Putting lives on hold

Government shutdowns bring more harm to a country than good

Many American lives are put on halt because of government shutdowns. In the image above, federal employees are protesting outside the capital of the U.S. because of the furloughing.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Many American lives are put on halt because of government shutdowns. In the image above, federal employees are protesting outside the capital of the U.S. because of the furloughing.

Alexis Bahensky, Opinions Editor

Recently, talk of a government shutdown sparked a large debate across the nation. Some saw it as an opportunity to be able to get the United States finances in check, while others thought it would only bring back the troubles it did during the December 2018 – January 2019 shutdown. On Thursday, Sept. 30, Biden signed the funding bills in an effort to avert the shutdown and was successful. This was the correct decision. A government shutdown has and always will bring only problems to the United States instead of solutions.

The 2018 – 2019 shutdown lasted for a little over 30 days (the longest shutdown in U.S. history), yet it still led the U.S. into problematic territory, especially dealing with the economy. Economic growth during this time was reduced by over $3 billion. While that doesn’t seem like much, it would have helped the U.S. to fund their programs and possibly lessen the chance of shutting down causing yet another economic crisis. 

Shutdowns are there for when the U.S. is struggling financially in some way. For instance, the 2018 shutdown was the result of Donald Trump’s demand for funding for a wall along the Mexican border. This year, it was considered because of the debt ceiling. Both are absolutely idiotic reasons for a dispute. It’s not even about the money most of the time. Instead, it always has to do with our political parties not being able to see eye to eye with one another. Maybe, if our congressmen and women could get over their little spats and attempt to find a viable solution that doesn’t involve harming many federal employees then the US wouldn’t need to shut down.

I will admit, it’s normal for the parties to have different opinions; it’s good even. To keep one another in check, having civilized debates over the concerns of another group of people with different views can be very beneficial. However, how our government was attempting to deal with the situation is concerning. Filibustering is the culprit in this situation. This is when a member of the opposition to a potential bill being discussed takes the floor in Congress and talks non-stop so no vote can be cast to further the bill’s movement. This is extremely aggravating as this is a very petty way to deal with these types of issues. People may believe it is a strategic tactic, which I will agree with. However, it’s simply people in the opposition wasting precious time in Congress that could be used for other important issues just so they can get their way on one measly bill. While Biden is considering changing the filibuster rule, one party would still find a way to distract Congress from moving forward with the debt ceiling.

Since Democrats and Republicans can never seem to agree, which almost led us into yet another government shutdown (the possible 3rd in less than a decade), many issues could have arisen if they decided to go through with it. One major problem is furloughing federal employees. During a shutdown, employees that are deemed essential keep working, while others are furloughed and over 380,000 were back in 2018. Pay is not being given to these employees until after the shutdown has been resolved. This can cause unnecessary obstacles for many. For example, many could have to wait to pay their bills or even shop for groceries. Those who continue to go to work still receive no pay which causes some to not show up to work at all. In 2018, over 26,000 IRS employees were called to be furloughed and 14,000 refused to show up because they were not going to receive payment for their work. This will just cause more problems for the government as workers refuse to do essential jobs because they aren’t getting paid, and I don’t blame them. They don’t deserve to be punished because of mistakes made by the government.

In 2018, many flu flighters had the possibility of being furloughed. This could have stopped necessary progress during a year when flu cases spiked. While research would be kept open through the Centers for Disease Control, in 2013 this wasn’t the case and it eventually lead to a larger outbreak during the following year. As a parallel to 2021, it could have stopped necessary research of the COVID vaccine. Things must be deemed essential to stay open during a shutdown, and like in 2013, the vaccine development could have not made the list. A lot of progress could have been lost just as we were starting to see a dramatic fall in cases. Yes, we would still have the vaccine being implemented, but research to further the vaccine to children under 12 would have been halted. 

Not only could medical advances have been halted, but benefit verification could have as well. People usually need this as proof of payment when applying for a loan. Gaining these would be halted, so that means people would have to wait for their loans. My family and I had to take one out recently to begin building our new house. If the government had shut down, we wouldn’t have been able to receive that loan which would have halted the building process even more. This is the reality many would face, along with other loans that might be needed to take out to continue something like a business, especially a small one that may not have the financial ability to continue on without a bit of help from a loan.

National parks are affected during a shutdown along with most other government services. Most of the time it is the services that are shut down, such as trash services which lead to a large pile up in litter back in 2018.
(Photo courtesy of flickr.com)

National parks have the possibility to be shut down as well. It doesn’t happen every time; however, it has happened before. Parks were completely shut down in 2013, yet in 2018 they were left open while some services such as trash services were halted. This caused parks to suffer from an overflow of garbage as well as damaging behaviors, such as off-roading and vandalism. Just because the government shuts down doesn’t mean we should make our environment suffer for it. There should be no reason for them to shut down the parks, especially the services that are meant to keep the parks clean and in order so that people can enjoy them. 

This fall could lead us into recession according to Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics chief Economics. It could ease over $15 trillion in household wealth along with 6 million jobs. It also will most likely cause another discussion of a shutdown that needs to be avoided. Solving this problem should be the main focus and was supposed to be during the debates over the debt ceiling. However, it only caused debate over a shutdown instead, something that isn’t even needed as well as something that would only cause harm. So, instead of arguing like small children, we should attempt to find a more stable and permanent solution that doesn’t involve a harmful government shutdown that has the capability of hurting hundreds of thousands of American lifestyles.