Thomas' reactionary medicine is not a cure

Cal Thomas (with whose ideas I often agree) presented the astonishing proposition in his op-ed piece, "Make a shutdown just the prequel" (Sept. 25), that Americans use a government shutdown as a time "to reflect on government's proper role," and that departments and agencies only be reopened based on Mr. Thomas' notion of "a new (really old) foundation: the Constitution."

What signifies the brilliance of our Constitution has been its remarkable flexibility to meet the necessities of its citizens over the history of the Republic. The Constitution that Mr. Thomas envisions is jellied in aspic and evokes America as it was in the early 19th Century.

To suggest that closing down numerous governmental departments is a salutary maneuver, intended to make a political point, is obstinate and reactionary. While thousands of government workers are furloughed and government contractors go unpaid, will they serenely ponder the "new/old" Constitution while their bills pile up? No, they'll panic about how to pay those bills without a salary.

True, the U.S. government spends too much money. But using a government shutdown as a tool of reform will not lead to a correction of the problem or even to the outcome that Mr. Thomas so confidently anticipates.

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