The Real Victims of the Shutdown

It’s now Day 18 of some 800,000 Americans being held hostage by a situation they have no control over. And a situation which appears to have no end in sight any time soon.

There seems to be no good way to end the situation, because it’s been caused by our elected government leaders who can’t agree, who won’t compromise, who won’t negotiate, without using threats and bullying tactics to get what they want. Each side blames the other, while innocent hard-working Americans are paying the price for this shameless behavior.

And by the way, these elected officials are still getting their paychecks. They can still pay their bills on time. Do you think that’s fair? And don’t tell me how the president isn’t taking a paycheck; that’s his decision, and a political one. He and his family have plenty of money and has no idea what it’s like to live paycheck by paycheck. After all, we all remember him telling us how his father gave him a small loan of a million dollars to start his business. How many of us can say that? I certainly can’t. And saying he empathizes with those receiving no paychecks? I doubt it seriously, because to my knowledge he’s never had to live paycheck to paycheck. He’s never had to “adjust” to the situation.

My husband and I are not personally affected by this. Yet. However, far too many of our friends are. These are good hardworking people who need their paychecks on a regular basis, like most of the people in this country. They don’t know how they’re going to make ends meet, or put food on their table, until this is over.

I hear so many people making comments about this is important and “we” have to have our border security. “We” need to be firm in our positions. Or, “it’s not that bad because they’ll eventually get their back pay.” Really????? What do they do in the meantime? Use whatever savings, if they have it, to try to get by? And if there are no savings, what do they do?

How have we gotten to this point that we don’t care about the lives of so many American citizens who have done nothing to deserve being treated this way? I wouldn’t want to be told I had to keep working, but would get an IOU instead of a paycheck. I wouldn’t want to be told I’m taking an “unpaid vacation” for awhile and they’ll call me back when they can. And oh, we’re sorry….

Let’s look a little further into this, and before you start saying how wrong I am, and how “we” need to make a stand, and “we” need to secure our borders, put yourself in these people’s places.

There are approximately 420,000 essential federal employees who are working but not getting paid; another 380,000 furloughed with no pay. And it’s not just the workers themselves who are affected; their families are as well…husbands, wives, children. That would conservatively increase that number to 2.4 million, instead of 800,000.

Social security payments are being paid, although at first many of us were concerned about that. Our military, fortunately, is getting paid. Except for the Coast Guard, which is a part of Homeland Security, which is not getting paid but still working. Congress was able to pass legislation to pay the Coast Guard through December 31, but they cannot be paid on January 15 unless either the government reopens, or another stopgap measure is passed. How wrong is this?

This whole thing is supposedly about border security, but the Homeland Security agency isn’t being paid during the shutdown??? Can someone explain the sense behind that one?

It is estimated that $1.4 billion in salaries per week is being held up because of this ridiculous shutdown. And before someone says, just take those salaries for 5 weeks and build the wall and let them go back to work, let me ask you…could YOU afford that? I didn’t think so. I know we couldn’t.

There are also some 4.1 million government contractors laid off who are not assured of being paid back wages when the government reopens, and at this point most likely they won’t be paid. Multiply that number by 3 to include their families, and see how many people are actually affected.

It’s not a pretty set of statistics, is it? And it’s even uglier if you’re one of those people.

Yes, they’re eligible for unemployment. Most of them. But they have to apply, and it takes 2-6 weeks to get your first check after you’re approved, depending on the state where you live. And that’s not going to pay all their bills.

Get part time jobs? And how long will it take to find something? Who’s going to hire someone part time who could be called back to work at any time? Sure there are probably some such jobs out there’, but not nearly enough. And part time positions won’t pay that much, but they might at least put food on the table.

Mortgages and rent probably won’t be able to be paid. Possibly the mortgage companies may make arrangements, but maybe they won’t. Property management companies may do the same for their tenants, and maybe they won’t. Or can’t. But that also causes the landlords who have their own mortgages to pay on their properties to also be put at risk. And contrary to what many of you may think, not all landlords can afford to wait for their rent without putting their own finances at risk, which means even more people are affected.

Many of these workers have car payments to make as well. Again, their creditors are most likely not going to be able to cut deals for them either. Then there are utility bills, credit card payments, etc. Late and missed payments affect credit scores, and without numerous phone calls and letters of explanation, those lowered scores can affect future financial transactions.

Many of these employees or their family members need monthly medication for conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, epilepsy, cardiac related medication, etc. Depending on co-pays, they may not be able to afford their medicine, and I doubt seriously that pharmacies are in the position to take their IOU’s.

As I mentioned earlier, let’s not forget that these families have to eat. Food expenses are a big part of every family’s budget, even if they’re not eating out. Grocery stores don’t take IOU’s either.

There are families who owe tuition for their own or their children’s school. How is that going to get paid? Will the students be allowed to continue their studies or forced to withdraw?

Then we have the home buyers, the ones who are using FHA loans. New FHA mortgages will now take much longer for approval, and will only for available for single family homes. Not condominiums. Existing loans in process may not be able to close on time and may be delayed. This affects the real estate agents and loan officers as well as the buyers and sellers. And contrary to popular opinion, the majority of real estate agents are not rich. They work hard for their money and don’t get paid until a sale is finalized.

Think about it. The affects of this shutdown are snowballing every day.

This is the reality of the shutdown. Its not an “inconvenience” as radio/tv commentator Sean Hannity said. It’s not doing anything but hurting people who don’t deserve it. They’re being bullied, being used as pawns in a political chess game, being held hostage in a political game of King of the Mountain, and no one is willing to pay the ransom to rescue them.

This is wrong. Just plain wrong.

Let’s forget about what side of the political spectrum we’re on. Forget the “we have to do this or else” way of thinking and do something to take care of our American citizens who have been put in a financial crisis that they are powerless to escape from. Let’s stop the Republicans vs. Democrats way of thinking and think about what’s best for the people of these United States. The longer this shutdown lasts, the more financial damage that will be done and the more American workers that will be hurt.

I care about them. Who else does?

Sources for statistics:

1 thought on “The Real Victims of the Shutdown

  1. I care too Deborah. I don’t think anyone I know is being impacted by the government shutdown. However, that doesn’t mean I think it’s just “inconvenient”. So sad we’ve come to a state in which, “most” U.S. citizens have not been impacted, so it’s not something we should concern ourselves with. I don’t think the current administration has a compassionate bone in their collective bodies (not saying if I am for or against those individuals, just that they have a reputation for being pretty cold-hearted). Thank you for sharing. I hope the situation will be resolved soon.

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