Drowning in debt vs. government shutdown: Which would you prefer?

Federal spending so far this year has already topped $3 trillion -- a new record for the first eight months of the year -- and Congress is once again coming up on an appropriations deal impasse.

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Let the shutdown hysteria begin. As Congress battles over the budget fine print, lawmakers on the left will insist the sky is falling. Don’t feed into the drama, and here’s why.

Shutdowns are not nearly as bad as Democrats will claim

The last partial federal shutdown amounted to nothing. The media was aflutter with concern over the shutdown’s impact on the economy, but gross domestic product growth in the first quarter of the year surpassed expectations at 3.2 percent.

Many on the left want you to believe people rioted in the streets, but society did not collapse. American consumers and small businesses resumed life as normal amid a resurgent economy. Besides some dirty bathrooms and overflowing trash cans in national parks (many of which were cleaned up by volunteers), most of the country remained unaffected.

Fiscal conservatives have the advantage

This upcoming budget battle is an opportunity to protect $100 billion in spending cuts scheduled to take effect next year. Republicans have the negotiating advantage to win this fight.

Debt hawks should have no reservations about walking away from the table if it leads to spending cuts that could alleviate our $22 trillion national debt. This fight isn’t just about a short-term budget deal. It’s about securing the future for our children and grandchildren.

Our current national debt breaks down to more than $182,000 per taxpayer, the ballpark median price for a home in the United States. The government has a spending problem, and we need to make smart budget cuts where it counts.

Entitlements are the root of the problem

The national debt barely scratches the surface of more than $122 trillion in federal unfunded liabilities, which include Medicare and Social Security.

Health care and Social Security spending comprised half the federal budget in FY 2018. If that’s not bad enough, unfunded liabilities are expected to reach $157 trillion in the next four years.

The partial shutdown earlier this year proved the federal government could do with a few spending cuts, yet special interests from both sides of the Swamp continue to grow the deficit. Somebody needs to stop the madness.

So, let Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer howl over the prospect of another shutdown. The implications for grassroots America are none. The economy will thrive despite Washington’s dysfunction, as January’s partial shutdown and corresponding Q1 economic growth proved.

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There is one lesson worth learning from the longest federal government shutdown in history: stand your ground and reject any deal that increases the deficit.

Adam Brandon is president of FreedomWorks.