Why The Government Shutdown Is Ruining My Life
I will admit that I found out about the possibility of the government shutdown over the CNN Twitter account, about an hour before the shutdown occurred. “Shutdown” sounded very ominous and I notified everyone sitting around my laptop and I that this was about to happen. I didn’t know what a shutdown would entail. Should I expect a complete stopping of society? Would I even notice its effects? Those around me jeered at the news. How does an entire government even shut down?
I began my studying immediately and found a CNN article laying out the important details for me in layman’s terms. Mixing the knowledge of CNN and my own understanding, here’s a little background information:
A bill to fund the government didn’t pass. Why? Republicans in the House of Representatives actively struggle to wear down Obamacare (a statute they’re not so fond of), and do not want to pass a spending bill unless it contributes to the decline of Obamacare. Democrats do and want the exact opposite. There’s the stalemate!
Well, what’s the problem with Obamacare? Under Obamacare, every American must have health insurance. Obamacare could also potentially impair employers and lead to the government being overstretched. Why do the Democrats support Obamacare? The law expands access to healthcare, lowers cost of coverage, and allows access for those with pre-existing health conditions.
Okay, so what really happened that shut down our government? The House of Representatives is Republican-dominated. They passed a bill to delay Obamacare for an entire year, and the bill went back to the Democrat-dominated Senate. Need I say more?
The last shut down occurred in 1995-1996 and lasted for three weeks.
Everyone’s confused. “Is anything open?” “Does Washington just close?” “How does this affect me?” Yes, no, and allow me to explain.
800,000+ government employees have been sent on an extended, no-pay vacation. “Essential” employees keep working, including most of the big guys in D.C., USPS employees, the IRS/banking functions, health care providers, and Social Security. What is effected? National Park Service sites, national museums, FEMA, the FDA, the speed of your Netflix streaming, Coast Guard radio satellites, you getting your passport on time, you buying a gun, and you getting a federal loan, among others. Obamacare will not die because of the shut down. The President, the House, and the Senate will continue to be paid. The debt ceiling will still be a big deal after this is all over.
So why is this state of stasis ruining my life?
Because my dad is a retired United States Air Force CMGST, retired for almost five years. He’s a civilian with a government job at Warner Robins AFB in Georgia.
He isn’t working and won’t until the shutdown is over. But who knows how long the shutdown will last?
Compared to the last government shut down while Clinton was in office, this shut down seems more vicious. Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the House during the 1995-1996 shutdown, and Clinton spoke and negotiated daily in order to make the shutdown as quick and painless as possible, despite their different political stances. John Boehner and President Obama aren’t on friendly terms by any means. The economy of the mid-90s was also in astronomically better terms than the current state of the economy. Unemployment was lower then, the stock market was fine then. Our already struggling economy can only be harmed by the shutdown, as furloughed employees will be unwilling to spend as much as they normally would. Which makes sense. They’re not working.
Congress did agree on something: to pay active duty members of the military during the shutdown, and more recently, to give backpay to furloughed “non-essential” government workers following the shut down.
My President is stubborn, and if that’s what he needs to be for Obamacare to pass, then okay. I can’t say I’m comfortable with this, or happy about it. At this point, all I care about is my dad.
(All photos provided by cnn.com)
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