Friday, April 08, 2011

In Case of a Government Shutdown.

This is my professional art blog, so I avoid political discussion here and on my Twitter account as well, but I am going to make an exception right now. Please hear me out.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion about government spending and taxes, and I can accept that your opinion might not be the same as mine (which I am not actually going to detail here).

But here's what I wish everyone realized. The government is not an abstract entity. It is made up of real people with real families who put real money back into the economy.

My husband is in the military. I am a work-at-home mother with an income that is unreliable at best. We rely on his paycheck to pay our bills, and it is suddenly very much in question, not through any fault of his own. Furthermore, even if the government shuts down and he's not getting paid, as a member of the military, my husband will be required to report to work without pay. So he won't be able to go get a second job or stay home with our son so I can go rustle up some emergency short-term job.

There are 2.8 million U.S. federal employees. Whether you think they all deserve their jobs or not is irrelevant to the fact that if they, or even just some of them, suddenly have their pay cut off because of a government shutdown, that is a whole lot of money that will suddenly not be in circulation.

That is, if those people don't get paid, they can't pay their bills, their mortgages, etc. They also can't buy food and discretionary purchases from cars to clothing to vacations. All of the companies and organizations who normally receive portions of that money will suddenly see their revenue drop as well - and that probably means employee layoffs, so those people won't be able to pay their bills too.

Unless you live completely off the grid, all of this will affect you, just as the recession affected us all.

This is very personal. If you feel government spending should change, whether you want the whole government to be bigger or smaller, or one part bigger and another part smaller, you are entitled to your opinions, and I support your right to ask for whatever changes you would like to see, just as I will continue to fight for my own beliefs.

But whatever changes are made, cuts or increases of any sort, they should be made in a responsible, well thought-out and cooperative manner. There are real people behind all this, relying on paychecks, which they have earned, and they and we don't deserve to be held hostage to precipitous whims on either side.

Thank you for your time.


FairiesNest said...

Very well said!

Lisa said...

I agree - well said. My husband is a federal employee and we have been on the edge of our seats for weeks wondering how this was going to play out for us. While we are breathing a sigh of relief this morning, and grateful, I am still floored that it would even have come to this.