The United States of America is a nation that leads by example. It is a symbol of strength and liberty. However, the American government officially shut down onTuesday, October 1st. You may be wondering why this happened and how a lack of government affects your personal life. Here is the basics of the “Shutdown-Rundown”:
Cause: Democrats and Republicans in Congress cannot agree on how to manage government funding. An especially controversial aspect of the fiscal plan is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (A.K.A. “Obamacare”). Generally speaking, the Democratic Party supports the funding of “Obamacare” because its members believe that all citizens, including the uninsured forty-four million Americans, deserve to have affordable health insurance available to them despite any pre-existing conditions. Many preach the idea of universal healthcare that does not discriminate. In fact, health insurance has become mandatory. Republicans, for the most part, argue that it is wrong for the federal government to force healthcare upon its citizens. They believe in an unregulated and capitalistic system. Many Republicans argue that this is unconstitutional: the government cannot force its people to be insured. Another one of the party’s key points is that “Obamacare” will hurt the nation’s economy by replacing full-time jobs with part-time jobs, since all employers of fifty or more full time employees must offer health insurance. So far, Republican politicians have tried to repeal the law forty-two times.
Effect: The incessant fighting between the two dominant political parties has not been quelled. Since the government could not agree on how to handle the fiscal decision before the deadline, it has no money. Therefore, the government cannot function. You may wonder how this affects you. You’re probably not traveling to any national parks soon, but a long term government shut down will be harmful to the nation. Yosemite National Park, like many other major tourist attractions, will lose approximately $450,000 for each day that they are closed. Government employees who cannot work will not be paid; thus, financial stress spread even more amongst thousands of hardworking Americans. Families who depend on government services for food will be hungry. Most shockingly, the National Cancer Institute will not be able to treat cancer patients. Overall, the government shutdown will be devastating.
Mr. Kilkelly (History Teacher): “As of right now it is hard to see how all of this [will get] resolved, but one way or another they need to reach some sort of agreement. The country made it through the last government shutdown in the late nineties and somehow we will get through this one.”
Ms. Crowe (Senior Experience and English Teacher): “How is it possible that educated, knowledgeable, government officials are incapable of finding a compromise?”
This political battle must be resolved immediately. The nation cannot just “shutdown” whenever its leaders argue. Politicians must set aside political differences and make a decision. Whether you support “Obamacare” or not, there is one thing that is certain: our government must act like the beacon of democracy that it is.