With the doom of the government shutdown upon us, opinions voiced and unspoken alike are dripping with emotions ranging from annoyance to indifference. Oct. 1 marks the beginning of the new fiscal year and if you haven’t yet heard the incessant arguments concerning spending bills, it certainly isn’t anything new. There has not been a government shutdown in 17 years; however, there have been 17 shutdowns since 1977 according to USA Today. Now that the government has truly shut down, what does this actually mean for the fate of America?
The White House decides which workers are deemed essential or nonessential, which means that national zoos, parks and monuments will be shut down, as well as other facilities including passport, visa and WIC, or food stamp, services. This leaves families worrying and hundreds of thousands of staff workers being put on furlough, or a temporary unpaid leave of absence. The majority of federal agencies will stay open for business, along with the U.S. Postal Service and Social Security Agency. Although these are all possibilities, “the federal government has final say on how the District spends its money, even when that money is collected from local taxes,” according to NBC Washington. NBC Politics has reported that the two parties agreed on “a bill passed by the House Saturday night that would ensure that members of the Armed Forces get paid even if there is a partial government shutdown.”
With mere hours separating Monday, Sept. 30, 2013 from a prospective government shutdown, NPR informed the public that “the Senate voted 54—46 to reject a House continuing resolution that would avert a government shutdown but would delay the implementation of President Obama’s signature law, the Affordable Care Act.” Fox News announced, “House leaders will now have to decide whether to make a counter-offer or accept the Senate bill. Without a resolution, the government is expected to start shutting down after midnight.”
Now, we wait. Although the government has already shut down, leaders were scrambling for last minute measures. USA Today stated, “President Obama and [Majority Leader Harry] Reid maintain that the only way to avoid a shutdown is to approve the Senate-passed stopgap spending bill through Nov. 15 with no extraneous provisions on Obamacare.” The Republicans were still searching for alternatives including a plan that implicates an amendment to postpone uninsured Americans being required to purchase health insurance for one year.
The National Journal stated Friday, “The consequences of a government shutdown or topping over the debt ceiling could be massively harmful for the U.S. economy, whether you’re looking at the possibility of a downgrade in U.S. credit or just the shutdown in payments and services with thousands of government employees out of work.” Which side is guilty? Who are we expected to pummel with stones? Why is the blame game so easily used when it takes Democrats and Republicans to negotiate? Both sides, in my opinion, possess portions of the blame. I think it is ridiculous to maintain that one side automatically carries every ounce of fault on its shoulders. We need a government that is willing to work together to solve problems, not a government that is waiting impatiently to lash the other side for having opposing views. We, as citizens, can have opinions about certain things, but we will never know precisely what occurs behind the closed doors of the Capitol. Instead, we see an overfed, dramatized media that regurgitates information on which the masses gorge themselves. The government has been shut down and as this situation unfurls, the media will certainly be busy. You decide how to feel.