The Cost of the Wall

DANIEL SINGER

Consequences remain after the  shutdown

Many weeks have passed now since the longest government shutdown in history, reminders of its effects are still present. No matter what political allegiance a person belongs to, the prevalence of these effects is  undeniable.
According to USA Today, approximately 800,000 government workers were affected by the shutdown. Furthermore, according to CBS news, this shutdown cost the United States over $5.7 billion that will be difficult to recover.
For the families affected, times could not be harder. For junior Anna Johnson, with both of her parents working for the government at the Coast Guard, the last month has been  difficult.
“My mom had to cancel her gym membership and had to postpone paying for this semester’s [college] classes. It was also particularly hard because my dad wasn’t receiving his pension,” said Johnson. Additionally, her family had to be more cautious about where and how they shopped for goods such as food and clothes.
In terms of support, food collections for unpaid federal workers were held at the high school and also in numerous other locations, including weekly collections at the Coast Guard. However, even though the government is now back up and running, circumstances for government workers have not returned to normal.
“I believe they will still be impacted for a while even though they are currently receiving pay. I would imagine that it’s tough for anyone to get back on their feet and reorganize when something like this happens,” said history teacher Jennifer Raub, who organized the one-day, school collection for the Coast Guard on Jan. 28. In another collection prior to this, $595 was raised by a teacher’s jeans day. Even though these employees are not receiving their pay, they are still expected to work, making their living and working conditions on the verge of  dangerous.
With this shutdown, furloughing employees is one of the many aspects getting cut from the necessary government funding. Had the shutdown continued into February, the 38 million Americans on food stamps would be in serious trouble, as the government had no plan to fund such a program. Imagine having a country operate with over 10 percent of the population not receiving their daily food intake.
Other essential programs that got cut are IRS (Internal Revenue Service), the Environmental Protection Agency, the Center for Disease Control, and the National Parks and Museums. Now that all these programs are funded once again, they will not be functioning at full capacity, as masses of work are piled up waiting to completed after the shutdown. For example, the beauty of the century-old trees at some of the National Parks will never be the same, as permanent damage that occurred during the anarchy of the shutdown may never be reversed.
Trump declared construction of the wall a national emergency on Feb. 14. There will not be another government shutdown in the near future, he has plans to withdraw money from other federal agencies in order to do so.

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