When I hear the whole they’re gonna shut down the government, my first thoughts are: So. Am I supposed to care? Let those government people get what they deserve.
But then my intellectual side kicks in and all the questions come. What does a government shutdown mean, exactly? Does that affect me, my family or my friends personally? What about government workers; do they actually lose pay? Is a shutdown worth it to get done what needs to get done?
What is a Government Shutdown?
Well, actually it’s a partial government shutdown. It’s not a full stop on all government activities by a loooong shot. It is when non-essential agencies and programs run by the federal government are temporarily halted. That usually means national parks and federal information bureaus like the Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.
Of course, the term non-essential makes one wonder: if the agencies are not essential, why do we have them and why are taxpayers paying for them? Should the services they provide be under government jurisdiction or should they be run like any other business in the United States?
All essential services will continue unhindered, despite the government shutdown. So you can count on the continuation of military and national security, medical services, postal deliveries, Medicaid and other support programs.
Does that affect me or my family personally?
Well, that depends. The key word here is federal. The shutdown is a federal shutdown, not a local or state shutdown. So, the DMV and City Halls across the country would not be affected. Neither would everyday businesses like banks, grocery stores, and malls.
If you are a federal worker, you may be furloughed – which means temporarily laid off. Although some workers are still carrying out their duties with delayed pay, most would not go to work during the shutdown. These workers will get their back pay when Congress completes its budget and the government reopens. For these people – around 2% of the population – a government shutdown could be bad if they are living from paycheck to paycheck. Other government workers may consider it a paid vacation and take advantage of the time off to catch up on their To Do list and get some rest and relaxation.
Is a Shutdown Worth it to Get Done What Needs to be Done?
Perhaps. Human nature is such that we only do what we are forced to do: either by our own volition or at the hands of someone else.
Yet, I have to wonder, is the government really the only answer to our woes? If we support ourselves, build ties with family, friends and within our communities, and are willing to work hard and take advantage of opportunities, would we be better able to sustain ourselves whether or not the government shut down? That could be our goal: to be self-supported. As more people manage their own financial situations, the government would have fewer people to support. Their funds would go further because they wouldn’t need as much to help the less fortunate in the country. That means Americans would keep more of their own money and the government could be smaller and more efficient. Dare I dream.
The fact that the government can’t seem to balance a budget should be alarming. The reason the government is partially shut down is because they ran out of money allocated to pay for itself; money that should have been appropriated back in September 2018. But, again, the government doesn’t feel it has to play by the same rules as everyday Americans. It can just put more money on the national debt and keep on in its reckless spending. At some point this behavior has to stop doesn’t it? Perhaps this partial government shutdown is the only way to tell them to do their jobs, balance the budget, and live within our means.