Stop That Check

It was beyond a libertarian's wildest hopes for minimal government. As Congress and President Reagan wrangled over the budget last week, many federal agencies faced the prospect of halting or curtailing their activities because after midnight Friday, they would no longer have the right to spend money. The major and imprecisely defined exception, according to the Anti-Deficiency Act of 1870: "Emergency [activities] involving the safety of human life or the protection of property." As interpreted by the White House, that would include the armed forces, diplomacy, veterans' hospitals and the air-traffic control system. Social Security payments would continue because they are...

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