October 10, 2013 | Vol. 117 -- No. 25

Government shutdown isn't anything new

The government shutdown is all that news outlets have been able to cover since the start of the month, but when considering that shutdowns have happened 17 times since 1976. This current “shutdown,” according to the Congressional Budget Office only affects 17 percent of the federal government.

If there isn’t a business out there that can choose to shut down 17 percent of its operations for a month - cutting back on printer toner, holding off on that software upgrade, turn off lights and ask employees to reduce their mileage (if it applies) - and then go back to full operations the next month, we’re in more trouble than we realize.

Are people affected by the shutdown? Absolutely.

Simply look at Fairchild Air Force Base for proof of the disruption.

The commissary is closed, recycling pick-ups have halted and furloughs took place for some workers. A government shutting down and affecting someone’s livelihood is a terrible situation.

Another unspoken victim of the shutdown are Native American tribes, the most famous of which was the Crow Tribe in Montana. Tribal leaders furloughed more than 300 workers last week in conjunction with the shutdown.

But take one look at what’s happened over the past month and it’s clear: this shutdown is meant to send a message from the administration to the people.

One only needs to look at the barricades placed along the memorials along the National Mall. It might also behoove us to ask how much money was spent on placing those barricades across thousands of feet. Each barricade has a paper printed with colored ink attached, stating its purpose. Again, how much money was spent on the thousands of pieces of paper across the country?

In the past 10 days since the government shut down, we’ve seen national parks barricaded, private businesses forced to close and scenic turnoffs along highways are blocked. Even Alcatraz is locked up tight. Although, I guess that would actually be along the lines of returning to normal, given the facility’s history.

It’s meant to send a direct message to the American people: “you didn’t build that.”

No government shutdown has lasted more than 21 days. The 1995-1996 shutdown gets that credit, with most lasting around eight days.

At least while things are at a halt, we can be thankful that wasteful bills like robotic squirrels and turtle bridges aren’t being passed.

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