In a split congress, our government tends to bicker among minor issues, which leads to turmoil among the nation. With a deadline for the 2014 fiscal year budget, our congress couldn’t agree on the amount of money being funded to Obamacare and the Medical Device Tax. Republicans fought for cutting of Obamacare funding, while the Democrats opposed and eventually won out. As October 1st approached, Republicans made a proposed budget that cut the funds for Obamacare that would cripple it as a government program. When the Democrats rejected the proposed budget, our government went into a partial shutdown, which lasted until the 17th of October. The Continuing Appropriations Act 2014 has allowed us to keep our current spending levels until January 15th and the debt ceiling will be extended to February 7th. Republicans made a feeble attempt of scaring the Democrats into doing what they wanted, which in turn, back fired and caused a negative press toward the Republicans (McCullough). Tourists and travelers worldwide have also become angry over the shutdown and US citizens are seeing the affect our shut down is having on countries all over the world, such as France, Germany, and England.
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This government shutdown is going to lead to many economic issues such as lost jobs, a weakened economy, and Obamacare funding, which could weaken large businesses. When the government shutdown, 800,000 non-exempt government employees were furloughed and loss there income for over two weeks. Once these non-exempt employees returned to work, they were paid for their lost wages, which is another hit on government spending. The White House projected that a one week government shutdown would cost the U.S. economy 10 billion dollars (Stein). As of October 22nd, the economy has lost 24 billion dollars and more than 3 billion dollars in lost government services. Large businesses also took a huge hit with the shutdown because they had to furlough employees and U.S transportation systems weren’t running so certain goods were not delivered on time.
When the temporary budget was passed, it funded Obamacare, which requires large businesses to provide health insurance in 2015 and that is another financial impact that could decrease the pay for the low-income workers in larger businesses (Walshe). With 24 billion less dollars in the economy, it will now be difficult for international stocks as well as revenue for large businesses to make the expected profit gains. Pamela Sampson of Yahoo News, released an article with the title: “Global Stocks jittery after US Government shutdown”, where she discusses how the British, French, German, and U.S stocks plummeted after the shutdown. Asian stocks rose partially after a public holiday, but international trade nearly halted (Sampson).
United States’ foreign policy will also be widely effected by the government shutdown because outside countries may lose trust in our abilities to pay back our debts. Necessary deals with Syria about possible bombings and the European Union about the Transatlantic Free Trade Area were suddenly stopped. The Transpacific Strategic Economic Partnership was not able to be discussed at the Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting because President Obama couldn’t attend, which would have helped end Chinese influence on our country (Sampson).
The public opinion of US citizens and travelers from overseas are always important because it earns credibility to the administration which is running the country at any given time. Polls from CNN and Fox News (one democratic-biased and one republican-biased website) showed that Republicans were to blame for the government shutdown, which may affect voters in the 2016 election. A Gallup Poll also showed an 11% approval rate of the congressional branch of the government, which was at an all-time low (MSN). Tourists from all over the world were up in arms about the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, being shut down due to the government shutdown. Luckily, the state of New York made a deal with the national government in which they would absorb the bill to open the Statue of Liberty. Every National State Park was also closed after the shutdown, which decreased the tourist industry. In return, a decrease in tourist around our national parks, leads to a decrease in profit for businesses close in proximity to national parks. Jim Geraghty, a columnist for the National Review Online, stated: “Harry Reid doesn’t want to minimize the pain of the shutdown. He wants to maximize it.” As you can see, the media is not behind congress and they have lost any support they once had due to this government shutdown (Taylor).
Shutting down our government doesn’t just hurt the economy, trading, foreign deals, and public opinion, it also creates a bigger rift between the Democratic dominated Senate, the Republican dominated House, and the Presidential Administration. The Continuing Appropriations Act 2014, or the deal which ended the shutdown, will buy congress until February 7th, but the rift between the house and senate may cause us to shut down again after this date. John Chambers said, “We think that we’ll be back here in January debating the same issues” and it seems as if Obama agrees. Obama told reporters, “Hopefully, next time, it will not be in the 11th hour”, which seems to show his lack of support for our congress (Taylor). Government jobs were furloughed, worldwide stocks and economies dropped, foreign policy and trade halted, and a loss of tourism and US support; all due to Republicans not being able to deal with Obamacare, which they passed in 2010. Although we extended the time allowed for the debt ceiling and the spending levels, we have once again ran around the real issue and found a cop out (McCullough). With a loss in global revenue, our stock, as well as, international stocks dropped tremendously and are still recovering. Trade amongst international countries and the United States has been minimized because foreign countries aren’t sure if they will get paid back the money that the United States has borrowed.
Not only did National Parks close, but some of the biggest world monuments were shut down and tourists from all over the world were enraged by the amount of money they paid to see the monuments in the United States (Walshe). Public opinion on the United States, the Republican Party, and Congress have diminished because citizens and outside foreign leaders are losing trust (Sampson). Economic struggle, crippled foreign policy, and a loss of support will only lead to the further struggle of our country and eventually lead into another government shutdown in 2014. With a 2016 election approaching in 3 years, this government shut down proved to a lot of people how destroyed our congress has become; and polls showing how Republicans should be blamed have now made it even easier than it already was for a Democratic Administration to be brought into power in this upcoming election. Foreign trade issues, nuclear weapons in foreign countries, and international stocks decreasing, may lead to either another war or losing support and allies in other parts of the world (Taylor). Now, we must wait to see if our congress can pull together their differences and create a deal that will stop the fighting amongst parties and lead us in a forward direction as a complete country.
McCullough, Ian. Forbes. 03 10 2013. 18 10 2013.
MSN. 22 10 2013. 22 10 2013.
Sampson, Pamela. Yahoo News. 02 10 2013. 20 10 2013.
Stein, Sam. Huffington Post. 07 10 2013. 19 10 2013.
Taylor, Andrew. The Northwestern. 10 2013. 20 10 2013.
Walshe, Shushannah. ABC News. 17 10 2013. 20 10 2013.