Partial shutdown didn’t hurt US

As part of their ongoing campaign to blame Republicans for everything bad that happens in the United States, President Barack Obama and fellow liberals warned this fall that the partial shutdown of government would erode confidence in the U.S. economy, both here and abroad.

It did not.

Failure to agree on federal spending was a two-way disagreement, of course. Obama and liberals in Congress bear just as much blame as conservatives. But that was not how the White House propaganda played it.

Disagreements over federal spending and the national debt limit were solely the GOP’s fault, Obama and his minions insisted. And the government shutdown from Oct. 1-16 would have dire consequences, they added.

Again, that was not so.

– In October, retail spending in the U.S. totaled $383.7 billion – up $25 billion from the same month in 2012.

– The national unemployment rate dropped, going from 7.3 percent in October to 7 percent in November.

– Foreign purchasers of U.S. Treasury securities increased their holdings, to a total of $5.65 trillion, in October.

In other words, the sky did not fall, as Obama and other liberals insisted it would. Perhaps Americans should bear that in mind the next time Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others assure us fiscal discipline is bad for the nation.

If you owe the Internal Revenue Service money, chances are you will be harassed until you pay up or at least make arrangements to do so. Unless you happen to be doing business with the IRS.

IRS Inspector General J. Russell George revealed Tuesday that nearly 1,200 vendors who have contracts with the agency owe a total of $589 million in back taxes. Just 50 of the vendors have set up payment plans to deal with their debts.

In their written response to George’s report, IRS officials said – wait for it – they are “committed to improving the controls” over vendors.

If taxpayers had a dollar for every time a government official has made a similar promise, we’d be well on our way to paying off the national debt.

Obviously, the IRS should stop paying vendors that won’t pay their taxes.

Private businesses operating the way so many government agencies do would not last long. Why do taxpayers allow such mismanagement? More to the point, why do we keep re-electing members of Congress who permit it?