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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Opinion-Shutdown punishes innocent workers

Illustration by Alex Bihm/The Collegian
Illustration by Alex Bihm/The Collegian

President Barack Obama said Congress should never threaten the full faith and credit of the United States of America, and he is correct.

Now the U.S. is witnessing its dark side as hundreds of thousands of federal employees are indefinitely laid off.

This doesn’t demonstrate job security. Obama stated that the federal government is America’s largest employer and that those dedicated public servants who stay on the job will do so without pay and several hundred thousand more will be immediately and indefinitely furloughed.

Thankfully, those receiving Social Security and Medicare benefits will continue to do so, and the U.S. Postal service will still run. The borders and prisons will stay guarded. Federal officers will continue to enforce the law, and the military will continue to serve the nation.

But our parks, our federal offices, Veterans Affairs, several power plant operations and more will either shut down or function at the lowest possible capacity.

The dividing factor that pushed them to this point is the Affordable Care Act. But it is safe to say that many Americans cannot afford that care without a job.

The federal employees who have been furloughed or temporarily laid off make up the backbone and legs that the United States stands on.

Without them, the regulations and institutions that keep the U.S. successful start to fall apart. Without them, the American full faith and credit loses its full faith and credit.

During the shutdown, the president and the Congress will still be paid. Their salaries are considered mandatory spending. If that’s mandatory spending, then perhaps paying for the labor of federal employees is also mandatory. Decisions must be made eventually, but not at the mercy of innocent pocketbooks.

No one argues the importance of healthcare. Many people are suffering and deserve to be helped. Now there’s even more people who will begin to suffer. Also, if citizens are expected to go to work for too long without pay, there is a good chance of protest. 

The fiscal year runs Oct. 1–Sept. 30. This allows the government the time to decide how to spend U.S. funds. That schedule should have been the first sacrifice to prevent this from happening. Deadlines are important, but mortgage payments and groceries are essential to the average human life.

With such a large chunk of the population now left with empty pockets, consumer spending and investments will decrease until the government can make a decision.

It would be an understatement to say that the U.S. is not recession-proof. This hasn’t been a great recovery from the 2008 debacle. The shutdown will ultimately and inevitably begin to affect the economy like salt to the wound. If this shutdown lasts long enough, the consequences will be unavoidable and painful. The government saw this coming and purposely did nothing to prevent it in what seems like a very expensive game of chicken.

In recent weeks, Congress and the House had more than enough time to save its people from losing precious money. Yet they couldn’t agree or settle for the sake of faithful and now jobless Americans.

Those people were the ones who ultimately built the “full faith and credit” of the nation.

And they were the first to be let down.

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