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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Government Has Shut Down Like My Laptop When I Leave it Off the Charger for Three Seconds

So, as you are all probably aware, the government shut down at midnight. This means that all "nonessential" things funded solely by the federal government have stopped for the time being. The term "nonessential" is pretty subjective since what's nonessential for the government is pretty damn essential for some other people. Here's a decent comprehensive list of what is and is not being funded at the current time.

This whole government shutdown thing is pretty complicated. It is even further complicated by the fact that a lot of articles are more focused on whose fault it is then what is happening and what's affected and how to fix it. I'm not even going to pretend I understand even most of what's going on. You want to talk about social issues? I am so there with ALL the opinions. As far as fiscal issues go, however, I feel like I don't know enough to have very strong opinions or really even understand what's happening since I'm one of those hippies who feels like people are more important than money.

Accurate representation of me regarding fiscal issues
But in light of recent events, I feel like I should try understanding the fiscal stuff a bit more, especially since those fiscal issues often cause social issues. Like now. So, this post is going to be a lot of me sorting my thoughts out by writing about them because that's how my brain works. It may or may not be a load of crap.

So, how did this shutdown even happen? What I've gathered from what I've read thus far is that a small group of Republicans wanted so badly not to pay for Obamacare that they decided to fillibuster the crap out of budget negotiations. Democrats were all, "Sorry, this is happening whether you like it or not," and did not compromise with their demands. Therefore, no budget got passed, which means no one knows how much money is supposed to go to which programs. Thus, shutdown.

Now quite a few government programs are left with no or limited funding. There are a ton of things that could be brought up regarding that, but I'm going to focus on the two I find most important. My reasoning behind this has a lot to do with the fact that these two issues swing back into Social Issue Land where I feel comfortable.

I Googled "comfortable gif" and this is what I found so we're going with it.
The first issue is that this shutdown leaves a whole bunch of people without income until the government gets its shit together. By "a whole bunch", I mean ballpark 800,000 government employees. Since the government isn't giving some programs money, those programs can't pay their employees, so those employees are on unpaid leave.

The longest government shutdown the United States has had since 1976 lasted 21 days. That's a lot of days without income, and it seems pretty shitty to make people dip into their hard-earned savings to support themselves because some rich dudes couldn't make a compromise on time. Especially since those rich dudes are still getting paid.

The second issue is that some of the "nonessential" programs getting cut off are actually really essential since they provide people with things like food and other vaguely important things.

An example of such a program is the Women, Infants and Children program. It helps women who are expecting or are new mothers get healthy food and health information for themselves and their children. Without money from the federal government, the program won't be able to hold out for very long. According to the USDA, most of the programs like Women, Infants and Children will be able to stay active for about a week in most states. That's it. After that, they go bye-bye until a budget is passed.

In conclusion, it would probably be in everyone's best interest if the government passed a budget as soon as possible. If I got any of my facts wrong in this blog post, please feel free to call me out on it. This is uncharted territory for me.

Here's Sara Bareilles's video for "Uncharted" for your listening and viewing pleasure. Hopefully it will make you feel better about this whole situation (or at least distract you for a few minutes).