The Government Shutdown’s Effects on Economy

Elena Naze, Chief Editor

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A now record government shutdown is under way with 800,000 workers without pay, thousands of which are still doing their jobs without pay.

As of January 18th, the government has been shut down for 28 days due to debates over President Trump’s border wall. It broke records on January 12th after surpassing the longest shutdown in American history, previously held by the Clinton administration after being shut down for 21 days over budget debates on medicare.

Thousands of government employees missed their paychecks, including border security agents. Also missing out on their checks is the Coast Guard, which marks the first time in history a branch of the armed forces is not getting paid. In addition much of the Coast Guard’s job is border patrol.

In addition to unpaid workers, many reputable news sources have reported that national parks and museums are also closed.  TSA agents are calling out sick as a form of protest, and food inspections, water treatment, and oil refineries have stopped operating.  

Also affected by the shutdown is financial aid. If students, specifically high school students planning to attend college in the fall 2019 semester, are just sitting down to submit the FAFSA, they might not get their decisions for a while. While people can still submit, there is a backlog of people waiting. In addition, the shutdown might also affect the amount of money people receive from financial aid due to the lack of people working during the shutdown.

But what does a partial shutdown even mean? Is it good? The short answer is, no, not really. While it may seem good that the government is shut down to figure out their budget, it’s worse in the long run. Despite the fact that workers aren’t getting paid and tax dollars aren’t being spent, a shutdown government actually loses money.

All the workers who have gone almost a month without pay will, at some point, receive their paychecks. President Trump himself even said, “They’re all going to get the money and I think they’re going to be very happy.” It doesn’t matter if the employees did the work or not, they are still supposed to receive back pay, meaning the government is paying people for work that did not get done (mostly due to the fact that many were not allowed to work during the shutdown.)

Furthermore, if basic economics are anything to go by, the economy might very well take a hit. People with money buy things. If 800,000 workers aren’t getting paid then consumer spending starts to wither. While 800,000 people not going out to restaurants or visiting their local mall might not affect the economy, hundreds of thousands of contractors not getting pay, and not receiving any back pay, might. If people don’t buy goods, investors don’t buy stock.

Plus, the contractors are jobs like janitors, security guards, cafeteria workers, so for them to lose out on a paycheck with no back pay affects them greatly.

The size of the shutdown has been overlooked. Almost every agency except military has essentially stopped and are either not working or working for free. As the country heads into another, potential week, of the shutdown, it is important to keep updated on what is affected and continue to monitor the status of the shutdown. And continue to look at the Chieftain Press for more articles about the government.

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