Government Standstill

Our government has been at a standstill since midnight last Tuesday. The only Federal operations and employees still working at present are the Armed Services, Postal Service, Essential Employees of every branch— and Congress and the Senate. For many reasons this is something that should perturb us, beyond just the fact that it is a sign of the weakness of our two party system.

Compromise is needed for every part of our lives. When determining where you will live you compromise on price, location, and home style. When deciding your future with your mate you compromise on your combined values, what you both want for your progeny, and even how you will deal with your mate’s family. For your job you compromise speed, personal pride and many other things in order to get the job done. Every adult must compromise on basic things; it is an essential skill for adulthood, yet it is a skill that our politicians seem to lack.

This forgotten, basic skill has caused quite a bit of chaos in our nation. Due to the inability of the Republicans to pass anything that allowed the Health Care Bill to be enacted, and the Democrats’ own inability to pass anything that would curtail the Health Care Bill, the budget was unable to be passed. Their lack of compromise caused all federal employees—and those dependent on them—to now face a very uncertain time of how and when they will get money, and how they will survive until they get paid. Luckily, according to the Washington Post, it has been approved that once the budget gets passed all furloughed federal workers will receive all back pay that they are due. But what are those relying on federal funds to do in the meantime? Life and bills do not come to a halt simply because the government does. Before all this came to pass, our economy was already in a precarious state, so the added stress of this is not doing anyone any good, and will simply make the financial situation more precarious than it already is—and further hurt our position with the international community.

Not only is compromise not occurring, but both sides of this political debacle are blaming the other for the inability to reach an agreement on the budget. For anything to occur right now one side needs to cave, at least a bit so that the other side can feel safe giving in as well. But, my prediction is that no one will even start trying to compromise until the day before the debt ceiling must be raised and then the budget itself will not be passed until 11:59 p.m.Oct.16,barely before the Oct.17 deadline.

At this point the Health Care Bill is not worth this—whatever your side of this debate the government’s shutdown is not worth either halting or passing this one bill. If it is such a controversial issue, the budget specific to it should be voted on separately from every other component of the federal budget. Doing so will let everything else resume because it is pointless to hold every other part of government up simply for one thing. Cut it from the overall discussion, pass the majority of the budget, and then come back to this and argue about it for as long as each party desires—but stop halting the government over it.

And as each of us voices our disgust with the present politicians do not forget that it was us that voted them in—we are equally to blame for this farce because we voted for them knowing that they would be unable to agree with each other. While our country is at this impasse we should reflect on whether or not our two party system is truly such a great thing.

-Carrie Wilkie, Copy Editor


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