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Government shutdown a good fat-cutting start

What does it mean for our government to shut down, and how does it affect you?

Earlier this month the government partially shut down because Congress and the Senate couldn’t agree on a continuing resolution that would fund our government. In our Federal government, Congress has the power of the purse. In other words, they can choose what to fund and what not to.

The Republicans in the House of Representatives pushed through a continuing resolution that funded the entire government except for the Affordable Care Act, the President’s signature healthcare law. The continuing resolution was then sent to the Democrat-controlled Senate and did not pass. Because the two houses could not agree on what type of gas to put into the tank, the car has come to a slow roll.

This is not to say that the entire government is not functioning. The politicians are still getting paid and all the other “essential personnel,” such as air traffic controllers and border patrol agents, are too. In fact, the government is still paying out Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the prisons are still housing our criminals, we citizens will continue to pay taxes, the Food and Drug Administration will continue its federal meat inspections, and so on.

With our nation in a $17 trillion debt, isn’t it time to start cutting some of the fat that is the Federal government?

“But James, those are people losing their jobs and they have families to feed. How can you propose such a cruel suggestion?” you might say.

Last semester the Socratic Segment went into depth on the disparity seen in the unemployment rates between the public sector and all other private industries. While the national unemployment hovers around eight percent, the unemployment rate for public sector workers is less than five percent. It seems that the recession has hit every industry except the taxpayer-funded Federal government.

I believe that the government shutdown is a good start but not for the reasons the Republicans are touting. The majority party in the House of Representatives is holding a law (that has been legitimately adopted) hostage, and the American people deserve to experience that law, for better or worse. And while the Republicans call the Affordable Care Act a train wreck, the train must first leave the station to determine the truth of that statement.

I will be the first to suggest cutting back permanently on the number of federal workers around the nation. We must first be fair to the taxpayers, and them being on the hook for $92 trillion in unfunded liabilities is not fair in the least. Sure, families will be affected if we start laying off federal workers, but isn’t that life? What about the workers in a company that is going bankrupt? Yes, people lose their jobs and that is awful, but we cannot allow emotional arguments to run the largest employer on the earth, the United States Federal government.

James is a sophomore majoring in political science. He enjoys bike rides and Florida sunsets

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