By ANDREW PAXTON
When the government shut down on Oct. 1, most people asked several questions: How long will it last, who’s to blame and why should I care?
Most pundits assumed members of Congress would make nice with each other and reach a quick agreement. Instead, the brinksmanship that has been in place since Obama first took the White House remained in full force.
The damage to the economy and America’s credibility won’t be known for months or years.
Whenever a political crisis of this magnitude unfolds, each side blames the other. In this instance, it isn’t hard to figure out who is behind the stalemate.
Tea Party Republicans and their supporters refused to pass a budget that funds the Affordable Healthcare Act. They ignored the fact that voters re-elected President Obama after the law’s passage and the Supreme Court ruled the law constitutional.
Neither of those details matter to radical conservatives. They planned the government shutdown for months, according to an article by the New York Times.
The group is led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. He recently made a nearly daylong speech against the health care law on the Senate floor that included a rendition of “Green Eggs and Ham.”
His speech did not include a viable alternative for millions of people who need insurance but can’t afford it or those who were denied heath care due to pre-existing medical conditions.
Recent polls found that a majority of Americans blame Republicans for the shutdown. A manufactured debt crisis and paralyzed government have meant plummeting popularity numbers for the Tea Party.
But what does the government shutting down really mean?
For now, most national parks are closed and tuition assistance for active-duty military members is on hold.
If the shutdown continues until the end of October, services that assist disadvantaged women and children, seniors, veterans and others will start running out of money.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
America’s global reputation is being damaged as politicians bicker and finger-point instead of solving the problem they created.
To top it off, those who caused the government to shutter because they don’t want people to have insurance are still receiving their paychecks, even though they refuse to do their job.
Remember who is responsible for this mess when elections roll around next year.
Paxton is a journalism/political science major who believes the government should act more responsibly than children in a sandbox.