Government shutdown jeopardizes federal workers’ livelihoods

Photo courtesy of CNBC.com

Shirah Lister

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The government shutdown has posed two important questions: how do we create financial security for the people who help run our country, and when will school shut down? Unfortunately, contrary to urban legend, DCPS schools will not be affected by the government shutdown. What will be affected is the lives of thousands of federal workers.

Currently, 420,000 workers are going to work every day, with no pay. 380,000 workers, on the other hand, stay home, with no pay. While staying home sounds like a vacation, it’s actually a nightmare. Just because they have stopped working doesn’t mean the bills have stopped coming in. There are credit bills, mortgages, and both have to be paid on time, or people’s credit scores get hurt and they end up paying more. In the long run, not paying your mortgage means you can lose your house.

For workers living paycheck to paycheck, this situation is a nightmare. Even if they end up getting paid for the time during the shutdown, the damage will have already set in.

Food stamps and subsidized school lunches will both run out of funding. Not only does this shutdown affect the workers and their families, but it will hit hard at our country’s most vulnerable.

This is a classic example of the age-old saying, ‘The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.’ While to some middle- and upper-class families, this just seems like a vacation, to low-income families this can mean the loss of basic necessities: medication, school, food, and utilities.

The government shutdown is just a tool to get what Trump wants—the wall. This game Congress and the president are playing, though, is not fun for everyone. It may end up causing ripple effects on the economy and the environment, and other areas affected by the shutdown. Already TSA agents have been calling in sick, so who’s to say people won’t leave their jobs altogether?

The shutdown will inevitably end, whether it’s tomorrow or the next election, it will end. The question is, will we learn from it? This shutdown should remind us of the larger social inequality in this country that has yet to be solved. We have no decent social safety net to help people in times of distress, worse, we don’t provide people with any basic security in terms of health and income support. We should not be proud.