ART BY KAYTE CHIEN
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this piece are not a reflection of the views of Paw Prints Weekly as a whole. They are the sole views of the author. Paw Prints Weekly celebrates a diverse audience and staff, and it supports the declaration of the duties and rights of a Journalist per the U.S. Constitution.
Jobs are coming back, he said. Unemployment rates are going down, he said. With all these bold statements, it would only be logical for President Donald Trump’s actions to reflect such intentions.
Yet, in his most recent demands for building a border wall, it’s indisputable that the exact opposite has happened.
On Dec. 22, President Trump announced his contentious plan to keep the federal government closed if he did not get $5.6 billion for his wall at the southern border of the United States. He is currently holding nine federal operations hostage, including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State and Treasury, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, leaving 800,000 employees without pay.
Now shut down for over a month, the federal government faces its longest interruption in operation in American history, which has no doubt proven to inflict far more harm than help to the American cause.
From airport security to parks and recreation, to science and research, the shutdown has drastically affected numerous innocent citizens’ current lifestyles. In essence, workers are most likely being repaid once the government reopens, while the rest are sent home with no such expectation. Though a small number of essential workforces, such as mail delivery and law enforcement, are still operating, the shutdown has already stirred enormous controversy across the nation, and very understandably so.
As a result of the unnecessarily detrimental shutdown, countless government employees began to experience extremely harsh financial hardships. On Sunday, 10% of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airport screeners–more than 3,000 employees–failed to report to work solely due to the fact that they have been working without pay for over a month.
With so many employees unable to arrive at work because of the utter financial inability to do so should be reason enough to reopen the government despite border wall disputes, right? After all, how can the President expect hundreds of thousands of workers to continue servicing the country if they do not even have the bare minimum to support themselves?
Apparently, to President Trump, this is far from enough damage to even considering the possibility of reopening the government.
And the TSA is far from being the only federal department suffering from the devastation of working without pay for weeks on end. The shutdown has also caused serious problems at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS’s contingency plan only clarified how the agency would handle the first five business days — through December 31 — of a shutdown. With this unexpected 30-day extension to such a plan, as the shutdown lasts longer, the agency will have to compromise as they head into sheer ambiguity. To cope with this unexpected break in government operations, the IRS planned to keep 12.5 percent of its workforce–or fewer than 10,000 federal employees–working. As a matter of fact, the tens of thousands of other IRS workers are furloughed, for the time being. The shutdown has emptied several laboratories across the country, forcing scientists from the field, closing important scientific conferences, and disrupting careful planning for future studies. Through these interruptions in research, it is clear that Trump’s values for this country go far below the irrational expectations. In effect, time-sensitive research has been disrupted because of an interrupted flow of grant money for research.
Despite being a strong believer in “helping the economy” and “improving the American dream,” President Trump has clearly diverted from such ideals, especially for the Native American tribes falls miles short of his oft-stated promise.
For Native Americans, who depend on federal money to support their lifestyle, a shutdown can affect their most basic functions in the worst ways possible. On the Navajo Nation, a mainly rural red rock canyon reserve spanning New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, the government shutdown has already been difficult, said Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation. If this is the kind of future Trump has planned for his people, what kind of example is he setting for the next generation?
The United States of America, for all of its historical opportunistic glory, has majorly failed its citizens during the course of this catastrophe of a government shutdown. Holding the status and livelihood of the people captive in an attempt to “save” the economy with a clear “common-sense compromise” is absolutely preposterous, leaving citizens nationwide with the question: What happens next?