The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

The Student Newspaper of DePaul University

The DePaulia

Column: Our government should not be shutting down

Carly Witt

The government didn’t shut down. But what does that mean, and why is it so important? 

I don’t know if it’s just me, but when I heard the government would shut down, my first thought was, what does that mean for my daily life? The 2019 government shutdown was the longest recorded in history, and occurred because Congress and President Donald Trump could not agree on funding bills for the fiscal year. Our country’s government is always evolving and news about a possible shutdown spread quickly. 

Although the impending shutdown did not happen, many people feared for the survival of their local businesses as they prepared for the worst. Some employees were concerned they would lose their jobs as well. Employees should not have to worry that one day, the government will shut down and they will be furloughed or out of a job.

When a shutdown occurs, each government department has its own procedures and plans for what will happen during the shutdown to its employees. Those plans say who is essential, who would work without pay, and what activities come to a stop. Those plans are basically in place as guidance. History has shown that there will be government shutdowns in the future. The House and Senate are typically always split, causing these shutdowns to happen more often. People should be prepared for them, even though it is an awful thing to imagine for most families. Households with government employees will be living without pay and forced to make ends meet in other ways. Small business owners who need funding will not be able to receive it, halting their business and interrupting their daily life. 

This trickles down and affects local government workers and small businesses. The bottom line is people are not going to receive paychecks, they are going to be out of work and even temporarily, that can damage people’s financial well-being. 

There have been 10 government shutdowns in our country’s history, the first one in 1980, which only lasted one day. The longest shutdown in 2019 lasted 35 days, from Dec. 22 to Jan. 25. Each time, the House and Senate were split between Democrats and Republicans. The shortest were in 1984 and 1986, which each lasted four hours. 

Shutdowns have an impact on more people than government employees, such as those wishing to renew their passports. It can also delay infrastructure projects, like improving highways and modernizing utilities in rural communities. The military suffers a substantial amount, with personnel still working, but without pay. 

Shutdowns also impact small-business owners. The U.S. Small Business Association will not accept or review any new business loans for small businesses, and air traffic controllers and TSA workers will work without pay, which can also lead to delays at airports. 

The closure of national parks is another disturbance when the government shuts down. During the 2018-19 shutdown, former President Donald Trump decided to keep some parks open, but this ultimately wasn’t good. The parks also lose a substantial amount of money during shutdowns. During the 16-day shutdown in Oct. 2013, the national parks lost $414 million in revenue and reported 7.88 million fewer visitors, wrote Andrea Sachs and Sofia Andrade for the Washington Post

When the government shuts down, it affects people of all economic classes, including military personnel.  The government needs to realize that when they don’t compromise and agree, working class families suffer. They are suddenly not getting paid, without much time to prepare. Families who own small businesses won’t be able to get additional loans and funding, which could be detrimental to that family’s income if the shutdowns last for a while. If these happened more frequently, it could cause households to be homeless or seeking another government function to help them get by, the same government that caused them to be in that spot. No one wins, and our government should be able to function without shutting down. It was unclear how long the predicted October shutdown would have lasted, but many assumed it was going to last longer because of how divided the House and Senate is. 

Our government needs to realize that while a shutdown may seem insignificant to them, it has a much larger impact on the public and the working class. 

More to Discover