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What If the Government Shut Down... And No One Cared

Everyone keeps talking about a possible government shut down on Friday, April 8 as though it is a bad thing. Someone will get the blame. The president or the Republicans or Democrats will suffer at the polls. The planets will fall out of alignment. Reporters might run out of things to pontificate upon.

Listening to pundits one gets the impression that there will be a federal tsunami washing away life as we know it; chaos in the streets; weeping and gnashing of teeth for all. But one wonders, how bad would it really be for government to call in sick for a few days?

With less government, would teachers send home less busy work for parents so that evening hours would be spent on family time rather than shanghaied by the government-run school systems that already had your children for 8 hours?

Could people drive to the grocery store unharrased by speed traps set for the peaceful among us who happened to drift 5 miles over the legal limit?

Would forests be saved as politicians were unable to put out self-aggrandizing statements about their views on the environment?

Could we quietly enjoy a hamburger without the haranguing of the self-appointed food czars who comment on weight with all the viciousness of a cheerleader in high school?

Do we really believe our soldiers would be less brave or less honorable during the days in which politicians waffle over their finances?

With full funding, does anyone believe that highway departments will diligently fill potholes with efficiency and speed or that the miles of orange cones that clog the nation’s highways will involve actual work?

Will the Department of Motor Vehicles give you service with a smile as it keeps the lines moving?

Stephen Moore in the Wall Street Journal this week reported that today in America nearly twice as many people are working for the government (22.5 million) than in all manufacturing (11.5 million). We’ve become a nation of “takers, not makers,” he writes. And we’ve also all become well acquainted with what kind of service is available from those who draw a salary from the rest of us.

You could think of government workers like teenagers. You pay them an allowance, but do you get any work out them? They eat the food, put their feet on the furniture and complain loudly whenever they are unhappy.

A Pew research poll out this week indicates that 39 percent of Americans would point fingers at the GOP if the government were shut down, while 36 percent would blame President Obama. A whopping 16 percent think everyone is at fault. Which leaves the majority of Americans perhaps pondering if we might be better off if they did have a time out.

For the politicians in angst this week about whether they should shut the government down, here’s something to consider: What if you shut it down and we all liked it better that way? If I were you, I would find a way to play nice with others and keep working lest you find yourself out of a job.

Kristi Stone Hamrick is a media consultant.

Kristi Stone Hamrick is a media consultant and active cupcake baker for all school functions. Follow her on Twitter@KristiSHamrick.