08
Apr
11

Stop the Shutdown: quit the blame game and think of the people


Politics has always been very polarising in the United States. While budgets may pass without hindrance in other countries, at the moment in America, the Federal Government risks total shutdown as an agreement cannot be reached upon one, and if no successful compromise is achieved by midnight tonight, Eastern Time, the administration in Washington will cease operations; this will precipitate a crisis for government workers, the country at large, and indeed, as a result of the US’ extensive influence and various campaigns across the globe, the world as a whole. Although such an event has in fact happened before multiple times, the disruption is normally prevented by an eleventh hour deal, but the sad truth is that, in all probability, that window of time is now either upon us or has passed, and no deal has been negotiated.

The Republican House Speaker John Boehner, notable for being a rather overly emotional individual has stated that, primarily, the cause for such a delay is a disagreement over the level of cuts to be carried out on spending. This is however quite clearly not the overarching case- US politicians are overwhelmingly patriotic, and in order to spare those workers who are at risk of being labelled ‘non-essential’ from the hardship that now looms over them, a discrepancy over figures, while still acting as an instigator for much furious ideology-driven debate, would have not proven such an enduring obstacle to the process. This goes much deeper. In order to discern the true reasons for most recent extended failures in finding a happy medium, one must traverse the complicated and often incomprehensible network of differences in fundamental principle between the Republican dominated House of Representatives and the Obama administration. In this instance however, it is really quite simple to see where the real dispute lies. The quarrel’s source is of an ethical nature. It’s about abortion funding.

This has come to prominence not simply because of what currently constitutes the House but ultimately what constitutes the Republican majority in the house. The (in)famous Tea Party candidates that swept to power during the last midterm elections as a result of the perceived failure of the President on some occasions, and his proposals of vaguely socialist bills in others, see the current circumstances as the optimum time to push their far-right radical agendas and wreak as much havoc as possible by being as uncooperative as is possible- they have made it abundantly clear that the impending shutdown is very much their objective now. This loony wing of the Republican party that has charged its way into congress seeks to exploit the situation to the full for their own philosophical reasons in a narrow-minded fashion, much to the detriment of the people at large.

So while it is doubtful the Tea Party congressmen and women will capitulate to avoid a government closedown, the task is up to more mainstream republicans to think of the results for the government workers in the States and those around the world that are effected by the work they do, that a powering down of the Washington machine would generate. This is however looking increasingly unlikely, as John Boehner has already stated his defiance by saying that while he does, unlike the Tea Party politicians, not wish for a government shutdown, he was not willing to “roll over” to prevent one.

Both sides claim it is the incessant rhetoric and stubbornness of the other that is preventing a completion of a budget; Democratic leader Harry Reid insists that an agreement has been reached on overall spending itself, the Republicans won’t budge on various specific issues, predominantly abortion. Boehner conversely says the Democrats aren’t being flexible enough regarding their own cuts program to get close to a universally accepted settlement. It is plainly obvious that both parties are too preoccupied with holding each other responsible while not thinking about the people they represent.

The consequences will be regrettable should the shutdown come to pass. Not only will world affairs be thrown into chaos by a ceasing of the US government to administer the many areas it is responsible for, but, needless to say, ordinary people will be effected in a terrible way. Not only may 800,000 staff be suspended, many of which will be modestly paid public sector workers– which will be made all the worse by the current economic situation- in which many people are already struggling, but basic services provided that aid those even less well off, such as the unemployed, will in many cases stop functioning. Some of the aforementioned areas the Washington administration controls will surely experience negative effects as a result of troops stationed oversees not receiving their wages. Men and women will be asked to continue risking their lives for no compensation while the predicament continues. In addition to all of this, swathes of people across the USA will be forced to endure hits to their confidence, for as mentioned previously, the government will be forced to decide which workers are classified as ‘essential’ or ‘non-essential’. Those branded as the latter will be told to stay at home, unpaid, and understandably upset.

The negotiating teams must consider all of these fallout effects of a shutdown when undergoing talks. At time of writing, we are entering crunch time, and we can only hope for the benefit of all a resolution is brokered, soon.

MH

EDIT (4:10 BST): With only one hour left before the government arrived at closing point, John Boehner announced that a deal had been reached with the Obama administration, averting the shutdown. Close run thing folks, but we should be grateful that politicians put people before petty politics and formed a compromise.

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