Thirty-five days of shutdown accomplished nothing
Thirty-five days; 840 hours; 50,400 minutes; 3,024,000 seconds. These numbers all represent the duration of the longest government shutdown in American history. On Dec 22, 2018 the US government effectively became closed for business as a result of President Donald Trump refusing to sign a short-term spending bill, which would have funded the government until Feb 8, 2019.
His decision affected some 800 thousand federal works. This number, while vast, doesn’t account for the countless family members (children, wives, husbands, elderly relatives) that count on these federal salaries for support, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck; which, according to CNBC is a reality for “seventy-eight percent of full-time workers…”
His refusal comes down to one reason and one reason only: the border wall.
At the start of Trump’s campaign he made a pledge to his supporters that he would build a “beautiful” border wall between Mexico and the United States. Of course, in the early days of its conception, by Trump, he stated, that “the wall will be paid for, directly or indirectly, or through longer term reimbursement, by Mexico…”, but as of today this hasn’t come to fruition nor is it ever likely to. The belief that one government can force another government to pony up money for an odious endeavor is fooling themselves. Trump must realize this. Otherwise, why would he have taken this situation so far? Why would he have facilitated, under his admiration, one of the most impactful and significant derelictions of duty towards those who depend on our government?
Regardless of your politics there is no way of denying that the shutdown has accomplished nothing positive or anything of significance, to move our country forward. It has only created headaches in all forms possible. It has caused negative impacts at the federal and local levels, as well as economically. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), “…the shutdown dampened economic activity mainly because of the loss of furloughed federal workers’ contribution to GDP (Gross Domestic Product), the delay in federal spending on goods and services, and the reduction in aggregate demand (which thereby dampened private-sector activity).” The CBO also estimates that economic activity was reduced by $3 billion and will decrease the real GDP by 0.02 percent for the full year of 2019.
On January 25, Trump signed a bill to reopen the government, but only for three weeks. This will allow for normal operations of federal agencies to continue until February 15. The reopening of the government has allowed for federal works to receive back pay they have missed throughout this ordeal; what it has not allowed for is funding for the wall. During the three-week time frame negotiations are expected to continue in relation to security and funding of the Southern border.
During Trump’s speech in the White House Rose Garden, after the announcement of the agreement to reopen the government, he stated if no agreement for funding of the wall can be reached he would be “…ready to renew the confrontation or declare a national emergency to bypass Congress altogether.” The truth is there is a strong possibility that this will happen again and lives will be turned upside down, once again. This is a folly and intolerable.
During the first two years of the Trump administration Republicans controlled both the House and Senate and even then Trump failed to obtain the funding he wanted. It is inconceivable for Trump and his admiration to believe that they will be able to get any form of funding for the wall that will be able to get through the Democrat-controlled House.
According to Politico, the “senate Republicans can’t stomach another shutdown” and nor can our federal workers or the American people. At all cost another shutdown must be avoided; but in the end we are the ones on the outside looking in and must hope that those we have elected to serve us do what is right both domestically and internationally. For now, as a people, we can only sit and watch the timer tick down to uncertainty.