The High Cost of High Cost

I’ve been waiting for this: the New York Times whinging about the high cost of the faux-government shutdown.  With so many of the government statistical bureuax closed down as “non-essential,” how would we know?

One of my rabbis on economic matters, Brian Wesbury of First Trust, wrote two days ago that “The bottom line on the economy right now is that there is no sign the partial shutdown, or anything else for that matter, has knocked it off the same course it’s been on for the past few years.”

The Times naturally is in full blown panic mode:

Even as the shutdown of the United States government and the threat of a default appear to be coming to an end, the cost of Congress’s gridlock has already run well into the billions, economists estimate. And the total will continue to grow after the shutdown ends and uncertainty persists about whether lawmakers might reach another deadlock next year.

A complete accounting might take months to put together once the government reopens and the Treasury returns to adding to the country’s debt. But economists said that the intransigence of House Republicans would take a bite out of fourth-quarter growth, with knock-on effects for employment, business earnings and borrowing costs. Those effects would be global.

I think I’ll sell my bonds!

But here’s the point: if a partial government shutdown, involving only maybe 20 percent of the actual operations of the government, for barely two weeks, has the potential to disrupt not just the U.S. but the global economy, then the conclusion is easy: The government is too darn big.  Full stop.

The economy’s health should depend overwhelmingly on the private sector.  The government’s role in securing a healthy economy should be limited to enforcing the rule of law, assuring a stable currency, and defending the nation from its enemies.  Maybe building a road and a prison, now and then too.  The Obama Administration is not just failing at all three of these duties, but is indifferent to them.

High cost indeed.