As the latest government shutdown drags on, like many Americans you might be wondering what effect it is really having on our lives.
For most of us, nothing has noticeably changed since the shutdown started. Post offices are still open. The TSA continued to keep us all safe throughout the busy holiday travel season. Active members of the military, social security beneficiaries and even the Mueller investigative team are still being paid.
So what is shutdown’s actual impact?
And maybe… should some things just stay shutdown for good?
Because Congress and President Trump had already agreed to fund certain departments of the government ahead of the deadline, the only departments that are currently affected by the shutdown are:
- Treasury Department
- Agriculture Department
- Homeland Security Department
- Interior Department
- State Department
- Department of Housing and Urban Development
- Transportation Department
- Commerce Department
- Justice Department
Even within those departments, only non-essential employees are staying home, while other employees deemed essential continue their work.
For ordinary citizens, the most noticeable impacts come when we try to visit national parks, which are currently running skelton crews to remain open, museums and attractions like the Smithsonian and National Zoo which have closed, and delayed tax returns.
And while no one wants to miss out on an opportunity to see the Hope Diamond or Bei Bei the Panda, the shutdown presents an opportunity for our country to examine if so-called non-essential functions of our government are worth operating at all.
Is it vital that our nation have a department to oversee housing loan programs? My TV and Internet is still working just fine without the watching eye of the FCC.
At the Transportation Department, employees who work in air traffic control and highway management are still at their desks, but our roads and airspaces seem to be operating as normal without rule-making and regulatory staff.
To be sure, some regulation of our transportation, commerce and communications is an essential part of a civil society. But as the shutdown continues, the levels our federal government has reached seem less and less necessary by the day.
If nothing else, could they at least shut down the microphones?
What are your thoughts?
If a government agency is “non-essential” then how essential is it? There’s your meta thought for the day!
Let us know your thoughts on Facebook, and learn more about what happens when government continues to grow unchecked here.