Is the Wall worth it?

Trump’s Government Shutdown throws a wrench in the US system

Vincent Towne, Staff Writer

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More or less, since the start of this country, it has been the duty of the officials put in power to fund the government with consistency and timeliness. We find ourselves once again in a government shutdown, a situation that has been beaten into the ground ten times since 1980. An event like this is only supposed to happen for a day or two, as a way to save money for a new spending bill. President Trump’s wall is the main reason for the current government closure, but I fear that this time around it’s being used more as political leverage instead. With no laws stopping Trump from halting government productiveness, we’ve entered a stand still lasting almost a month.

Pretty much since the beginning of Trump’s campaign promise back in 2015, he rode on the thought of greater border protection with the idea of a wall at the center of his reforms. On December 22, the weekend before Christmas, Trump declared a government shutdown to raise funding for his wall. Since then, the shutdown has lasted into the New Year and even surpassed the previous record set by Bill Clinton.

In fact, this shut down is an exact copy of what unfolded 23 years ago. Clinton’s shut down went from December of 1995 to January of 1996 and resulted in fighting between the president and the GOP (Grand Old Party/Republican) congress. The Republicans, similar to the Democrats right now, refused President Clinton’s new spending bill. Unlike today’s Democrats, they wanted cuts with Medicare/Medicaid to be made before any more spending was approved. This polarized deadlock didn’t end until Clinton finally gave into the Republicans after almost a month of battling, giving the GOP a seven year budget plan.

The problem with this shutdown, and what makes it different from Clinton’s, is that neither side seems to want to budge. Even when a compromise is possible, there looks to be no peaceful accommodations or deals in the near future. Trump is set on making this wall, and understandably so. His campaign relies heavily on the wall, accompanied with other border issues. A potential second term rests on the outcome of this standoff.

The bill to provide funding for the wall hasn’t gone unscathed or without ridicule, especially if the Democrats have something to say about it. Senator Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have condemned Trump repeatedly for continuing to escalate the situation. Many Democrats fear that Trump will soon go as far to declare a national emergency to get funding for the wall. This idea even frightens Republicans in Congress.

This is evident with 2018 ending in Trump sidelining them and continuing to fight for his wall. Several Republicans like Michigan Representative, Justin Amash, have outright distanced themselves from Trump, considering him to be reckless.

“It’s amazing how some wall funding causes my fellow Republicans to embrace big government,” said Amash.

Other GOP members argue the right has gotten the reforms they wanted and that the president is going to throw it all away with his all or nothing attitude.

In addition to the political uncertainty, the shutdown has not fallen short of creating victims. Trump has affected about a quarter of the government by laying off around 800,000 workers and suspending pay until the spending for the wall gets approved. We don’t even know exactly how much it will cost either; numbers have been thrown around from $8 billion to $30 billion, making the length of unemployment for these workers indefinite.

With this many workers being furloughed, it has affected enough families to make people wonder if the shutdown is worth it. Government employees aren’t the only ones affected by this tragedy; many publicly maintained places like national parks have gone to ruin without the much needed upkeep provided by park rangers. In some places like the Smoky Mountains National Park, the community has taken on the job of maintaining parts of the park, especially the restrooms after people started ruining caves.

Because public domains and employees are suffering, congressmen on both sides have tried to find a way to start reopening up parts of the government, but not much ground has been made. House Freedom Caucus member Ken Buck voted against the bill after Trump announced the shutdown, stating the wall shouldn’t be the cause of a shutdown.

“I think sending federal workers home before Christmas not knowing when and if they’ll have a job tomorrow is wrong.”

Buck’s reasoning is shared by many, and provokes question.

It’s been hard to ignore the amount of people opposed to the negligent idea to shut down the government. So for the past week or so, Trump has increased his efforts to address the public, even managing to visit the border in McAllen, Texas. While there, he chatted a bit with the border agents about security and subsequently the wall.

I think it’s refreshing to see him go out of his way to achieve what was promised, but I don’t think he’s gone about this in the right way. Hopefully, in the coming weeks this problem will be fixed, especially with the declaration of “national emergency” as a possibility. If Trump is to go through with something like this, it wouldn’t bode well for our future. I hope that Republicans realize that the government won’t be theirs to control forever. They complained about Obama making executive decisions against the will of congress. What if a future Democratic president claims to be in a state of national emergency, and bans all firearms. What if another president takes it a step further, and extends their term? So, even though I support Trump and his wall, I think he should try a little harder to reach across the aisle and compromise.

 

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