The real effects of a looming government shutdown

By on September 24, 2015
opinion

 

If you followed the news at all this summer, you may remember hearing about a militia group called The Oath Keepers. They’re that group that showed up at the peaceful protests in Ferguson on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s death toting rifles. They’re also the one’s who threatened to “interfere” if Kim Davis was again arrested and thrown back in jail.

Basically, these guys are one in a large number of citizen militia groups that seem to believe that the United States government is under constant threat from oppressive forces, both foreign and domestic. They’ve criticized Obama for provoking a race war in America and equated Hillary Clinton to Hitler, seeming to believe that they, along with the rest of liberal America, are dead-set on bringing down this country that they love so.

Don’t look now, fellas, but those same far right-wing politicians that show you love on the campaign trail—and seem like good, honest, hardworking Americans—are about to kick the chair out from under the American government you’re so preoccupied with protecting.

This threat to the government is being perpetrated in large part due to undercover videos released by an anti-abortion interest group in July. These videos supposedly show Planned Parenthood employees discussing prices for various fetal tissue samples for testing.

The legitimacy of these videos have been called into question by countless experts, but that really seems of little importance to the politicians that have been trumpeting these videos as the proof they’ve needed to combat Planned Parenthood, an organization they call “morally bankrupt.”

While there are many politicians actively seeking a government shutdown on this issue, one voice stands among the rest as the brashest and the most hyperbolic. That voice belongs to Texas Senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz.

Cruz is, for lack of a better phrase, a Tea Party darling. He believes that a large federal government hinders the ingenuity and overall liberty of the American people, so it should be as small as possible.

These views are ironic coming from somebody running for the highest government office in the land.

Cruz is now stating that unless Congress revokes federal funding for Planned Parenthood, he and a contingent of congressmen will force another government shutdown.

I say another because this isn’t Cruz’s first rodeo (forgive the Texas pun). You may recall that Cruz was instrumental in the 2013 government shutdown over the funding of Obamacare. That fight, like this one (in all probability), was for naught. Obamacare was funded. The senators who had caused the shutdown walked away empty-handed and received a healthy amount of scorn from their constituents—not to mention, our country looked a bit silly to the international community.

But there were practical implications beyond those in Washington. When a government shuts down, it has real, tangible effects. It means nearly a million government employees who won’t receive a paycheck. It means food programs for food-unstable households are put on hold. It means we lose countless dollars in revenue from national parks and landmarks that are closed down. A longer shutdown could even affect the aid money that universities receive from the state.

Two years later, Cruz is spoiling for another fight. One that promises to be just as costly and embarrassing as it was the first time around. I guess the question remains—how is it possible that a very small group of lawmakers is able to bring to a halt the richest, most powerful nation to ever exist?

Planned Parenthood isn’t a political or religious organization. It doesn’t make money off of its clients. It’s a healthcare provider for women. Nothing more, nothing less. The idea that this organization (which I’m sure provides services to more than a few U of L students) is the impetus for the inevitable hell storm about to roll through our nation’s capitol is nothing short of exasperating.

If Ted Cruz plans to shut down the government every time we fund an objectively beneficial health program, be it Obamacare or Planned Parenthood, than The Oath Keepers don’t need to be worried about some protestors in Ferguson, Missouri bringing America to its knees. No, they only need to look at the elected officials who would sooner see America crumble than not get their way. That’s the real cowardice.

About Ryan Hiles

One Comment

  1. Ssee

    September 25, 2015 at 12:51 am

    I guess you support planned parenthood of chopping up baby body parts for profit or in the name of research.

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