The public can be forgiven if the manufactured distractions of President Trump have kept it from focusing on the possibility of another government shutdown, but people need to pay attention.
Trump tweeted Tuesday that he didn't think a budget deal could be made, which prompted Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to back out of a meeting with Trump and Republican leaders.
Trump said it would be the Democrats' fault if the government shuts down without a budget, but he has been sounding like he wants a shutdown for months.
In May Trump tweeted, "Our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!" In August he told a rally crowd in Phoenix, "If we have to close down our government, we're building that wall."
The president continues to show himself to be a poor student of history. Someone should tell him there have been 18 government shutdowns since the current budget process began in 1976. In each case, the consequences did not justify the cost.
The last exercise in futility, from Oct. 1 to 16, 2013, occurred after Republicans tried to defund Obamacare. The shutdown put more than 800,000 federal employees out of work and cost the country an estimated $24 billion in economic output. Here's a breakdown of the other 17 shutdowns: