We all know that in GovMedia speak, “spending cut” means reducing the rate of increase in spending, while “shutdown” means reducing the workforce by 40%. From David Henderson we learn that “defund” apparently means “change a few implementation requirements without reducing funding by a penny.” Specifically, the Congresspeople who supposedly want to “defund” Obamacare proposed only to scrap the individual mandate and remove the subsidy for Congresspeople and their staffers.
Remember the old Soviet-era joke, “We pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us?” This is the state of US political discourse about economic issues. The Republicans pretend to oppose Obamacare, and the Democrats pretend to oppose them. The purported differences are trivial, the “debate” political theater. Only government officials and the Official Media are amused.
Update: As I noted in my Mises View video, if you include military personnel, the reduction in workforce is less than 20%. If you include government contractors, it’s probably 10-15%. Some shutdown!
Update 2: Josh Barro, using a slightly different approach, estimates the shutdown at around 20%.