Only 17% of U.S. Government is Really Shutdown, While President Obama Chooses to Neglect His Duties in Asia

President Obama has apparently decided that the United States has no further leadership role in the world.

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During 2013 he has already participated in a strenuous fifteen minute phone call with Iran’s President Rouhani, spoken at the United Nations General Assembly, backed away from his own “red line” in Syria, and traveled all the way to Russia for a G8 meeting (missing most of the dinner for world leaders because he was late).

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President Obama also hosted China’s President Xi Jinping for several hours of chit chat at the “Sunnylands Summit” — which seemed to yield nothing of any consequence.

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Now the President of the United States has unilaterally decided to stay in Washington DC while all the leaders of the Asia-Pacific region are meeting in Bali for the Asia-Pacific Economic Summit. This despite America’s much ballyhooed “Strategic Pivot Toward Asia.”

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As Byron York details below, the “U.S. government shutdown” is really only a partial shutdown. And last we checked whenever the President of the United Sates travels he takes along TONS of communications, intelligence and support gear as well as an immense travel staff.

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The only part of the United States that is totally shutdown is Presidential Leadership.

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John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

Air Force One and President Obama’s leadership appear to be grounded.

The President of the United States is apparently getting along fine with Mr. Putin of Russia.

China’s President Xi Jinping (left) walks with U.S. President Barack Obama at a summit at “Sunnylands” in California, June 8, 2013.   Photo: Christopher Gregory/The New York Times

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke by phone with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in a fifteen minute call. White House photo by Pete Souza

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a news conference after their meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, June 19, 2013. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks next to German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a news conference after their meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, June 19, 2013.
.German Chancellor Angela Merkel watches as U.S. President Barack Obama waves after giving a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin June 19, 2013. Obama's first presidential visit to Berlin comes nearly 50 years to the day after John F. Kennedy landed in a divided Berlin at the height of the Cold War and told encircled westerners in the city "Ich bin ein Berliner", a powerful signal that America would stand by them.     REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz (GERMANY  - Tags: POLITICS)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel watches as U.S. President Barack Obama waves after giving a speech in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin June 19, 2013. Obama’s first presidential visit to Berlin comes nearly 50 years to the day after John F. Kennedy landed in a divided Berlin at the height of the Cold War and told encircled westerners in the city “Ich bin ein Berliner”, a powerful signal that America would stand by them.     REUTERS/Tobias Schwarz

President Barack Obama listens to French President Francois Hollande during the G-8 summit at the Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, Tuesday, June 18, 2013. The final day of the G-8 summit of wealthy nations is ending with discussions on globe-trotting corporate tax dodgers, a lunch with leaders from Africa, and suspense over whether Russia and Western leaders can avoid diplomatic fireworks over their deadlock on Syria’s civil war. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Barack Obama listens to French President Francois Hollande during the G-8 summit at the Lough Erne golf resort in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland, Tuesday, June 18, 2013.   The final day of the G-8 summit of wealthy nations is ending with discussions on globe-trotting corporate tax dodgers, a lunch with leaders from Africa, and suspense over whether Russia and Western leaders can avoid diplomatic fireworks over their deadlock on Syria’s civil war. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

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By BYRON YORK  | OCTOBER 5, 2013

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Everyone knows the phrase “government shutdown” doesn’t mean the entire U.S. government is shut down.

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So in a partial government shutdown, like the one underway at the moment, how much of the government is actually shut down, and how much is not? One way to measure that is in how much money the government spends. In a conversation Thursday, a Republican member of Congress mentioned that the military pay act, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama at the beginning of the shutdown, is actually a huge percentage of the government’s discretionary spending in any given year. And that is still flowing.

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So if you took that money, and added it to all the entitlement spending that is unaffected by a shutdown, plus all the areas of spending that are exempted from a shutdown, and added it all together, how much of the federal government’s total spending is still underway even though the government is technically shut down? I asked a Republican source on the Senate Budget Committee for an estimate. This was the answer: “Based on estimates drawn from CBO and OMB data, 83 percent of government operations will continue. This figure assumes that the government pays amounts due on appropriations obligated before the shutdown ($512 billion), spends $225 billion on exempted military and civilian personnel, pays entitlement benefits for those found eligible before the shutdown (about $2 trillion), and pays interest costs when due ($237 billion).

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This is about 83 percent of projected 2014 spending of $3.6 trillion.” So the government shutdown, at least as measured by money spent, is really a 17 percent government shutdown. Perhaps that is why the effects of the shutdown, beyond some of the most visible problems, like at the monuments and memorials on the Washington Mall, don’t seem to have the expected intensity. Seventeen percent of federal expenditures is still a huge amount of money, and the shutdown is affecting many people. But many more who are dependent on federal dollars are still receiving their money, either as salary, transfer payment, or in some other form.

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Viewed that way, it’s no wonder both Republicans and Democrats appear to believe they can last the shutdown out, at least for a couple of weeks until they try to resolve the debt limit crisis due to arrive October 17.

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