When the government shuts down, the rest of us pay the price

Ed Murphy, Photo Editor

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The government shutdown is pissing me off this time around. The whole concept of the shutdown blows my mind. Because the national budget cannot be passed, the whole country suffers.

I honestly don’t know who to blame for the situation. President Trump? The Democrats? The Republicans? Whomever caused this partial shutdown, I want you to know that I’m pissed.

I should start off by saying that I guess I’m independent. The way I look at it one way or the other, Big Brother will come around and hamstring me in the end anyways. Saying that, I agree with big and small government ideals, but I am more left leaning. Take my tax dollars and I’ll let the government do what they want. Just leave me the hell alone and let me go about my business.

Through my years going through public school, if there was ever a disagreement over a toy, computer time or lab time I don’t recall never coming to a compromise. Why the hell can school children come to an understanding over a conflict, but elected officials can’t? I understand that Mac time is different than a national budget, but the idea still remains the same.

Compromise. Compromise. Compromise. You give and you take. That’s how it’s supposed to work. Should President Trump try to limit his expectations? Should the Republicans try to work his aspirations into more feasible legislation or budget goals? Should the Democrats give a little and try to gain some ground on a more pressing topic like gun control? A combination of all three would make for a smooth-operating government.

Maybe the whole system should change. Maybe we should have undisclosed voting. Having a young junior representative being pressured by the whip to make a decision that may not be beneficial to their district is counterproductive for the whole nation. Or maybe a shift to a multi-party system instead of a bipartisan effort. That will never happen, of course.

My biggest beef with the shutdown is the hypocrisy. Maybe I have a skewed idea of “MAGA”, but I think of it for the little guy. The little guy who goes to work everyday, working his ass off, trying to make ends meet. The government is failing the little guy. The government’s job is to serve its constituents and they failed their constituents.

Along with the philosophical and principles problems I have, the most tangible issues the loss of public services. I believe that the National Parks Service (NPS)  and the parks themselves are some of the greatest treasures that the country has to offer. The NPS is one of the services being minimized by the shutdown. Along with the NPS, national museums, the FDA ( Food and Drug Administration), EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the State Department are also having some of their services slashed.

Another notable slash falls on the Department of Homeland Security. The most visible arm of the Homeland Security is the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). TSA is a hassle when going to the airport or other means of transit, but for good reason. I would rather deal with the lines than having to worry about whether or not a bomb was brought on with someone in their carry-on.

Another surprising arm of Homeland is the Coast Guard. One would think it would be part of the Department of Defense like the other branches of the military, but it is instead part of Homeland and not immune to the lack of budget.

41, 000 active duty Coast Guardsmen are working with out pay. Their last government paycheck was Dec. 31, 2018. The “forgotten” branch, may be the most important branch in my opinion. They are the first wave of defense if there was to be an invasion from our coasts. They are the first responders for hurricanes and other disasters along our shorelines.

During this time of no pay, Guardsmen are advised to have garage sales and to work odd jobs just to make ends meet. The military is underpaid to begin with, but this is just absurd.

The most notable and impactful to the common person is the cut to the IRS ( Internal Revenue Service). The IRS is responsible for collecting federal taxes and also the yearly tax return. The IRS is planning on not releasing tax returns or at least delaying the returns due to the shutdown.

To me, the tax return is a nice surprise. At most it’s a few hundred dollars that helps me get through the rest of the spring semester as my summer savings are starting to dwindle.

To others, it’s a planned bonus that affects their lives drastically. If I buy less beer or whiskey this semester so be it, but if someone runs out of heating oil or can’t pay rent, their lives change drastically.

This is where the hypocrisy comes in. $174,000. That’s the starting salary for a junior member of congress. That’s also the pay they receive for life after a single two year term. I am sure that making decisions that affect the United States is stressful, but two years and you’re set for life? Sounds like a pretty swell job considering the benefits.

So these elected officials, who are set for life essentially, have been chosen to represent their district, and either out of pride or party loyalty, choose that the best option for their constituents is to have a partial government shutdown.

The system is broken and it has been broken for a long time. In my eyes, the elected officials’ primary goal is no longer to improve their district and their country. The capitalistic attitude of America has inclined them to work the system for everything they can and at whatever cost.

Blue and red both say they work for the common person, but it seems like they forget about us when they achieve their goal of entering office.

Ed is a junior Art major and the Photo Editor of The Voice.