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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Government Shutdown Isn’t A Joke

Over winter break, politics was plastered in almost every news station, tabloids, and social media platforms. As many may know, the government shutdown has been a hot topic for what seems like a long time now, as it nears one whole month and has set the record for the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
The reason for the shutdown comes from the ongoing debate between President Donald Trump and the Democrats about whether the border wall should be funded, as desired by the president himself. Due to a lack of agreement, the shutdown continues through January, affecting different federal agencies and many of their employees as time goes on.
Many people—like myself before researching—may not know the effects that this shutdown has had up until this point and continue to remain in the dark. I believe an article by Niv Elis from The Hill (1) does a great job at presenting accurate statistics and facts of the effects of the shutdown, as they write, “the shutdown has affected nine federal agencies, as well as several smaller offices, leading to hundreds of thousands of federal employees being furloughed or required to work without pay.” The article then goes on to break down who and what is being affected, and how they are being affected.
Most noteworthy of those affected are federal workers and contractors, where, “roughly 800,000 federal workers missed their first full paycheck on Jan. 11, and they are set to miss a second consecutive paycheck.” Although President Trump has signed a bill promising full-pay to the workers affected once the shutdown is over, there are many employees that are having troubles with different payments and fees at present. The article also discusses the impact the shutdown has had on airports, writing, “The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reported a spike in employees not showing up for work. On Thursday, TSA said that 6.4 percent of its workforce was absent, most of them citing financial hardship. Ever since TSA officers missed their first paycheck, the number of absentee agency workers has hovered close to 7 percent.” This lack of workers has impacted a number of checkpoints and contributed to delays in security, causing lines to increase and wait times to get longer.
The article also talks about how the shutdown has affected the IRS and how it will impact the tax season this year. It states, “The IRS is headed into its busiest part of the year with a significant portion of its staff furloughed or working without pay, raising the possibility that millions of Americans will receive their tax refunds later than usual. The IRS said it would expand its unpaid workforce to 46,000—less than 60 percent of its full staff.”
The article breaks down many more impacts the shutdown has had, such the effects on farmers, courts, and even health and food inspections. Elis expands more in each section, explaining things that I really didn’t have any idea about before now.
My research has revealed to me that the government shutdown is more serious than what people make it out to be—I mean there has even been shutdown memes made and shared across social media and the whole situation has started to become a sort of joke to some. The shutdown is affecting more people as the days pass and an agreement or compromise fails to be met. I am starting to wonder how much longer can this go on for.
(1) https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/426121-shutdown-reaches-a-month-heres-what-you-need-to-know

About the Contributor
Mikayla Mackay, Arts & Lifestyle Editor