The significance of the shutdown
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 02:10
As of the time of publication of this issue, the government of the United States had been shut down for just over a week. And in that period of time, overwhelming amounts of information have been published about the shutdown – explanations, analyses, critiques, etc. – but there still seems to remain a certain confusion about what the shutdown actually means and how it affects the people of the United States.
The government shutdown essentially relates back to Congress not being able to agree upon the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (more commonly known as Obamacare) by last week’s deadline of Oct. 1. And while this is an important decision that deserves much thought and debate, the consequences of the shutdown are just as significant as the impending act.
While the government is shut down, many American citizens – including local students – seem to have lost track of all of the resulting consequences. But who can blame them? The list is extensive and exhausting. But now – while our government is shutdown – it is more important than ever to pay attention to our government’s actions, question its decisions, and react to the consequences of its decisions.
Many of the results of the shutdown likely will not directly affect students, but that should not diminish the significance of these consequences. Many government employees are working without pay and without the guarantee of being paid once the shutdown is over. National parks are closed. Federal loans are not being issued.
While those are certainly troublesome results, they may not worry all students (although they should). There are many results of the shutdown worth paying attention to, however. For one, the government is currently not issuing passports, which will affect any students applying for them to study abroad, a consequence that may not have crossed the minds of students unaware of all of the implications of the shutdown.
But beyond these issues that were briefly mentioned (and others that are too numerous to include), one of the most concerning possibilities for the country is the financial crisis that would result if the shutdown is not resolved by Oct. 17, which is reportedly when the government will reach the debt ceiling and essentially run out of money.
Not only is the U.S. worried about this possibility, but many foreign governments are concerned about how this would affect the U.S. economy. And students should be concerned as well. As young adults about to enter the job market, any other damage to the U.S. economy would only be detrimental to the job market and our emerging careers.
As Congress was facing an impending government shutdown, were the members considering every resulting consequence of their actions? One can only hope so, but it is nearly impossible for them to have considered every negative implication of their decisions – or lack of decisions. This is why it is important for all citizens of the U.S. to pay attention to how their government’s actions will affect them not only in the near future, but in the long term as well.
As the shutdown surpasses the one-week mark, it is worth questioning the government’s intentions and actions: Is being unable to decide upon the Affordable Care Act in a reasonable and timely manner worth causing the country all of these additional issues?