Being Right: Hello Shutdown, Goodbye Primacy

Kate Chenney

For conservatives, the recent government shutdown has been an opportunity to communicate their dislike for the Affordable Care Act and to attempt to change the law. The Republican-controlled House has passed a bill that maintains spending levels but does not provide funding for the Affordable Care Act. The Democratic senate, however, insists that this program be fully funded. This impasse boils down to an argument between liberals and conservatives over the size and scope of government. The conservative opinion is that government is too large and has too much control over the United States citizens. This shutdown gives credence to the conservative assertions that government is too expensive and ineffective. Regardless of party affiliation, it is easy to see the negative repercussions of a large, unstable government. The gridlock in Washington has caused a loss of domestic and international confidence and has damaged both the private and public sectors. These damages will cause long-term reverberating effects. Regardless of affiliation, it is obvious that we need a government that works better and delivers better results with fewer costs. These sequesters and shutdowns damage confidence and hurt the United States economy in the long term.

We have all heard of the public parks shutting down and the lack of scientific funding for things like space exploration. These are all important details, but this does not mean that the public sector is taking the biggest hit. The media driven news often concentrates on the public sector but it is important to note that the private sector is taking just as big a hit, if not bigger.  Private companies in the United States will see the incompetence of the government and cut spending and put the brakes on hiring as a result. Consequently, the unemployment rate will stay at a solid 7.3% or higher. Furthermore, private contractors sell approximately $300 billion worth of goods annually to the government and are concerned with the lack of demand and are now cutting back. It is important to notice the damage the private sector is incurring since this is the only area that has experienced growth in the past 76 months (Money Morning). In fact, the private sector is the only area that has added a significant amount of jobs and opportunities. The government shutdown will cause the private sector to contract and further prevent internal economic growth.

The shutdown put America in a tumultuous position both internally and in the global community. Foreign governments doubt the ability of America to be effective because Congress has proved that they cannot have a civil discussion. Our allies doubt our decision-making skills and our foes see this as a weakness. Other countries see the United States as weak and unstable and many wonder if America is heading towards a serious debt crisis. Foreign investors are therefore losing confidence in the United States and taking their money elsewhere to invest. Europe and other allies abroad want a strong United States that enforces goals and provides leadership and wonder if we really do have their back and will limit our ability to produce solid partnerships.

The recent government shutdown has reinforced the perception abroad that America is in decline. This is the wrong time to be sending the impression that America is weak both domestically and in global affairs. Due to the shutdown, America is no longer seen as a secure, stable leader, but rather as an unpredictable state where investment is not reimbursed. The shutdown shows the inefficiency and weakness of Washington causing America to hurt in the long run.

Contact Kate Chenney at [email protected]