Most of the news about the “Shutdown Theater” — unnecessary closures ordered by the Obama administration to purposely maximize the pain of the government shutdown — has focused on the Washington, DC area, but the epidemic of artificial Potemkin Suffering has now struck the West Coast as well.
San Francisco’s Cliff House, a privately owned and very profitable restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean, was suddenly and unexpectedly ordered closed today, “because” the building sits on federal land. This, despite the fact that the Cliff House racks up $11.5 million in annual sales and is one of the most profitable independent restaurants in the nation.
How does the government save money by shuttering a profitable business? And a private one at that?
There are no federal employees at the Cliff House restaurant; a receptionist still manning the phones there today confirmed that all employees are paid by the restaurant’s owners, not by the government. As the Cliff House’s own Web site notes today, the restaurant is a “concessionaire” operating a business on Federal land — in this case, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which encompasses much of the Pacific shoreline along San Francisco and Marin counties — which means it is a private business which pays a fee to operate on government property:
But there is no federally staffed “admission office” to access Cliff House, nor are there park rangers nor any other government employees involved in the Cliff House restaurant’s operation — it sits directly on a city street, accessible to all, as this photo reveals:
Proof that this forced closure is only for political “optics” in an attempt by Obama to arouse public anger at the Republican controlled House of Representatives: While the waitresses and chefs were sent home today without paychecks, the restaurant’s managers continue to get paid as normal:
During the hiatus, servers and cooks will not get paid, according to a receptionist at the restaurant, though managers and receptionists — who will still be working — will continue to get paid.
If the restaurant was being closed because there was no money to pay employees due to the shutdown, then obviously everybody would get sent home. But no — as we have seen at various facilities around the country, only the employees who directly serve the public are being furloughed, because their absence causes inconvenience — while the behind-the-scenes managers and executives (and politicians) continue to draw their salaries as normal.
The absurdity is becoming more and more apparent every day as we learn that none of the closures are actually necessary at all, and didn’t happen during previous shutdowns.
The fact that the federal government twisted the arm of a private business to intentionally and unnecessarily inconvenience its customers (and lose money while doing so) proves that the Obama administration will stop at nothing to maximize the drama of its political brinksmanship.