Shutdown Faces Government with Moral Dilemma
For about a month, the US government shutdown has left thousands without pay, and this faces the government with a serious moral dilemma.
If you’ve been following Trump at all for the past few years you’re familiar with the wall. It’s all he seemed to talk about during his campaign and well into his presidency, so it’s no surprise that he’s started building it. But building a huge wall spanning for thousands of miles isn’t easy. It’s actually pretty expensive. $5.7 billion to be exact.
And the $5.7 billion that Trump wants aren’t just going to come out of thin air. Someone needs to pay for it. And it’s not going to be Mexico, it’s going to be us.
This ten digit cost is the very reason for the government shutdown, which has left over 900,000 people without pay and dragged into today, its 27th day. And going that long for no pay makes life very difficult, as many of these federal workers are now finding it hard to take care of not only themselves, but also their families. To make matters worse, some of these workers are still required to show up to work, even though they know they won’t get paid for the hours they put in.
But society’s troubles don’t end there, because although government workers are the most harshly affected, the shutdown is starting to find its way into the lives of normal citizens, and has been especially harsh on Native American communities. A lot of these communities receive government funding and services, such as healthcare, which have now been cut off due to the shutdown, making life a lot harder in the meantime. Should the shutdown continue into February, more non federal workers will see its effects for themselves as well, as it ripples throughout the economy and more institutions.
Trump’s border wall does, however, have its good aspects. The wall will help increase national security and should have a significant impact on illegal immigration and smuggling across the border. This could help make the country safer and also help cut down on certain expenses in the long run.
As of now, most illegal drugs that enter the US come in through the southern border. These drugs not only have a dangerous impact on citizens but also end up costing the country billions, as they also lead to things like unemployment, need for rehabilitation, and more work to stop their spread. None of these effects are free, so theoretically, building a border wall could help save the country more in the long run.
In the meantime, however, the government is faced with a classic moral dilemma, often referred to as “Guns vs Butter.”
The way it works is simple. Countries are often faced with the decision to either spend money feeding their own citizens, or protecting the country as a whole. In these cases, countries often decide to spend their money on national security needs. However, since they spend their money on national security, or “guns,” they don’t have money left to help people who require basic needs, or “butter.”
The issue can also work the other way around, with the government spending money to make sure everyone has better living conditions but, in turn, have weaker national security.
In this specific case, the US is faced with the decision of building the wall (guns), or halting its construction to make sure all its citizens are putting food on the table (butter). On one hand, building the wall will likely help national security and better protect the country as a whole, and perhaps save more money in the long run. On the other, thousands will be left struggling to pay bills and eat in the process.
There isn’t necessarily a right or wrong answer to the Guns vs Butter issue. Whichever route is taken will always have its pros and cons, and the best decision tends to depend on the specific situation, or the decision-maker’s specific moral stances.
Nonetheless, this moral issue has to be taken into account by the government as this shutdown continues to drag on. And a decision needs to be made fast, as thousands are left without a source of income.