The SAGA to MAGA-The Shutdown Continues

 

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January 25th marks the 35th day the federal government has been “shut down.” The reasons behind the shutdown and why it happened in the first place –The SAGA to MAGA.

This is the longest government shutdown in history, aside from the 1995 shutdown of 21 days.  The effects of a government shutdown are immediate, but as more and more time passes, the effects are more and more noticeable to all Americans, not just federal employees missing their paychecks.

As if putting any working American in a position of involuntary servitude is not bad enough (800,000 being effected) a slew of government agencies and programs have had to scale back employees or close up shop due to the shutdown.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stopped most of its operations, affecting all forms of broadcasting. The Securities and Exchange Commission is currently running on a skeleton crew.  This affects the stock market, which is a major part of our economy.  Investigations into securities violations are being impeded due to short staffing, leaving the door open for predatory practices.

The Environmental Protection Agency, who is tasked with governing the air we breath, is only open to address major health threats and disasters.  The Department of Agriculture has had to close agencies across the country tasked with helping America’s farmers at the county level. America’s farmers are already feeling squeezed due to Chinese tariffs. There are many other government agencies that have had to scale back workers or close due to the shutdown.  Also, many museums and federally funded art galleries have had to close-including the Smithsonian.

Airports around the country have had to limit service due to TSA workers opting out of working for free. If the shutdown continues, Federal Courts may lose funding and will have to postpone adjudication of part of their caseload.  Immigration hearings have been cancelled in mass since the shutdown began-upwards of 42,000.

A government without funding, cannot continue to function. 38 million people are looking at losing food stamps if the shutdown continues into February. Many rental assistance programs expire in February-over 2 million low-income families will cease to get rental assistance for March and beyond. WIC, a federally funded food assistance program, is only funded through January-affecting as many as 7 million low-income pregnant women if the shutdown continues.

Until the federal government agrees on a budget, the situation will continue to worsen. Shutdowns often cost the government heavily-not just in closing agencies and services. The 16 day shutdown of 2013 cost the federal government over $2 billion in lowered gross domestic product (GDP) and less productivity. Not to mention, lowered confidence by Americans in the federal government is often a direct result of shutdowns- less spending and investments.

The shutdown would have to continue to September to have more severe effects, as many government agencies are funded until then, but let’s hope Congress can agree before it gets even close to that benchmark.

Coming through on an outrageous campaign promise seems way more important to MAGA followers than millions’ ability to eat and have a place to sleep. President Trump has promised to make sure we all get our tax refunds even without a funded government- so there’s that. Too bad the IRS isn’t going to be staffed well enough to be able to field consumer questions or issues.

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