Istook’s Insights: Shutdown not catastrophe, Medicaid money, and ‘there she is’

A so-called government shutdown is not the end of the world.

Plenty of media and politicians make it sound like everything stops unless Congress and the President agree on spending levels for the fiscal year that starts October 1. But it isn’t true.

The military stays active, just like the FBI and other federal law enforcement. Payments like Social Security and Medicare are still made.

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees still go to work, who are designated in advance as essential to protect people and property.

The White House website lists over 150 agency and department contingency plans, prepared in advance.

So it’s a slowdown but not a shutdown. Using the word “shutdown” is like saying “Boo.” It’s a boogey monster tactic to scare people and prevent debates over things like Planned Parenthood. It’s a tactic used to make it impossible to limit federal spending.

In the big picture, it’s not good news when more Americans become dependent on government.

An annual report from the Census Bureau proclaims improvement in health care — with 9 million more people now having insurance, reducing the uninsured down to just over 10 percent.

What they don’t mention is that it’s almost all Medicaid, which added 9 million people to the Medicaid rolls last year.

So the newly-insured people are getting it free, paid for by our tax money which pays for Medicaid coverage.

Having taxpayers pay your bills may help some individuals, but it costs the rest of us. It’s not good news when 9 million more Americans become dependent on government.

More significant is another part of that Census Bureau report. It tells us that personal and family income did not improve in 2014, and the poverty rate did not improve either. In other words, a stagnant economy for most of us
Finally, Q-and-A is awkward at the Miss America Pageant.

Pageants want to show that contestants have brains — not just a big smile, a nice figure and talent. But nobody can prove much when given just 20 seconds to take sides on some current controversy.

The classic parody is that contestants should please everyone but offend no one, by simply proclaiming that they favor world peace.

This year, Miss South Carolina resisted political correctness and spoke against the gun control agenda. 

Others were asked about a woman on the $10 bill, funding for Planned Parenthood, same-sex wedding licenses, and even the NFL controversy over under-inflated footballs.

It’s a gimmick to see if a beautiful woman stays poised when asked an awkward question.

Isn’t there a better way? Maybe give each contestant 20 seconds to share an inspiring quote. That sure would beat today’s system, which basically is testing whether contestants are politically correct.