Reasons for Government Shut Down

Everything Students Need To Know About The Government Shut-Down: The Why, The What, And Most Importantly, Its Effect

Never before has America experienced a government shut down as long as this, so what are the consequences?

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The average American isn't a U.S. History major, nor a fanatic about the political atmosphere/government, seen in the downfall of political turnout and national voting. So to the average person, the phrase: "The government has been shut down!" may raise few heads and throw an air of caution, but for the most part, it doesn't seem like it would affect our day to day lives.

But oh, how mistaken they are.

When I took my first government class, I was an overly excited freshmen, first beginning high school and dipping my toes into the first of many AP Classes. AP Government was a rigorous class: filled with hundreds of terms to memorize, jargon to understand and the necessity to remember the thousands of loopholes that exist within our legislative system that has been exploited over history. But the most important aspect about understanding government, the highlighted fact of the class, was that the government does not run on its own.

Why did the government shut down?

What does this mean? It means that the government is truly by the people and for the people. It is a system set up that can only be ran correctly by the population, as it is set to take into account all the voices of the people and reflect the majority. Those in argument against the government fail to take into account this fact: the government nor the government heads are not to blame for the failures seen of it today, rather, the people are to blame.

There's a growing separation between the government and the people: only a minority of the population is voting, only a minority are speaking out and so, only a minority of people are being heard. This has drastic effects, as extreme beliefs held by radical Democrats or Republicans statistically are always within the minority of the population but differs from the nation from being more driven to go out and vote.

This means, for candidates to win, they're no longer seeking the approval of the entire nation. They're seeking the approval of radicals, and thus, their political agendas line up as radical as their constituents beliefs. Sound familiar?

So how does this play into the government shut down? Well, after a candidate is selected for office, one of the first major decisions that has to be made by the new president is deciding the federal budget (Yes, America does have a budget!) which allocates only a certain amount of money to different sectors of the government.

For example, here is a graph of the allocations made in 2017:

As you can tell by the graph, the government allocates the majority of the money towards programs such as Medicare, MedicAid, Social Security and the military. The need for the budget is essential, because over the last couple of centuries, America had dug itself into a deep, deep whole of debt: the need to buy oversea steel during the Industrial Revolution, the war efforts in WWI and WWII, the Great Depression reparations to today's importation of goods heavily stemming from China and military building.

Now 21.7 trillion dollars need to be paid back, plus interest, and we are firmly stuck to the federal-made budget.

Compounded with highly partisan politics today, deciding the federal budget isn't easy, as most has to go to mandatory services, leaving "discretionary spending" up in the air for allocations between Republicans and Democrats. The largest of this category is defense spending, of which Republicans almost always argue in favor for more money to be out towards it, while Democrats do the opposite.

At the end of discussions, normally a compromise can be set, and allocations are then made accordingly. Of course, this allocation can shift per the year, such as the budget in 1944 would reflect a higher allocation towards defense as America was in the midst of WWII. But since no major war has involved America over the last couple of decades, there is a growing need to want to lower this defense allocation by Democrats, which doesn't sit well with Republicans.

What caused the government shut-down?

What if a compromise isn't made? Well, this is exactly what has happened, and the big spark of the issue is over Trump's legislation for the building of the Mexico-Texan Wall to keep illegal immigrants out.

Wanting to allocate billions of dollars into its construction, this would need to be factored into the federal budget, but then, it would take billions of dollars away from other important sectors not within the mandatory spending, such as education and environmental research — a decision Democrats are refusing to compromise on.

After the year ends, normally the new federal budget is put into place and the funds are allocated, but without an agreed upon budget, the last budget is carried over into the new year which by then, most of the funds would have already dried up.

So, how's it affecting students?

As part of the government, the paycheck of federal workers is one sector of the government budget plan. With no plan, or a plan carried into the new year, no federally employed worker can be paid, and thus, most stop working because of it. This is not extended to only congressmen and women. Everyone from postal workers, TSA agents, diplomats and the armed services are not being payed, and thus, they aren't going to work.

It leaves America defenseless and in a state of panic: airport lines wait increases by tenfold, the red tape around bureaucracy doubles and moving forward seems harder than stepping back. Any place that is federally funded, such as national museums and national parks, are closed down with the shut down until a compromise can be made as well as federal agencies. So sorry, but no, the FDA isn't checking your lettuce at the current moment.

What hits hard for many college students is dealing with FAFSA renewal. Allocations of financial aid are set at a standstill when the IRS data retrieval tool doesn't work, yet the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) can't be contacted, because it's shut down, too. Along with this, students are also getting hit with cancelled flights and multiple hour long security lines at airport gates while trying to return back from winter break.

With the addition of such a big government expense, such as the wall, comes sacrifice to other sectors and a greater national debt: one Democrats in Congress can't afford to increase. The upkeep itself on the wall is another government expense as national forces are going to need to be posted around the large border 24/7, leading to more government paychecks, as well as the wall's upkeep in making sure no part is broken. The current thorn in the plan is that we are now currently 30 days into our shut-down and feeling the rising tension in Congress.

Whether or not we come to a compromise all boils down to whether or not we build the wall. Trump's entire political platform is centered around it, and not meeting his promises would break his political standing and lower his approval rating, which already broke records for being America's historically lowest. But for now, we continue to see the implications of this political standstill, hurting both ourselves and our future.

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A Look Into My Summer Bucket List Maryland Edition

My friends and I make a summer bucket list every year of everything we want to do together before summer ends.

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My friends and I all work full-time jobs so making time to all spend time together can be difficult but that doesn't stop us from making our list. We make our bucket list as soon as we are all home from college. The list always contains a day trip to the beach, a concert, and your other basic summer festivities.

This year, we added some new things to the list such as a trip to Alexandria, VA and a trip to DC. It's always fun to go into the city for the day to shop and explore. We usually take the metro which is always easy and cheap.

We never end up doing everything on the list, we just run out of time. Something new we added to the list this year is going to Beaver dam which is a swimming location with zip lines and high dives. We haven't gone to Beaver dam yet, but hopefully, we'll go by the end of summer.

The list also contains simple things that we would do even if it wasn't on the list like go to downtown Annapolis. We all also got gym membership together which was not on the list either but was a good idea because we go together frequently.

Even though we won't be able to check everything off our list this summer, we still make time for each other despite our busy lives and that's what is important. Coming home for summer after a year of college is very different from summer break in high school. Everyone is busier, working full-time jobs, working internships, or taking online classes.

I've been home from school for a little under 2 months and all I have been doing is working which I don't mind but I've decided to start spending more time doing fun things and cutting down my hours at work.

Summer is whatever you make it, it always flies by so I try not to waste any time.

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To The Person Who Doesn't See Their Own Potential, Let Me Tell You Differently

No one can tell you how far you will go but yourself.

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"I am on my way, I can go the distance. I don't care how far, somehow I'll be strong." - Hercules

As normal humans, you might already know that we are subconsciously judgemental. What color is that girl's skin? How does the haircut look like on that guy who is sitting at the very back of the class? What grade did he get on that last math test? Should I go ask? This isn't necessarily a bad thing...

Until it affects someone thinking they aren't capable of doing something.

Most of us already think we aren't good enough, but what does that mean? Do I have to be better than the person sitting next to me in class? Would I have to try extra hard to get into the soccer team even though I don't like soccer?

Would I have to try extra hard to impress because everyone around me is better than me?

It shouldn't be like that, obviously, but when we feel constant pressure around us, we can't really help it. I struggle to find my confidence, my worth, and sometimes motivation, every day. A few years ago, I used to try and find reassurance by thinking that I was competing with someone who wasn't the best and was "less" better than me, whatever that was supposed to mean for me.

It sounds bad, but it's true. I wouldn't just mentally attack someone else just because I didn't believe in myself, but I would also attack myself and without realizing it, I was unhappy. I was stressing out so much because I was coming to the realization that there are people who are always going to be better than you, whether academically, in sports, or something else.

We know this, but in the back of our heads, we still can't accept it.

I would find people who were better than me in everything and when people started to tell me how bad I was at something, no matter how small, my confidence started to fade away completely.

That is when I started to question what I couldn't do instead of what I could.

I tried harder to compete with myself instead of competing with other people and I'm still learning to improve myself. One thing I still don't do, which all of us should do, is learning to acknowledge every single achievement.

Be proud of yourself.

If you get an award or a prize or even get recognized for something without anything to come home with, OWN IT. You must know that whoever recognized you wasn't "recognizing the wrong person" or you "heard wrong." You don't even need someone else to tell you that you achieved something because if you feel like your improvement advanced further, feel proud. Realize that if you can do something better than the last time, you can keep doing better, but never stop, not even if you think you reached your full potential.

Just find your own limit, and keep aiming toward it.

Find your own limit, not someone else's and aim toward it. If you make a mistake, so what? We all make mistakes, but what we all don't do is actually accept what we are doing wrong because we are so focused on being "better." Just "better" won't get you to the top, and I don't mean the top of the class or above someone. I mean the top as in success. Courage. Being knocked down but standing back up and doing it again for yourself.

Risking going far will take you far.

Telling yourself that you can do anything, regardless of who you are, will take you far.

Seeing your obstacles as the next step instead of the block in your path will take you far.

Creating the "top" instead of trying to see it will take you further.

Once you make your own road, no one will be there to stop you.

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