A government shutdown is a bargaining chip that is devastating to innocent Americans caught in the power play. With 420,000 essential government personnel still required to work without pay, many do not have the funds to pay for child care or even gas to get to work.
Transportation Security Administration employees are starting to call out, affecting millions of traveling passengers, while 380,000 additional government workers are furloughed with no guarantee of back pay. Thousands of other Americans work for government contractors doing security, cleaning and food service and are out of luck. They will never receive payment for the weeks the government is holding their jobs hostage.
Yet our president is repeatedly stating, without factual backing, that “most” workers support his refusal to sign a spending bill, even though he has said he is willing to hold out for months or years. He suggested that landlords and mortgage companies could (illegally) barter or give breaks on rent payments.
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., even questioned workers’ hardship, “Who’s living that they’re not going to make it to the next paycheck?” despite studies that show 80 percent of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Our elitist politicians have lost touch with the reality of the average American’s life.
If the shutdown drags on, the effects will spread. Several people have already died in national parks that are open but not patroled. Food assistance to the poor (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) will soon lose funding. Small businesses that are normally supported by tourism, government workers and SNAP recipients will suffer. We all eventually will suffer since the IRS will not be processing anyone’s tax refund checks.
I do not advocate for open borders, and I agree that we need border security and screening. But devastating our country for a pet project that has been hyped to protect us from the exaggerated and demonized hordes at the gates, yet can be overcome with a rope ladder or shovel-dug tunnel, is grandstanding at its devastating worst. The grandiose campaign promise was a big, beautiful wall that would be paid by Mexico, not by the livelihoods of a million Americans.
Kathleen Strykowsky is a resident of Mount Laurel.
This article provided by NewsEdge.