OPINION: Looming Government Shutdown Will Have Little Immediate Impact on Average Citizen

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OPINION: Looming Government Shutdown Will Have Little Immediate Impact on Average Citizen

With the dark clouds of a partial government shutdown on the horizon, the average American citizen will hardly notice its impact.

With the dark clouds of a partial government shutdown on the horizon, the average American citizen will hardly notice its impact.

With the dark clouds of a partial government shutdown on the horizon, the average American citizen will hardly notice its impact.

With the dark clouds of a partial government shutdown on the horizon, the average American citizen will hardly notice its impact.

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Government shutdown. This premise is used as a weapon by politicians to scare opposition into cooperation, and both parties are evidently terrified by it. This time, the Trump Administration has threatened a government shutdown to get funding “necessary to build the border wall,” as Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic Leader, insisted that the President “is not going to get a wall.”

While both parties fear a government shutdown, with Republican Senator Richard Shelby desperately saying “there has to be some sort of breakthrough,” a government shutdown seems more likely as each day passes. While a government shutdown sounds like a scary premise, what exactly does it entail and how does it impact our daily lives?

A government shutdown occurs when Congress and the President fail to agree upon government spending bills, leaving the government unfunded. When a government shutdown occurs, however, “essential services” are still preserved. Services like the Postal Service, the TSA and Medicare are still preserved, but “non-essential services” are left unfunded. Services like The Department of Education, the EPA, the FDA and the National Institute of Health all stop functioning during a government shutdown.

Many lower-level government employees, like national park rangers, museum and monument workers are sent home. During the 2013 shutdown, over 850,000 government employees were sent home unpaid. Plus, people who receive VA benefits, unemployment benefits, farm subsidies and tax refunds will have to wait to receive their money until the government shutdown ends.

Besides non-essential services being cut, our economy takes a massive blow due to our large government. During the 2013 shutdown, over $24 billion of economic activity was lost due to the absence of production from the workers who were sent home.

While President Trump tried to coerce Congress into accepting the budget by claiming that it will “be devastating to our military,” the military doesn’t shut down. While it is true soldiers will not be paid, the military will still be running its normal operations.

As an individual, save for government workers, a government shutdown has few immediate ramifications. The government has put in place safeguards to force a “mandatory” budget for all “essential services,” allowing each American to largely maintain their day-to-day life.

In essence, a government shutdown is redundant and serves no true benefit. Government shutdowns only last, at the longest, a few weeks, with the 2013 shutdown lasting only 16 days. The economic loss incurred during the shutdown is not recouped, and the inevitability of an agreement between Congress and the White House makes the whole process seem unnecessary.

While both parties make a big deal about a government shutdown, using it as a tool to coerce their opponent into cooperation, the impact of a shutdown on our daily lives is minimal. The government has safeguards that allow daily life to continue, and while there is an economic impact, that is largely felt in the public sector and has little ramifications for most citizens who function primarily in the private sector. While these two words can invoke terror to the untrained listener, daily life for most Americans will remain uninterrupted until the trivialities of the government are ironed out.

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