Huffing and puffing—just another wolf with a lot of wind.

It does become tiresome after a while, evoking 1984 every time Trump declares anything he says as truth by definition, or evoking Richard Nixon every time he snips away another few paragraphs of the Constitution.


So today, let's look at something this self-proclaimed business magnate understands: numbers. Even there we can start with a lie—his comment yesterday that unpaid federal workers “will make an adjustment because they want to see the border taken care of.”


No they won't: not if they can't.


Over the past few weeks we've seen the number 800,000 bandied about as the number of federal workers facing a negative impact from the government shutdown. It's a large number, but rather small when compared to 160 million, the current size of the American work force. Yet that 800,000 only skims the surface.


Let's say that each of those 800,000 is either the breadwinner or a contributing breadwinner in a family of four. Suddenly three million are directly affected, half of them youngsters. American parents have always had a penchant for trying to make their children's lives better than their own. It's difficult for me to believe that these parents consider the construction of some steel slats in Texas as preferable to that selfless objective. Trump himself has displayed some paternal instincts on occasion, even if they manifest themselves only in his attempts to keep his sons out of jail. Hey, it's something.


So then, three million affected—and then extend this on a daily basis to the local grocery store, fast-food chain, gas station, mall, etc. Beyond that, how many tangential businesses will suffer: movie theaters, restaurants, hotels. We can declare them all as unnecessary or frivolous, especially in a time of national crisis.


This is not one of those times. There is no national crisis other than the one living in the White House. This is a tantrum thrown by a petty dictator, desperate to (1) validate his presidency and (2) give his base some red meat to chew on.


Without said crisis, a decision on what is and is not frivolous falls upon the individual, not the government.


Trump has painted the furloughed and unpaid federal workers as patriotic Americans taking one for the team (like the farmers suffocating in soybeans, or the average American reeling from health care costs). And yet, through it all the president has deliberately overlooked his own government's data regarding immigration, data that proves the absurdity of a wall, whether composed of straw, stick, or bricks. He knows—we all know—that there is, in truth, no wolf—big, bad or otherwise: only some three million Americans keeping another wolf away from their door.

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