privacy-infringing. No one can air travel without submitting themselves to a humiliating and ineffective screening at an airport.
After the latest shutdown began, many TSA agents refused to go to work, thereby making lines at airports literal chokepoints. (This fact alone, should prove that TSA employees do not take their oath to “protect and defend” seriously. The job is merely a payday for them.) Throughout the sensationalism I continued to wait for the moment in which some high-profile political commentator would use the matter as an example in how bloated government can trample on an individual’s right to move freely and call for the end of the TSA. It never materialized.
Also, one would think Trump would have taken inspiration in Ronald Reagan’s reaction to the Air Traffic Controllers strike of 1981, firing insubordinate government workers who refused to do the work their bosses, the American taxpayers, compensated them for. That didn’t happen either.
3. Trump gave in because he, as well as his party, are worried about public opinion
Make no mistake, it is plain as day that Trump worried about the effect the media coverage was having against his poll numbers. Otherwise, why else acquiesce? He made a decision based on politics, not principles. He hung his base out to dry, emboldened the anti-American Democrat Party and capitulated to a portion of the electorate that is, frankly, politically illiterate and ignorant. He followed the Republican Party playbook perfectly with this inglorious surrender.
Trump better not misunderstand a big portion of his base, which supports him not for his personality but for what he’s proposed in the form of policy. After years of false promises by the Republican Party, conservative voters viewed Trump as a refreshing breath of fresh air and a genuine voice for their views. If he continues to insult the intelligence of his voters with the tough guy Twitter rhetoric without following through on what he promises, he will lose support from those he doesn’t seem to think will abandon him.