Government Shutdown: One Step Closer to the End of the American Dream?

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If you watched the news coverage, the night of Monday, September 31st felt like New Years Eve. News channels were so excited about the government shutdown that they had countdown clocks on their screens.  Bill Hemmer, of Fox News, said “I thought the sky was going to fall, but the sun came up,” while the same station’s Sean Hannity claimed that the shutdown was not a big deal to him and did not affect him mentally at all.

The question remains, what about the 800,000 government employees who are jobless and have bills to pay at the end of the month? What about a young infant who needs milk every night before going to bed? The government shutdown will also suspend special supplementary nutrition programs for women and children, such as the WIC program. The government shutdown may not affect a casual observer immediately, but it will have long term ramifications.

Does this shutdown indicate that our politicians are so ruthless and stubborn that they do not care about people losing their jobs or the children who might be deprived of the nutrition they need? According to a CBS News poll, 44 percent of Americans blame Republicans for the shutdown while 35 percent hold Democrats responsible and 17 percent blame both parties. A Fox News poll of registered voters found that 42 percent blame Republicans while 32 percent blame Democrats for the shutdown.

In March, when President Obama shut down the White House tours, critics called it, “a political game” and also blamed him for punishing innocent tourists and school groups. Now, even though most Americans think that Republicans are the reason for the government shutdown, and despite the fact that children may not be getting food, they still act impassively toward the issue.

It’s not the first time the government has shutdown; it happened before in 1995-96. The economy recovered quickly then, but the situation is not so promising this time. Our continued military interventions in the Middle East have also played a significant part in bringing this country to its knees financially, as a significant portion of our income is spent on war.

We are barely operating under our credit limit of $16.7 trillion, and yet politicians seem to behave like obnoxious children without realizing the consequences of this shutdown.

According to HIS Inc. (a global market research firm) the shutdown will cost nearly $30 million each day it continues. Millions of veterans may not receive their benefits if the shutdown continues for more than four weeks. The CDC may halt flu vaccines, despite the fact that flu season is on its way.  Tourism would be significantly affected due to the shut down of national parks and monuments. Children’s Head Start programs would also be affected and eventually close down while disability benefits  could also be interrupted.

Should we assume that the “American dream” is coming to an end and we are about to wake up to a harsh reality that being American is no longer a sign of pride? Due to the lousy, incompetent, and stubborn nature of these politicians who have been charged with a great responsibility to make this country the best place to live and a symbol of pride for all its citizens, this question may become reality.

[Wall Street Journal]

Featured image courtesy of [woahfrisla via Flickr]

Asim Mian
Asim Mian is a graduate of George Mason University. Contact Asim at



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