A Brief Opinion on the Government Shutdown

(Contributing reporters: Matthew Blockus, Jarrod Farensbach, Jeannie Chase, Jessica Orlando)

The United States federal government shut down on Oct. 1, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. The Democrats and the Republicans couldn’t agree on a spending budget involving Obamacare. The House Republicans want a bill that includes anti-Obamacare amendments, while the Senate Democrats want a spending bill with no amendments attached.

No matter how you look at it, the government shutdown is based on greed. The politicians involved voted to still receive their salary even though they are not doing their jobs, while over 800,000 federal employees are going without pay or work. How is it fair that politicians are still voting to get paid when there isn’t anyone higher-up than them to tell them that they can’t get paid since they’re not doing their elected job? What’s the motivation for these politicians to end the shut down when they are still receiving their wages in spite of not doing their jobs? If the politicians are still being compensated during this shut down then so should the federal employees who have been furloughed by the shutdown.

In addition to the woes faced by workers, federal programs are being affected as well. One of the biggest ways that the government shutdown is affecting America is through its public health programs. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention are facing a reduced ability to detect disease and has stopped giving assistance to state and local authorities. Also, the annual influenza program, which gives the flu shot, has been temporarily shut down. Since disease is being neglected, it is directly affecting the common American citizens. In defense, Caroline Smith DeWaal, director of food safety advocacy at the Washington-based Center for Science in the Public Interest stated, “These agencies are always running behind, and the idea that you can just shut them down is just foolish.”

The shutdown is going to damage the economy as well. Brian Kessler, economist with Moody’s Analytics, “estimates that a three-four week shutdown would cost the economy about $55 billion.” This money could have been used for the Americans who will really need it during the government shutdown, including cancer patients, defense contractors, military personnel, veterans, and so called “non-essential employees.” Tom Penders, an archaeologist and cultural resources manager, has been working for the Air Force for seven years and is now on furlough after being deemed a “non-essential employee” Penders states, “It feels like crap (to be called non-essential). I have no idea what we are going to do.  We live paycheck to paycheck as it is and barely make ends meet. … I am looking for another job and may have to declare bankruptcy.”

While it is the humble opinion of the reporters writing this story that the government shutdown is based on greed, the facts have been laid out. The workers willing to do their jobs are not receiving pay and facing potentially life-changing consequences, while the “workers” unwilling to do their jobs are being completely unaffected. If you would like to voice your opinion to Washington, you are encouraged to do so here.