Washington Avoids Shutdown, Not Anger

by Ashley Carter
Columnist

It seems like the federal budget is all that anyone talks about lately. All major news channels and newspapers have kept up a running commentary on the possibility of budget disasters. What funds will be cut? Will the economy fall back into a recession if we cut too much? Or do we need to cut more in order to save ourselves from our deficit? Is a government shutdown inevitable?

Thankfully, a government shutdown has been avoided once again — by only a few hours, the closest call that we’ve had thus far. A budget measure was passed on Friday night that will fund the government until April 15. And, finally, it seems that Congress has come to an agreement on a budget for the rest of the fiscal year.
At this point, government shutdown would be absolutely devastating to the nation’s economy. The federal government employs hundreds of thousands of workers, as well as the armed forces, but that is hardly all it does. The government also manages all of the national parks and landmarks, as well as many websites and databases used every day by the people of the United States.

In the event of a government shutdown, parks and monuments would close, websites and databases would be shut down temporarily, and federal workers and members of the armed forces would go without paychecks. It would cost the government millions of dollars to shut these jobs down and set them back up again. Needless to say, this was not the best choice for those looking to stay in their elected offices.

Of course, not everyone is happy with the agreement made on Friday. Democrats and Republicans alike are angry with their party leaders for compromising on budget cuts, and the public is angry with politicians in general for letting the situation get as bad as it did.

In the end, the agreement will cut $38 billion from the federal budget for the year. Republicans argue that these cuts will not do nearly enough to affect the federal deficit. Democrats argue that any further cuts would negatively affect the U.S. economy, which has still not recovered from the recession.

Personally, I count myself among the angry public. As happy as I am that there will be no government shutdown, I’m just as irritated that it was threatened in the first place. It is completely unacceptable for one party to expect to get everything it wants — this is a bipartisan government, after all. Unfortunately, I have the feeling that this is only the first of many monetary battles to come.

In the end, we should celebrate that fact that our government managed to come to any agreement at all in such a party-divided atmosphere. While we don’t know what Congress will move to do next, we can take comfort in the fact that it will not end in a government shutdown.

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