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DeBlog: Is The Government Shutdown Painful Enough?

I’ve spent some time thinking about this — I wonder if the government shutdown is painful enough. Now let me be clear: to the 22,000 state employees who are now out of work — it doesn’t get much more painful. Many will be eligible for unemployment, so they’ll get (up to) 50 percent of their salary. But that’s pain.

I’m talking about the rest of us. Are we feeling enough pain — to really be putting the heat on the politicians to work out a deal?

We’ve got a government shutdown, but the state funded zoo is still open. The state is supposedly shut down, but I was able to easily renew my license plate tabs at the Hennepin County Service Center in Maple Grove today. (I know — the service center is staffed by the county, but they had to scan my state-issued driver’s license and update a state-run database).

The state government is shut down, but the governor’s mansion is ruled “essential.” The legislators and constitutional officers (governor, lt. governor, etc.) still draw a salary. And our employers are still collecting and paying state income tax withholding. Businesses are still collecting state sales taxes.

This weekend the shutdown didn’t negatively impact a single aspect of my life. Other than the concern I have for my friends who are out-of-work state employees, and my friends at People Serving People — a homeless shelter we did a story on last Friday.

I passed the closed Maple Grove rest stop off I-94 on my way to Big Lake this weekend and wondered: “Doesn’t everyone just use the bathroom in the SA or Subway?”

I’m not trying to be glib here, rather I’m making the case that this thing should be a real shutdown. There should be shared pain. How drastic? I’m not sure. Maybe the State Patrol shouldn’t respond to vehicle crashes without injuries? No one should be getting paid. I shouldn’t be able to renew my license tabs. The zoo certainly should be closed.

This should be so bad that everyone looks at it and says: This is crazy. And we’d all demand our “leaders” figure it out.

Do you think the shutdown is drastic enough? What’s open/funded that you think should be closed?

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