Friday, January 25, 2019

It's somewhat slightly possible that the shutdown might end

The stupidest possible way it could happen would be with Trump declaring the much-discussed "national emergency" so the government can open and then we can all wait for the courts to reverse whatever he thinks that accomplishes. But as difficult as it is to bet against the stupidest possible outcome nowadays, I'm still not convinced it will happen exactly that way.

The fact of the matter is, despite whatever wisdom your preferred punditry offers you, the President still has a fair amount of leverage simply because, generally speaking, Republicans don't actually care if stuff gets funded.  What this means is, for the most part, the stories you read every day about the misery of unpaid federal workers, uninspected food, unprocessed home loans, unpaid benefits, etc., most of that matters very little or not at all to the Republicans in power or to the elite sliver of America their party actually represents. Basically, they can do this all day.

It starts to get interesting, though, when the shutdown affects specific choke points in the economy where everybody's money is at least a little bit at stake.  Like, the airports, for example.
On Friday morning, air traffic controllers missed their second paycheck due to the government shutdown. Many called out sick, resulting in delayed flights at some of the nation’s busiest airports, including LaGuardia, Newark, and Hartfield-Jackson in Atlanta. Now, flight attendants may also walk out. Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, told New York on Friday afternoon that she “just finished” recording a video message to members urging them to get to the offices of their congressional representatives until the shutdown is resolved.

“We’re mobilizing immediately,” Nelson said. Asked if this meant that flight attendants will not be going to work, she responded, “Showing up to work for what? If air traffic controllers can’t do their jobs, we can’t do ours.”
Maybe that makes somebody budge.  Or maybe not.  I keep making the mistake of assuming Trump is dealing from a point of view that incorporates at least some vague understanding of reality.  That's not always the best analytic. 

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