As October 17 grew closer, Congress was left with a decision to make, one with far-reaching implications. The two options? Keep the government shutdown and force a US default, or resolve the crisis and let over 800,000 Americans resume work.
The choice seemed simple, at least to high-school students. At CB South, students expressed an overwhelmingly majority answer to this problem: open the government.
Despite varying political beliefs, students from all backgrounds and ages answered with a resounding “yes” when asked if the government shutdown was a negative thing. Ranging from Ms. Woehr’s journalism class to Mrs. Brouda’s macroeconomics class, public opinion was secure that the shutdown was negative.
Unfortunately, politicians can’t make the decisions that high school students easily make. Stubborn politicians in Congress, mostly from the Republican party, have tried to repeal Obamacare over 40 times with no success. This is a policy that has been passed through legislature, has thousands of Americans signing up on board daily, and has passed judicial review.
Yet this doesn’t matter to politicians like John Boehner, current Speaker of the House. Until the crisis was resolved literally the night before the US was forced to enter a state of possible default, Republicans stood their ground.
Speaker Boehner didn’t want to throw his support behind a bill that would appropriate government spending simply because he was afraid of the backlash that the “Tea Party” Republicans in the party would have. Worried he would be deposed of office, he chose to hesitate until the last possible moment.
He still caved, of course, as he had to. Had Republicans not voted to end the shutdown, the implications would have been devastating, most likely ending with a terrible blow to the US economy.
So why wait, Representative Boehner and other House Republicans? Does the Tea Party really have that strong of an influence on politics?
If Congress had dodged a shutdown, weeks of strife would have been avoided. Over 800,000 people would have had jobs. Millions upon millions of dollars wouldn’t have been taken out of the consumption of the US, a driving economic force.
Congress has proved again and again that it is inefficient and inept. Not as an institution, but in the people who comprise it, especially Republicans who pushed this whole fiasco. When politicians debate an issue and deprive people of payroll because they want to play party politics and gain support from extremists, we have a major problem.
All this isn’t just harming our government, however. It’s taking a toll on future generations. Students at schools like CB South are getting increasingly frustrated with the way the government operates.
When bright, budding young intellectuals and thinkers are turned off of the government because it has proven itself to be corrupt and useless, the future of the nation suffers as well. If the US government doesn’t get its act together soon, our next political crisis may be even more prolonged.