The Minnesota state government has been shut down, and the consequences are potentially devastating to the average Minnesotan who (according to this article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune) can no longer check a state web site to verify whether his barber has a valid license to practice.
Of course, the primary focus in the media coverage is on the inconvenience and uncertainty a government shutdown foists upon public-sector workers:
Throughout a long day of negotiations Thursday, anxiety was palpable across the Capitol.
Legislators coming to the building were greeted by hundreds of union protesters, urging the two sides to break the deadlock.
Gathering on the Capitol steps, some protesters held signs saying “I am a Proud Public Worker” and “Government Shutdown — Harming Countless Minnesotans Is Not OK.” Some held babies and others umbrellas to protect them from the burning summer sun. They chanted and held other signs like “Great wealth = Great responsibility.”
Let’s set aside the Star Tribune’s portrayal of proud public workers using babies to protect themselves “from the burning summer sun,” or, for that matter, the protestors’ assumption that Minnesotans are “countless” — so why fund censuses in the first place? The fact is that the overwhelming majority of Minnesotans are OK with the shutdown and are happy to continue going about their lives, even if only temporarily, with one less layer of coercion and compulsion to contend with. Surely this is true — otherwise the two major state parties would not have allowed the shutdown to occur in the first place.
Just don’t wait for the Star Tribune to report on it. If it did, it would support the perception that this fight is not Minnesota-centric. I think it is mostly fueled by the growth of the federal government since 2001 that has increased burdens on productive classes that today find it more effective to fight back on the state-level than the federal-level. As a result, whether in Minnesota, Wisconsin, California, or New Jersey, we see statehouses characterized by factions made up of those who produce wealth and those who depend on its transfer. Rothbard called them net taxpayers and net tax consumers. The path to a freer society depend on friction between them.