With the federal government shut down in the United States, many people are uncertain if it will have any effect on their personal lives. For some, their daily routines, so far, will carry on as usual. For others, it is a lack of services or conveniences that might not be available. For those who are already struggling, basic necessities may not be met.
For American parents who rely on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), there is concern that there will not be enough money to meet one of life’s basic necessities, providing food for their children. The program supports women who are pregnant through vouchers for foods that are healthy for the development of the unborn child. Once the baby’s birth occurs, the vouchers are initially for infant formula, and later for specific nutritious food like 100% juice products, healthy cereals, and cheese.
When faced with having to pay for infant formula, some families cannot afford the expense. Sometimes they use cow’s milk, milk mixed with water, water, or juice since they are all less expensive options. None of these alternatives are suggested by pediatricians and have been proven to deter from a baby’s healthy growth and development. One of the reasons that the WIC program was established is because some of the vouchers are specifically for the exact formulas that the babies’ doctors want them to consume, ensuring that they are getting the best possible nutrition.
Other vouchers from the WIC program are for toddlers and young children and are also specific about what foods can be purchased. Recipients are allowed to receive a certain amount of healthy choices such as 100% juice products, cheese, milk, eggs, peanut butter, and specific cereals each month. Often, these are more expensive options and with the vouchers the children are eating healthier, more satisfying diets. Without the subsidies, many parents may be forced to select items that are less healthy, such as juice that is full of artificial flavors and sugar, cereals that are not fortified with nutrients, and less dairy products.
In an idyllic world, no family would need to choose between gas for the car to get to work or formula for their infant. Karl Marx believed that such a world could exist, where all people would essentially be equals. With such a society, people would have all of their basic needs met. There would be no need to make difficult choices such as food for the adults, formula for the infants, or paying the electric bill. These essentials would be covered for everyone because everyone in society would be contributing to the benefit of society as best as they were able to do .
Dussel’s theory can be loosely compared to the works of Karl Marx. Dussel is interested in protecting the rights of all people. He believes that this can be done through radical politics. He believes that it is necessary to fight the current oppressive form of government in order for the protection of all peoples’ rights to be achieved. As Dussel stated, “to overthrow all conditions in which man is a debased, forsaken, contemptible being” .
If this were so, the current government would be overthrown because of this shutdown that we are enduring in today’s society. Dussel, and Marx, would argue that there would be a coo if enough people were negatively affected for a long enough period of time. Perhaps that is what it takes in this country to fuel change – everyone being pinched in the wallet.
Despite the inconveniences such as museums being shut down and national parks being closed, the main news of the occurrence of the shut-down of the federal government is surrounded by money. It is the central topic of who and what is affected. Is this a sign of what is most important in this country? Were Dussel and Marx right? We are focused primarily on money and everything else is secondary.
The wide expanse of the WIC program and the arguments of how it is run is a matter that has been highlighted by the shutdown. Many people were ignorant to the fact that some of the benefactors work full-time. Many have children whose fathers’ names are on the birth certificates but are paying no support. Why doesn’t the government garnish the fathers’ wages so the mother can provide for the child that they created together? Why is the government paying for the financial responsibilities of the absent parent?
Also, many families are receiving food stamps, WIC, free lunches at school, free health care, subsidized or free daycare, section 8 housing, and then at tax time qualify for special refunds. In the end, some minimum wage workers are earning more through their wages and entitlements than those who are earning twice as much pay. Should there be some type of system to help those who are earning just too much to qualify for services and therefore live a lower quality of life than the families that are receiving entitlements? Why are some of the poorest families living a better life? Is there not a way to help those who are living over the poverty line live as good a life and struggling to do so without government support?
The federal government shut-down has made the national emphasis clear. It is money that runs this nation. Those that have money, those that do not, and those in between are only a part of the story. Sadly, money is the main focus and priority of the nation.
Hargreaves, Steve. CNN Money News. 2 October 2013. Web. 2 October 2013.
n.a. Sociology Guide. n.d. Web. 2 October 2013.
Simmons, William Paul. The Post-Levinasian Heteronomic (Political) Philosophy of Enrique Dussel. Master's Assignment. Phoenix, AZ: Arizona State University Press, 2013. Document.