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EDITORIAL Politics with Riley: Government Shutdown

Riley Flint, EMC Political Analyst

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The headline that has been shaking up politics this past week has been the government shutdown. While only lasting less than two days, the federal government shutdown is symbolic of a changing American democracy. Students of Galway, NY might be wondering how this affects them. And in all reality it does. What legislation Congress does or doesn’t enact in the next session will have a profound impact on your lives and, for those who can vote, which US party will remain in power.

The federal government shutdown of 2018, in my opinion, was an entire waste of time. In many cases a federal shutdown forces both sides of the aisle to compromise on a certain issue. A federal government shutdown is caused when Congress does not pass a spending bill by a certain time. If a permanent spending bill is not agreed upon by this time, a Continuing Resolution   (or a current budget extension for 3-4 weeks) is passed. If neither a CR or the Budget is passed, the federal government undergoes a spending gap and some of its services are halted.

Contrary to the excitement of the news outlets, the shutdown is more of an inconvenience than a detriment. Highly influential government officials and the military still go to work, the post office is open, and citizens are allowed to cash their Social Security checks. Government officials and members of the US military are not allowed, however, to cash paychecks or be paid until after the shutdown ceases. The shutdown is basically a paid vacation.

With a spending gap, it is much more difficult to govern. Historically shutdowns prompt both sides of the political  spectrum to compromise. In 1995, the shutdown led to a balanced budget and considerable economic growth. But personally, I believe that government shutdowns are unnecessary and over-hyped. I believe that if Congress has not passed a budget by the deadline that Congress should pass a Continuing Resolution until a compromise is reached.

This particular shutdown seemed to be a political ploy. With the Democrats wanting a permanent solution for illegal immigration, and the GOP wanting border security and the end of chain migration, a compromise would seem fitting. But factions eager to blame a shutdown on the President shutdown the government  and avoid compromise in order to  obstruct for political means, ultimately making us seem politically weak internationally. Although the government shutdown is over, students of Galway should pay attention to the decisions being made by their representatives. This shutdown shows that reason and compromise are not characteristic of politics in 2018. Obstruction and partisan affiliations divide our nation and have disastrous effects on the average Americans’ confidence in their government.

To get a better perspective on the shutdown I reached out to administrators and staff to hear their opinions on the government shutdown and its political effects:

 

Mr. Shine:

1). Who do you think should be responsible for the government shutdown?

​The House and the Senate are jointly responsible for the government shutdown. The party in power shifts and we have had “shutdowns” before. Both parties and both the House and the Senate are jointly responsible for any and all government shutdowns.

​2). Was the government shutdown for a good reason? And what was that?

​No, this was clearly a partisan politically motivated agenda driven event, and this on both sides.

​3). What does the government shutdown mean for the 2018 midterms and the future of American politics?

​This remains to be seen. Liberals would have you think that it spells the end of the Republican majority, and conservatives would have you believe it is the very thing which will allow them to remain in the majority.  It is doubtful if either party is correct regarding this as there are other factors which will also have an effect on voters such as health care, the economy, tax reform and an abusively biased news media.

4). And how do you think the shutdown will or has effect the Galway student community?

Other than serving as a talking point for debate and conversation, I don’t believe this has had any significant impact on the Galway student community.​

 

Mr. Jacaruso:

  1. Who do you think should be responsible for the government shutdown?

It is the responsibility of Congress to maintain funding for the Federal Government. Since the House passed a spending extension, and the Senate did not, you could argue that the Senate is responsible for the shutdown.

2)  Was the government shutdown for a good reason? And what was that?

The only time the government should shutdown is when Congress cannot agree to a budget. Other items, whether they are social issues or immigration, for example, should not be included in a budget negotiation.

3) What does the government shutdown mean for the 2018 midterms and the future of American politics?

The American political environment moves pretty quickly from one issue to the next. The shutdown will probably be long forgotten by the midterms.

4) And how do you think the shutdown will or has effect the Galway student community?

The shutdown will probably have no effect on the Galway community because the shutdown was only 3 days and 2 of those days were over a weekend.

 

Ms. O’Brien-Yetto

1). Who do you think should be responsible for the government shutdown?

I think both parties are responsible for the government shutdown.

2). Was the government shutdown for a good reason? And what was that?

To my understanding (and I am not as current on the news as I should be due to my baby!), this was set up as a way to address the issue of the Dreamers. I think the issue of the Dreamers is important. I’m not sure I think this was the only way to address that issue. Also, it’s not much of a promise for the Democrats to go on, either, so it seems like a lot for a little.

3). What does the government shutdown mean for the 2018 midterms and the future of American politics?

Perhaps I am cynical, but I don’t think it means much. It seems like many people feel disenfranchised when it comes to American politics and don’t connect with it. Also, we seem to have short memories. There will probably be some new incident that will engage people’s attention.

4). And how do you think the shutdown will or has effect the Galway student community?

I don’t think it has had any effect on our student population.

 

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below!

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