Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Shutdown of the US Government

I won't be saying much about this topic. I merely needed a forum for sharing what I received in an email today from the Veterans Support Center here at MSU-Bozeman. I am fortunate to have enough money to make it through the shutdown, but the impact nationwide on many veterans is impossible to ignore. I understand that this situation affects everyone in the country, but I maintain a small level of bias for my brethren and also have an increased level of valuable information to offer on the subject.

I think it's plain to see that the shutdown is a result of two vastly different factions arguing over things that neither side has any intention of compromising over. It's unfortunate that such a small number of people can have such a significantly negative impact on so many millions of people. Oddly, each of these elected representatives seems to have some level of outward support for veterans and servicemembers, but apparently their personal ideals take precedence. I will never be able to understand what motivates politicians to behave as they do, nor will I understand the failure of individuals to accept compromise. Somebody once said something about compromise leaving everyone unhappy. From where I'm sitting, a failure to compromise leaves everyone miserable. I would rather have half a sandwich as fight over the whole sandwich until I starve to death.

Many citizens of the United States don't agree with the various conflicts we're involved with, but the support for those fighting is overwhelming. Unfortunately, according to VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki, the financial portion of that support will soon end, given that the shutdown is protracted. On a personal level, I will lose nearly $1800/month in education and disability compensation while waiting for resolution. (I assume that lost benefits will be paid back when Congress stops bickering, but nobody gets to pay their rent with IOU's from Uncle Sam.) As previously mentioned, I should be okay, but the Secretary's statement paints a gloomier picture for thousands of veterans that are less fortunate than me.  This document may be specific to VA benefits, but it can serve as an example of how the government shutdown is putting millions of livelihoods in limbo and just in time for the holidays. I highly encourage everyone to read it and welcome any thoughts on the subject.

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