Trump’s 100-day deadline is drawing near and looks like it might end with a graceful government shutdown.
OK, maybe not so graceful.
In a previous post, we talked about how and why politics isn’t as romantic as people dream it to be. The failure to pass the American Health Care Act was the perfect example of how sloppy and inefficient government usually is. Until now.
Every year, Congress comes up with a funding bill that funds all the agencies, projects and other expenses for the upcoming fiscal year. This year, Congress has to pass this bill by April 28 or else the federal government comes to a screeching halt.
The major projects keeping everyone from giving the bill a thumbs up are, you guessed it: Obamacare and the wall. The Democrats are willing to compromise on the wall if, and only if, the Republicans agree to keep Obamacare as is.
These parties are not budging. To be sure, most Republicans don’t see the wall as being in any way effective at keeping drugs from crossing the border or eliminating illegal immigration. But, Donald Trump is wanting something big to go down in the books for his 100th day in office. The odds are not in his favor, though.
“Here, everything, pretty much everything you do in government involves heart, whereas in business most things don’t involve heart,” Trump said. “In fact, in business you’re actually better off without it.”
Politics is not romantic. If by “heart” he means pragmatism, his statement becomes more accurate. Everybody knows that in politics, “You shake hands with your right hand, but hold a rock with your left.” #FrankUnderwood
The 100th day
To be fair, not many presidents actually come through on their promises in the first 100 days.
The tradition began during Franklin D. Roosevelt’s term when he passed 15 bills in his first 100 days that transformed almost every aspect of the economy. His bills changed the game in banking, industry, agriculture and in the welfare arena.
Keep in mind, though, that Roosevelt became president during the worst economic crisis in history and also had a congressional majority that would prove to be super helpful in passing just about anything he wanted.
Presidents after FDR have always complained about the 100-day tradition, especially for those without a major crisis. Truman had the end of World War II. Gerald Ford had the Watergate Scandal, and Barack Obama had the Great Recession. John F. Kennedy had to deal with the Cold War, but even he told his advisors that it was kind of crazy, and he didn’t want to be bound by it, according to a Harvard presidential historian, Fredrik Logevall.
Yet, Trump has still done stuff. He has signed 28 bills so far, though most of it is “disapproving” old rules. The biggest feat to date has been to appoint Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, which can influence how things get done in the future. He also dropped a big bomb in Afghanistan to disarm ISIS for a little while, backed out of some big trade deals, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and started the process of rolling back regulations.
However, the most important executive action Trump has done in his first 100 days is to rile people up enough to hold government accountable and shout when they do something iffy. The political activism and government scrutiny by citizens as a result of this new administration is as romantic as politics gets.
Worried about the shutdown
The last time we worried about a government shutdown, we discussed the financial impact it has on the economy. The last government shutdown, in 2013, cost the economy close to $300 million per day for 16 days. More than one-third of the 3.5 million government employees waited for a paycheck. This also doesn’t include all the costs that come from halting transactions, not issuing loans and shutting down government services.
Though we missed shutting the government down in September of 2015 by a hair, the controversial administration today has us a bit more worried that it might actually happen this time.
They have a couple days to get their shtuff together. Forgetting the whole wall project may be a good start. It won’t work. Then again, Trump did steamroll his way to the presidency on the wall’s coattails and funding it would look sweet on his 100th day report.
All the best.
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