Publications: Notes at the Margin

For the Lack of a Nail (January 7, 2019)


The old saw is familiar. We have used it before. The credit goes to Benjamin Franklin.


For want of a nail the shoe was lost,

For want of a shoe the horse was lost,

For want of a horse the rider was lost,

For want of a rider the battle was lost,

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost,

And all for want of a horseshoe nail.


The aphorism is appropriate today. Friday, the president of the United States suggested the federal government shutdown could last for an extended period. Senator Chuck Schumer told reporters after meeting with President Trump that Trump had said "he'd keep the government closed for a very long period of time, months or even years."


What the president failed to say is that, should the shutdown continue, all air travel in the United States, commercial and private, will be grounded within two weeks. Other services will stop as well, and the US economy will grind to a halt. Oil use could drop fifty percent.


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