Government Shutdowns - My Personal Lesson

Friday, October 11, 2013 - by David Fowler

There are a handful of people in America, comparatively speaking, who have been part of a civil government shutdown as a politician. I am one of them.  Here’s what I learned and here’s what I think about what’s going on in Washington. 

The parallels between the government shutdown of which I was a part as a Tennessee state Senator are strikingly similar in principle — though not in size — to what is going on in Washington.

Like in Washington, where funding ObamaCare seems to be the major issue, just one central issue in Tennessee led to the shutdown in 2002.  In my case, the issue was an income tax.  Those who controlled the legislative process in Tennessee that session wanted to use the crisis of decreased revenue from an economic downturn to impose an income tax on Tennesseans. 

Similarly, even as the major media outlets all back ObamaCare, major media then in Tennessee (except for a couple of talk radio shows in Nashville and Knoxville) supported the income tax.

As in Washington, Tennessee’s Democratic legislative leaders, who controlled the flow of legislation at the state Capitol, would not let a budget get to the floor of the state House or Senate that would reduce spending or raise revenue by a means other than an income tax.  It was income tax or the highway. 

So a majority of the legislature, us little guys, said to the leadership: “We’re taking the next exit ramp off your one-way street.”  And state government essentially ground to a halt for several days.

What many don’t realize is that one of the things that finally killed the income tax bill was a proposal I offered that would have allowed Tennesseans to vote on whether they wanted an income tax.  Here’s why it became the final nail in the coffin of the income tax coffin, and the lesson I learned that I would commend to conservatives in Washington. 

When it came to the income tax, it took a few days for reality to set in, but legislative leaders knew eventually,  — probably the next election — they would be challenged to explain why they were so dead set on imposing an income tax, when there was a means by which the people could vote on it.

Who wants to run for re-election on the platform of stuffing something down the throat of people that they don’t want, and being willing to shut down the government to do so? 

Likewise, I think the same will prove true with what has been going on in Washington these two weeks.  Democrats will soon realize that in the next election they will need to explain why they were willing to shut down the government in order to shove an increasingly unpopular ObamaCare down the throat of the average American while giving big business a pass for another year.

How ironic.   The President who campaigned as the champion of the little guy and painted Mitt Romney as the evil champion of big business is sticking it to the little guy while protecting big business. 

So, as the shutdown lingers, Republicans must say repeatedly until they are blue in the face that there is only one reason for this train wreck:  an insistence by our President and the Democratic Senate majority to stick the average American with an unaffordable bureaucratic system to deliver health care.  And then ask the American people why they should trust this administration to deliver health care when it can’t even deliver a functional website?

The encouraging news is that the average American is beginning to wake up.  Some are beginning to revolt in their own little ways like: 

The man who re-opened his restaurant located on federal land;

The veterans who removed the barricades to the open-air monument that honored them; and 

The student who tore up his government-approved graduation speech and led the audience in the Lord’s Prayer. 

Perhaps the American spirit that said no to their oppressors in England 237 years ago is beginning to rise again against their oppressors in Washington.  I say, “Let it rise.”



Send Your Opinions To Chattanoogan.com

We welcome your opinions at Chattanoogan.com. Email to news@chattanoogan.com . We require your real first and last name and contact information. There is no word limit, but if your article is too long you may lose your reader. Please focus more on issues than personal attacks. (click for more)

Don't Confuse Insure Tennessee With TennCare Payment Reform

The Tennessee Medical Association fully supports Insure Tennessee as a way to extend health insurance coverage to more working Tennesseans. We back Governor Haslam’s plan because it will allow more Tennesseans to access affordable medical care. More people having health insurance means more people will be on the road to better health and better lives. We became physicians to ... (click for more)

6,533 Apply For Chattanooga Housing Authority Voucher Program

The Chattanooga Housing Authority closed its Housing Choice Voucher Program application process Monday at 11:59 p.m.  A total of 6,533 people applied. CHA will randomly select 1,000 of those names on Monday, Feb. 2, for the voucher program waiting list.  Anyone who is not selected will need to apply again in the future.  The Housing Choice Voucher program is ... (click for more)

Bradley Commissioners Concerned About Firefighters Leaving For Better-Paying Jobs

The Bradley County Commission agreed during a Monday evening work session that they will have to look into the issue of many county firefighters leaving for better paying jobs elsewhere. The discussion comes after the city's recently announced plan to possibly create their own separate ambulance service.   In surrounding areas, firefighters can make as much as ... (click for more)

No. 25 UTC Women Defeat Samford, 49-32

“I think it’s great for grade school kids all over the country because they will learn how to spell Chattanooga because it will be in their local paper. That’s the best thing about it. There are Chattanooga graduates all over the place and they can pick up and go to the agate page and see if Sportscenter knows how to spell.” -- UTC women’s basketball coach Jim Foster ... (click for more)

Baylor Wrestlers Set to Defend State Duals Title

Ranked No.1 in this week's wrestling poll and boasting a 22-1 season dual match record, Baylor is the favorite to win the TSSAA D-II state duals this weekend at the Williamson County Ag Expo in Franklin. Friday Jan. 30 - Baylor opens with tourney against Brentwood Academy at 3:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals and a win puts them in Friday night semis (8:30 p.m. EST) ... (click for more)