The U.S. Government Shutdown: Whose Fault Is It?

Imagine you are kidnapped – you are held hostage against your will by a belligerent abductor who threatens to kill you unless they receive everything they are demanding in exchange for preserving your life. Your fate lies in the hands of the negotiator, who then refuses your abductor’s demands, and in turn, kills you themselves. Prior to your murder, your abductor did proclaim to the negotiator of their intent to kidnap a hostage long time ago, yet the negotiator did nothing about this warning to stop this from literally happening.

Now imagine the entire United States of America being held hostage by a committee comprised of 535 law makers whose congressional position would not have been possible if it were not for them being voted into their appointed seats by the U.S. citizens themselves. Unfortunately, this congressional committee cannot seem to collaborate on pertinent issues that are supposed to be made in the best interest of the country as a whole. Ironically due to this committee’s poor negotiating skills, the fate of the country soon begins to quickly plummet on a downward spiral by the very same people whom the citizens have willingly chosen to represent them.

Both analogies describe what the current U.S. government shutdown is really all about. One side of the congressional table, or the predominately-Republican House of Representatives, wants to have their way by insisting their own budget plan will work out for bailing the United States out of $17 trillion in debt by dismantling President Obama’s health care reform law, while the other side of the congressional table, the predominately-Democratic Senate, will not agree nor negotiate the idea of altering anything pertaining to the Affordable Care Act. Since Congress could not pass a budget by the October 1st deadline, shutting down the government was the only alternative left for them to do until a compromised can be reached by both sides.

In the meantime, as of October 1st, approximately 800,000 federal employees will not be paid, however, 1.4 million active-duty military personnel will get paid but may not receive their paychecks when they anticipate to receive them. Food programs that provide nutritional vouchers to low-income pregnant women and mothers with children up to age 5 will not be funded. All Smithsonian museums, zoos, national parks and monuments (this includes the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, the National Mall, and the Statue of Liberty) will be closed. And as if this wasn’t bad enough, Senior Service Programs such as “Meals on Wheels” which provides food to thousands of senior citizens may not receive government funding, energy assistance and weatherization programs for the low-income families
to help them stay warm during winter months may cease to be funded, and social security and supplemental income programs may see delays in check disbursements.

The bottom line: who is really at fault for the government shutting down? Every American who voted for a congressional nominee based simply on whether or not they were a Republican or Democrat is to blame. We put those people in office, therefore, we gave them their power – power that is apparently devoid of any genuinely bona fide cofunctioning abilities, especially in a time of crisis. Only we, the voters, can prevent these politically catastrophic conditions from ever happening again by voting based on policy and NOT party.

©2013 Learus Ohnine

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