We are now in the midst of the longest shutdown in US history. The administration is trying to diminish the public impact and contain political fallout by recently directing various agencies to remain open. This includes but is not limited to processing tax refunds, opening up national parks and providing documents for mortgage processing. These agencies had been shuttered during the first two weeks of the shutdown. In past shutdowns, these activities were prohibited by law.
At first, one might be inclined to feel some relief. But what we have in effect is, more and more federal employees being required to work without pay while they risk missing housing payments, car payments, and putting food on the table. And the impact compounds. Without an income, these federal employees are unable to patronize local restaurants, groceries, and other local small businesses. This produces a major economic impact.
Moreover, it gives FOX News license to put out their spin, “Shutdown, what shutdown? Whose really noticing? I just went thru the airport and everything was fine.” And it doesn’t end there. FOX News continues the dialog saying, “Maybe this is a conversation we should be having since it shows we can do with smaller government. It’s a shame that these government employees are hugely ‘inconvenienced’ but let’s not forget that’s not what the federal government is about.”
So what does this mean? We can carry out the Republican creed of smaller government by having hundreds of thousands of US citizens work for free. That is what happens when we have a shutdown that really isn’t a shutdown. 800,000 Americans held hostage, in servitude.
But let’s just follow the FOX News dogma and say we could get by without these government agencies, or even half of them. That would mean 400,000 unemployed. Is that really why people voted for Trump? And imagine how this level of unemployment would impact the economy, and Mr. Trump’s shining beacon, the “Stock Market.” When Trump talks about having this shutdown go on for months or years, is anyone considering the long-term fallout? Eventually, over time, one by one, the remaining government agencies will become unfunded. This is not sustainable. This is not leadership!
And all this for steel slats? On FOX News, they say, “You deserve to go to sleep and not worry about being killed by an illegal immigrant.” But a wall or barrier or whatever Trump chooses to call it on a given day, is a medieval solution. Drugs typically come in through ports of entry. Tunnels as deep as 22 feet underground have been found to bring in drugs. Drugs can be passed through steel slats. Furthermore, Department of Homeland Security tests found that steel barrier prototypes could be cut through with a basic saw. Official reporting shows that immigration is at a 45 year low and the majority of illegal immigrants are here due to VISA overstays. This wall is not an effective solution for bringing an end to immigration or making America safe.
Meanwhile, Department of Homeland Security agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, border protection officers, federal law enforcement and drug enforcement agents, continue to serve America without pay.
Sure, most Americans agree on the need for effective border security. But this can be accomplished through more effective training of Customs and Border Control agents. And there must certainly be new technologies to be explored for this purpose. That would be the visionary and forward thinking 21st century solution. And if the goal is to provide Americans with safety and security, maybe we should be addressing the need for sensible gun reform laws. But I recognize that is the topic of another conversation.
I happen to be one of those people who believe this president is governing by temper tantrum, not to mention fear mongering. So please President Trump, bring an end to this insanity! Please think of what happens to the citizens of the United States beyond tomorrow or next week. In the end, no matter what you get Congress agree to, it is unrealistic to think that a 30-foot wall could be constructed across the entire border by 2020. If you really understand the Art of the Deal, then find a way to move forward with a reasonable plan that will enhance border security and put Americans on a path to economic security and prosperity.