Government shutdown: what it was, and why you didn’t notice

Will Berger, Staff Writer

Over the last few weeks, much media attention has focused on the train wreck of the government shutdown.

Don’t let the hype scare you; it was the temporary closure of a few federal agencies and the furlough of 800,000 government employees not deemed “essential.”  The term “shutdown” seems like a bit of an exaggeration—just as “intelligent” or “mature” is a bit of an exaggeration when describing Congress.

In all likelihood, the government shutdown did not affect you.  You were still free to do all of your favorite government-related activities, such as paying your taxes, receiving parking tickets, standing in line at the post office.

You may wonder: why did the government shut down?  Each fiscal year, Congress must pass a spending bill that outlines how the government will be funded.  If the bill cannot be passed, certain services will halt until the legislation is approved.  Unfortunately, Congress was not able to meet the deadline on Oct. 1.

So what was the holdup?  A group of House Republicans, led by Senator Ted Cruz, demanded that the new spending bill include provisions that defund, derail, or dilute Obamacare.  But Senate Democrats were just as adamantly opposed to the provisions.

Still confused?  Let me put it in terms that any student can understand.  You and your friend want to order something for lunch.  You want to order from Harbor Deli, while your friend wants to order from Bayview.  So instead of compromising, you shut down your friendship.

Again, it appears as if politicians are playing a game of chicken with our economy.

For some strange reason, Cruz and other Republicans thought it would be a good idea to hold the spending bill hostage and Democrats thought it necessary to put Obamacare over re-opening the federal government.

Thankfully, Democrats and Republicans finally agreed on a deal that would keep the government going… until Jan. 15, that is.

Congress must agree on a spending bill before Jan. 15, or else the government will shut down again and all Americans retreat to their respective panic rooms.

Although political leaders might try to call it a grand compromise, this “deal” is simply a temporary bandage on a wound that will require surgery in January.

According to a poll from Public Policy Polling, Congress’ approval rating is lower than rat excrement, hemorrhoids, jury duty, toenail fungus, cockroaches, the IRS, potholes, and zombies.

While this poll may seem like a disturbing reflection of our political state, on the bright side, Congress scored higher than Miley Cyrus.