2013 Government Shutdown
Between first and 16th October 2013, the United States Federal government had a partial shutdown after two houses of the Congress failed to agree on a new budget (Cohen, para. 3). The House of Representatives led by the Republicans insisted that President Barrack Obama’s Obamacare reform must be delayed as a condition of passing the bill. After the Congress failed to enact the legislation that would appropriate funds for the fiscal year 2014, the Federal Government shutdown presented challenges to the economy and more than 700,000 federal employees, who faced unpaid leaves without guarantee of back pay after the deadlock was eventually broken. This shutdown comes about as the first one in seventeen years after the 1995–96 shutdown and the third longest after the 1978 18 and 21 days long government shutdowns of 1978 and 1996 respectively. It led to the eventual fall of the dollar. According to Goldman Sachs, a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm, if the government shutdown extend to a period not less than three weeks, the United States is likely to suffer a fall in the Gross Domestic Product of up to 0.9% off the current GDP.
The president later blamed the House of Representatives for the stalemate and promised to ensure that the Congress to reopen the government [and] restart vital services" (Novack, para. 2). In his letter addressed to the federal employees, the optimistic president wrote that, "This shutdown was completely preventable. It should not have happened, "And the House of Representatives can end it as soon as it follows the Senate's lead, and funds your work in the United States Government without trying to attach highly controversial and partisan measures in the process" (qtd. Mardell, para. 3). During this government shutdown, several government employees were furloughed. More than one million other were also required to work without definite payment dates. However, the government services that fall under the Anti-deficiency Act continued to operate without interruption. The Anti-deficiency Act is a United States Congress enacted legislation that aims at preventing the incurring obligations or the making of expenditure more than the amounts appropriated for them on the national budget. This act also protects the exceptions form furlough during government shutdowns.
During a government shutdown, a funding gap usually occurs thereby stopping the supply of government funds to several government sponsored services. This gap not only affects production, but also increases the unemployment rates since industries are force to furlough their employee without having to pay their salaries. Additionally, as earlier mentioned, when the issues are finally resolved, the government employees earlier furloughed face the uncertainty of their pay, whether they would be paid in areas for without the period that they were out of employment. In this 16-day long government shutdown, senators such as conservative Ted Cruz as well as other conservative special interest groups such as Heritage action pressured the Republican-led House of Representatives to resolve that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the Obamacare, should be delayed or defunded (Novack, para. 5). On the other hand, the Democratic-led Senate passed many continuing resolutions supporting the funding of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
A government shutdown should always be avoided at any possible cost because of its devastating economic effects. When a government shutdown occurs, it therefore implies that the National Bureau of Statistics would stop monitoring the job numbers, all national parks and monuments will be closed because there will be no employees to tend to them, and the small business administration will stop guaranteeing most new loans (Novack, para. 5). Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service would stop auditing and answering its calls as taxpayers continue paying for the taxes that they owe to the government despite lacking sources of these funds, and the Securities and Exchange Commission will stop reviewing registrations (Lowrey & Shear, p. 3). These are just but some of the very many impacts of the government shutdown. The ultimate sufferers in the whole process and period of the government shutdown are the public. Unless the government shutdown is very necessary and in the interest of the public, the government should always seek alternative measures solve the budget disputes.
I chose the government shutdown because it is a unique occurrence that usually takes a very long time witness in the House of Representatives if the business in the house is handled with the interest of the public instead of politics. For instance, this government shutdown comes after seventeen year, which implies that it is avoidable. With the current soaring unemployment rates in the United States coupled with relatively slow economic development, the government shutdown eventually implies that the working population could not be sure of their fate as federal employees, or of their salaries since the furloughs mostly occur without pay. The shutdown reflects to a reduced national economic development as well as reduced production. According to the president’s letter to the federal employees, it is evident that there have been stakes in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as the Obamacare with different views from the United States’ Republicans and Democrats. Nevertheless, political analysts believe that such moves are aimed garnering political support ahead of the 2014 midterm election with each political party promising the best out of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I believe that this is not be the best interest of the public who vote the officials to serve them through creating more employments as spurring economic growth.
In conclusion, the government shutdown of 2013 has brought about several disadvantages to the national government as well as the citizens of the United States. National government’s departments stop functioning because of reduced or cut off government financing would eventually lead to uncertainty in the whole economic sector. Additionally, the government shutdown deprives government employees of their income, but also fails to protect them against contributions such as insurance, retirement benefit authorities, and worse still tax paid on commodities. Following Goldman Sachs’ advice on the effect of the government shutdown in three weeks on the national Gross Domestic Product, it implies that when the deadline is eventually broken, the public would still be responsible for financing the fall in the GDP as they reestablish their lives. I would propose that, whenever a stalemate looms in the House of Representatives, instead of a government shutdown, the representatives should put aside their political differences and give priority to public interest. Moreover, considering the availability of political analysts, I believe that Americans are keen to choose the best leaders they strongly believe would deliver the best of their interest, and not selfish politicians.
Mardell, Mark. “US begins government shutdown as budget deadline passes.” BBC News. Web 1 October 2013
Novack, Janet. “Federal Government Begins First Shutdown In 17 Years.” Forbes. Web 30 September, 2013.
Cohen, Andrew. “The Odd Story of the Law That Dictates How Government Shutdowns Work.” The Atlantic. Web September 28 2013
Lowrey, Annie and Shear D. Michael. “Shutdown to Cost U.S. Billions, Analysts Say, While Eroding Confidence.” The New York Times. Web October 18, 2013