Week 4 and counting

In the first couple of weeks of the ongoing partial government shutdown – now on its fourth week with no end in sight – federal government employees who would not be getting their salary could not really feel its effects.

This is because their next payday had not yet come and gone. As far as they were concerned, the shutdown could end anytime and they would get their pay cheques as usual when payday came.

That time finally arrived a few days ago when hundreds of thousands of government employees received their pay slips that said they received a grand total of $0.00 or zero, zilch, nada, nothing.

This week, they are feeling the pinch as they scrounge for funds to take care of their day-to-day expenses, as well as credit card bills that have become due, mortgage or rent payments to their banks or landlords, etc., etc., etc.

President Donald Trump wants them to grin and bear it, even as they are asked to not only tighten their belts but also take such drastic actions as dipping into their savings or retirement funds, holding garage sales, or even baby sitting.

None of the suggested palliative measures are sustainable. Also, they are not likely to produce the kind of income that the workers have been used to.

Already, stories of how desperate the workers and their families have become have started to surface, and they can be gut-wrenching. Single parents who do not know where the funds for groceries will come from, men and women with pre-existing medical conditions who are in constant need for medication going without their life-saving drugs, workers unable to put gas in their cars so that they can head to work…the stories go on and on.

Sooner rather than later, if the shutdown is not resolved, countless workers will be unable to go to work and various government agencies will be paralyzed. It is one thing for the country’s parks to get overrun by trash, and quite another for airport security to be overburdened to the point that the traveling public’s safety is placed at risk.

Recent surveys indicate that the majority of Americans blame President Trump and the Republican Party for the shutdown.

There is no need to debate this matter. It is what it is. The majority of the people have found Mr. Trump and the GOP wanting, and they are demanding that action be taken now. Not next week, not next month, certainly not next year despite the president’s threat to allow the shutdown to proceed until hell freezes over if he does not get what he wants. This growing crisis must be solved ASAP.

There is in fact a bipartisan solution that the Senate unanimously approved of recently. The Democrats are reiterating that solution that Mr. Trump so callously rejected.

The government should be reopened except for that portion that involved the building of Mr. Trump’s promised wall. Thus, instead of 25 percent of the federal government being closed for business, only a small fraction will remain suspended until Mr. Trump, the GOP, and the Democrats finally come to an agreement.

It’s a common sense solution that will end the misery now being experienced by the majority of the 800,000 government workers now in limbo.