Friday, October 4, 2013
For the past few days, the government shutdown has been the headlines newspapers across the world. Side affects listed include closed National Parks and furloughed government workers. However, the government shutdown has a more sinister side.
On Tuesday, the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, also known as the WIC was defunded. The WIC supports around nine million moms and their kids, supplying vouchers for food, baby formula, and medical imperatives. As it stands, the WIC has a contingency fund of approximately 125 million dollars in comparison to 7 billion dollar budget. This means the WIC will likely be able to carry out normal operations for about a week. And with neither side seeming to budge, it seems that the standoff will last much longer than that.
Usually on issues like human rights, I’m hesitant to take a partisan outlook. However, in this instance I feel the Republicans have really done a disservice to the American people. In their attack on the Affordable Care Act, they have lost sight of the bigger picture. The debt limit is something that has been raised almost every previous year without much consideration. With rising GDP pretty much maintaining our debt proportional to GDP, the debt limit was not something that needed to be negotiated on, especially in a time of economic downturn. A government shutdown has achieved precisely what the Republicans are trying to avoid – the rest of the world looses faith in the economy attracting few investors from around the world.
It is especially disheartening when legislators whose salaries have been maintained through the shutdown make decisions that cause the poor to suffer. And as the polls show, the rest of the American people agree. Over 60% blame the Republicans in the House.