As Newt Gingrich points out, US Government shutdowns have a long history. There were 12 under former Speaker Tip O’Neill when Ronald Reagan was President. The shutdown is a result of a funding gap where the US Congress fails to pass the Budget presented by the executive branch. While Australia came close to a shutdown in 1975, with delays in the passage of the supply bills, we have not enjoyed a period of Government shutdown.
The longest shutdown period in the United States was 21 days from 15 December 1995 to 6 January 1996. Gingrich was the Speaker.
While these periods of shutdown are little more than an annoyance, the concept could be relied upon elsewhere. For example, why not shutdown the OECD, UNESCO, UN, IMF and World Bank?
As has been noted many times in the Cat, there has been substantial mission creep in these international organisations. Their civil servants enjoy large tax-free salaries (with the exception of US citizens working at international organisations who are required to pay taxes to the US government). They have moved well beyond their founding frameworks and mandates and no international organisation has been put to the sword since 1946.
The League of Nations was disbanded in 1946, with the final motion agreed
The League of Nations shall cease to exist except for the purpose of the liquidation of its affairs.
and its resources sent to the newly formed United Nations.
Can there be any doubt that international organisations have evolved to serve the interests of their employees rather than members? But how can we rid ourselves of organisations which have long since passed their use-by-date?
Take the OECD. There are too many vested interests who lobby for its continuation, from the employees to the Ambassadors sent from member states. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to reach a consensus to terminate the OECD.
But the shutdown option could be a start. Australia could set the example by ceasing to fund the OECD and withdrawing our delegation from Paris. Other countries might join Australia, starving the OECD of funds. Let’s not forget it has a massive liability in its pension fund, with many of its older employees retiring over the next decade or so. Unlike a Government, the OECD and other international organisation cannot impose a tax. If member states withdraw or refuse to finance the OECD, it would quickly become bankrupt.
Even a temporary shutdown of an international organisation could be helpful, showing the world how unnecessary the organisations have become.
The shutdown. A glorious US initiative that could be expanded internationally.