By the time you read this, the United States of America will be in week two of the “Government Shutdown of 2013” (yes, it even has its own Wikipedia page). Since this kind of thing doesn’t happen very often (the last one was in 1995), I’ve found it quite interesting to keep up with how this affects you and I, the average American citizen.
What I’ve found so far is nothing short of a confusing mess. What’s even more concerning is that both political parties are so far apart from agreeing with each other on how to end this that I can’t see an end in sight. Though they’re definitely going to need to take action by Oct. 17, which is the day the U.S. will, for the first time, default on its loan obligations if the debt ceiling isn’t raised.
So what’s closed and what’s open right now? Since at least 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed, there’s bound to be some closures. But, there are several key areas of the government that are not affected by the shutdown. They include the U.S. military, 911 services, mail delivery, existing social security benefits, air travel, USDA, SNAP, veterans services and federal unemployment.
Unfortunately, there are several key government organizations that have been closed, thanks to the massive number of furloughs, and these closings include all national parks, new social security and medicare applications not being processed, small business loans application processing stops, the national zoo and the Smithsonian are both shuttered, and the IRS has suspended tax refunds, most customer support and even auditing activities. Also, many investigators who work for the Center for Disease Control and the FDA are furloughed, which is a scary thought in its own right – though they claim they could handle a serious outbreak if need be, but it would be hampered by the furloughs.
Obviously, there are many more on both lists. Like I said before, overall, it’s a complete mess.
So, how did we get here? It pretty much all hinges around the debate over the Affordable Care Act. The silly part is that one side thinks the other will back down (and vice-versa), and from the way it looks, that’s not in the cards at this point in time. So instead of coming together and working this out like any respectable Congress should do for the well being of its citizens, they continue to play political cat-and-mouse right in front of our faces.
I’m confident that I can speak for a multitude of Americans when I ask, “Why are you doing this to us? We elect you to keep America up and running, not to shut her down.”
Politicians are solely focused on the next election. So what in the name of Sam Hill makes them think, on either political side, that we’re going to keep ANY of them the next time around? Would we get to keep our jobs if we caused the company we work for to shut down for even an hour? Absolutely not.
As far as “We the People” are concerned, and in the words of Donald Trump… “You’re fired.”