Not Even Much of a Slimdown: Only 13% of Government Shut Down—At Most

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At Forbes, Paul Roderick Gregory quips that what the media is portraying as the End of All Life on Earth Everywhere isn’t a government shutdown — it’s a “slimdown,” given that “We Are Shutting Down Only Thirteen Percent of the Government (At Most):”


Eighty cents out of every federal non-defense dollar represents a transfer from taxpayer to recipient. Entitlement transfers do not require annual Congressional approval. They can be changed only by entitlement reform, which is not on the table. We cannot, therefore “shut down” a federal government whose primary business is income redistribution.

The entitlement checks and interest payments must go out the door, government shutdown or no government shut down. The social security, unemployment compensation, disability, Medicare, and Medicaid checks go out automatically like the Ever Ready Energizer Bunny. Not to worry on this point.

* * * * * * * *

The government shutdown makes clear that our federal government is no longer in the business of providing for the national defense, the legal system, collecting taxes, and other traditional government functions. Its primary activity has become redistribution through transfer payments.

I would not count reducing federal government spending by 13 percent a “shutdown.” A more appropriate term would be a “reduction in non-essential discretionary spending,” or “government slim down” for short. I invite the Republican members of Congress to use this term instead of “shutdown.” In politics, he who controls the rhetoric of political discourse wins. “Shut down” is a loser. “Slim down” is a winner, and it captures the reality of what is going on right now in Washington.

Of course, as we saw yesterday, both with USA Today having a counter on its homepage to illustrate the money that the slimdown is “costing,” and in particular, when the story of Chad Henderson fell apart, the legacy media has no desire to capture the reality of what is going on in Washington. Or as Noah Rothman writes at otherwise left-leaning Mediaite, “Chad Henderson Exposes The Media:”


Henderson’s story was particularly attractive. He was precisely what the media, and the White House, needed: a young, ostensibly healthy individual willing to pay a substantial portion of the meager income into the system so that it can support older, more chronically ill patients who will be partaking in health care services regularly.

In the media’s rush to make a star out of Henderson, they failed to vet him thoroughly. Most of the press missed the fact that Henderson is a current political activist and Organizing for America volunteer. Somewhat more egregiously, they also missed the fact that Henderson’s story was not true.

According to Henderson’s father, Bill Henderson, neither he nor his son have enrolled in any plan associated with the ACA. “As of yet, however, the pair had not picked a plan or completed enrollment,” reported Reason’s Peter Suderman. “ But he hoped they would shortly.”

Suderman goes on to note that the other details Henderson provided the press were “difficult to verify.”

He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that he got his coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield. But the cheapest unsubsidized Bronze exchange plan at Blue Cross Blue Shield’s online Quick Quote system offers for a 21-year-old in Flintstone, Georgia is $225.09 a month.

Additionally, Chad could not have purchased a separate plan for his father from his own login to, the website for the federal exchanges. A customer assistance representative on’s LiveChat system told me that purchasing separate plans for a son and a father in Georgia would require two separate logins. Which means that Chad would have had to successfully create two different accounts, and complete enrollment twice, at a time when almost no one was able to get through on the system.

This is not say that Henderson is not still valuable to the press. On Thursday, his story provided Mediaite readers with entertainment after reading the comically absurd deluge of press interest he was exposed to for simply being able to complete the reportedly three hour process of signing up for a health care exchange. On Friday, Henderson provided the nation with another service: exposing the media’s interest in painting the ACA in a positive light regardless of the facts.


But why would the MSM want to report facts coming out of DC — who wants to be the person who breaks bad news to his family members?


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