Understanding the Government Shutdown

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

At this point everyone has probably heard that the U.S. government is currently shutdown. So what does that mean? Is the country going to become chaos? How does this affect the life of the everyday American? These are questions that are probably on everyone’s mind and they are about to be answered.

So, what exactly happened?

As the new fiscal year started on Tuesday, a new spending plan had to be agreed upon. Well, this year things didn’t go quite as planned. After Congress failed to agree upon the spending bill, parts of the government were officially shut down starting at midnight Tuesday morning. A major reason contributing to why Congress couldn’t agree was that the Republican side wasn’t okay with the amount of money going into Obamacare and wanted revisions to cut down the cost of it. The Democratic side takes the opposing position.

What happens now?

Until the government is up and running again, anyone who works for them is basically out of a job unless they are absolutely needed. So of course all members of congress are still getting paid but everyone else under government employment are currently not working. This means an estimated 800,000 government workers are out of work until further notice. This will be a huge problem if the shutdown is long-lasting. If the government can get it together in just a few days, major harm to the economy can be avoided as well as harm to the lives of the people who need work. All that’s left to do is wait.

How does this affect everyday Americans?

Unless employed by the federal government, the average American shouldn’t have problems getting paid at work. However, other things have come to halt due to the shutdown from getting a federal loan to processing a passport. Government websites can’t be accessed and even national parks like Yellowstone can’t be visited because they are funded by the federal government and depend on the passing of the spending bill. The Smithsonian can’t be visited either as most of their workers are also furloughed (on a temporary unpaid leave). State museums are still open however, and state paid employees need not worry.

Has this happened before?

Yes it has. In 1980 President Carter warned the government to be prepared for a shutdown just in case lawmakers missed their deadline. The extent however, was not bad at all as the government was only shutdown for a few hours and no workers were sent home. During Reagan’s term the government went on the brink of shutdown often and three times were workers sent home for half a day. The last official time that the government shut down lasted 21 days from 1995 into 1996 while Clinton was President. The issues being fought over were the future of Medicare, Tax cuts, the budget deficit, etc. This shutdown ended with the Republicans compromising with Clinton’s conditions.

Courtesy of Google Images

Courtesy of Google Images

The inconvenience of the government shutdown is terribly annoying and very disappointing. More is expected from the U.S. government then a standstill like this especially with our knowledge of the past shutdowns. The butting of heads between the Republican and Democratic Houses shouldn’t come to this, a compromise needs to be met. It’s quite apparent that the government needs to get their act together, make progress, and run the country properly for the sake of America.


Posted on October 7, 2013, in News, Top Stories and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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