Shutdown problems not solved yet

By Alex Rosenthal, COLUMNIST
On October 17, 2013

 

Finally, in the 11th hour, members of Congress saved the day by ending the partial government shutdown and voted to extend the nation’s debt ceiling.

Now citizens can take a sigh of relief, leave their homes without fear of anarchy and get back to their jobs from which they were furloughed for 16 days.

Well, not really.

Due to the government shutdown, the country has suffered numerous setbacks that will only fully be revealed in the weeks to come.

When Congress signed a bill to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, they only prolonged the problems and worsened America’s financial situation.

While reopening the government and allowing federal employees back to work, the bill also delayed the inevitable debt problem until Feb. 7 and allowed federal spending to resume at its normal rate until Jan. 15.

This is hardly a good thing since the initial problem was the government’s debt, which due to the shutdown, will certainly worsen between now and February.

According to CNN, Standard and Poor’s estimated the 16 days of shutdown cost the American economy $24 billion. The situation sounds kind of like a student maxing out his credit card and quitting his job right before rent is due at the first of the month.

It seems ironic that when faced with a massive problem of debt, the government decided to just give everyone a forced vacation.

Maybe Congress was hoping the problem would magically go away, but as employees will find when they return to work, it most certainly did not.

Employees of federal agencies, such as the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, are bound to realize the severity of the problem this morning when they see the massive backlog of research and grant applications piled on their desks.

Due to the shutdown, these agencies were forced to leave countless researchers across the country, including those at USF, without assistance in their application process and will probably now see all those researchers submit weeks worth of work at once.

This is just the tip of the unknown iceberg of problems caused by the shutdown, but one thing is for certain: the problems have not been solved.

In the upcoming months, politicians will have to give up their partisan bickering and knuckle down to come up with some joint agreement about how to finally solve the country’s problems.

If not, the past few weeks of fighting on Capitol Hill have been meaningless.

 

Alex Rosenthal is a sophomore majoring in mass communications.

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