Editor’s Note: This article was written on Jan. 23, and sent to print on Friday afternoon, just before the announcement that the government shutdown ended. The government has since extended their deadline to negotiate to Feb. 15.
As many of us are aware, the government has been shut down now for more than a month, making this shutdown the longest in our nation’s history. It has the media scrambling to report about the many negatives associated with the shutdown and to argue back and forth about which political party is right.
We could talk all day about who is right and wrong, but there are many details I have yet to see published about the financial aspect of this shutdown.
Why is the government shutdown to start? President Trump is asking for $5.7 billion to build his border wall, a cost many do not think is necessary, thus, we have a shutdown.
Five point seven billion dollars is a lot of money. There is plenty you could think to do with that I am sure, but what does this wall cost in relation to the rest of the proposed budget? Well, practically nothing.
The current proposed budget for 2019 is about $4.4 trillion. Basic math puts Trump’s border wall at less than 1 percent of what the whole budget requests money for.
So why has the government been shut down for more than a month over less than 1 percent of the budget?
Politics around immigration. Depending on your political party, how you were raised or where you grew up, you might possess a different opinion.
There is everything from people who want the border closed permanently and everyone who is here illegally sent home. Others believe open the borders, let anyone come and go as they please. Most people, though, lie somewhere in between those two.
If we as a nation build a wall, we make our laws more strict around immigration, putting many Democrats on the front lines fighting this budget down. Many Republicans support the building of the wall and defend Trump’s request. This is gridlock.
Don’t fear though. The government being shut down doesn’t mean the end of the world, it’s just a roadblock. Many government employees are not being paid currently, though once the government opens back up, these employees will see their paychecks.
In the meantime, if these government workers can’t afford basic necessities, churches and service organizations are providing food and aid to many. Detractors say trash is a problem, but citizens have already begun helping their communities, cleaning up what trash is there.
The big fear many have argued is a problem is that their food may not be cleaned to code. Let me rest assure you, this should be the least of your worries. Remember, businesses like money, and they know consumers, like you or I, like clean food.
The point is, while this shutdown is definitely a nuisance to many Americans, it isn’t the end of the world.
So we should sit back, relax and hope our elected officials work something out sooner or later. Do not be fooled by mainstream media making the $5.7 billion request seem enormous, remember our $22 trillion debt. Life will go on, with or without our government.