I was prepared to write a piece recapping the 2018 political map and 2019 political expectations, however as 2018 was coming to an end, our government was partially shut down on December 22nd. A shutdown just a few days before Christmas and during a time that should be filled with joy and peace.
I never imagined that we would be on day 31 as I write this of the government shutdown due to a border wall.
The development of the border wall was passed by Congress under the Secure Fence Act of 2006, to erect a wire fence along the southern border of the country — separating this country from Mexico.
This act was amended in 2008 to propose that the fence did not need a double-layer reinforcement.
Currently, 702 miles of fencing separates the United States from Mexico, so what exactly is President Trump’s issue? The answer quite frankly is structure and semantics.
President Trump would like a concrete wall erected since he feels that the current structure of a wire fence is “modest and weak.”
So, here we are; our government is being held hostage over a wall. It’s not about health care when we had a 17-day shutdown under President Barack Obama; this is all about a wall.
This shutdown is now the longest shutdown in American history. As this goes on, I have come to some observations that we must address with our government.
For one, our citizens are living from paycheck to paycheck. There are 800,000 federal employees, who are barely holding on to their houses, keeping the water and lights on, and are subjected to getting on the line for free food and groceries.
I am looking at this and am disturbed by the fact that this shutdown, in my opinion, has exposed serious cracks in the benefits for federal employees.
What type of savings plans are in place for federal employees to consider as a benefit? How come there isn’t a proper shutdown process in place to protect federal employees?
To say as a federal employee that you are furloughed or must work without pay is ridiculous.
Why isn’t there a tiered payment system, or pay percentage to be given to federal employees in place during a shutdown? Compare my thoughts to being on disability. These are questions that should be asked and considered.
There is a cause and effect for everything. The government shutdown isn’t immune to this.
Businesses are also being affected by our current shutdown. For example, daycare facilities that rely on federal subsidies for child care and food assistance for financially-strapped parents cannot operate with a full-time child care staff.
As such, children are not attending daycare full time.
If you are a small business, you currently cannot get a federal loan, “SORRY, THE GOVERNMENT IS CLOSED.”
Economically, we all must look at this shutdown and be vigilant at the fact that this affects our money.
As this shutdown continues, confidence among high and low earners is beginning to wane on our economy which can result in a decrease in consumer spending.
We are seeing decreased consumer spending now by not paying federal employees nor having them participate in the economy as a consumer.
If this shutdown continues through the first quarter of 2019, it could push the Gross Domestic Product — a measure of market value of all the final goods and services produced in a period of time — to ZERO and could cut economic growth by 1 percentage point.
The government shutdown will not be the main reason if we experience a recession, but it will be a factor.
These are my observations and I know that I am not alone with them. The government shutdown is a clear example as to why we must be civically engaged.
Yes, voting in all level of elections plays its part here.
We should all be watching as to how our legislative representatives are handling this situation.
Are they for their constituents or their party?
The shutdown, I would also hope, has us all assessing our finances and what will we do to strengthen our personal financial health and wealth during times like these.