As the time approached, everyone — Republicans and Democrats alike — started biting their fingernails in nervous anticipation of what was to come. Even though we all cringed as the clock struck midnight and a deal was not made, we all survived and most of us continued living on as if nothing had happened.
I am not trying to downplay the effects of the government shutdown. For the 800,000 government employees who were sent home from work, this shutdown could not be more real. Also, the recent shutdown will surely affect recipients of government programs such as the National Institute of Health and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Add in the multitudes of angry tourists around the nation, and we have a substantial portion of the population affected.
Conflicts like this are expected to happen in Congress, and we should not be overly concerned when they occur. In fact, the United States has experienced 17 shutdowns throughout its history. However, when these events do occur, it is crucial that compromises are made to anesthetize the pain of the shutdown as soon as possible. If this compromise is not reached quickly, the pain of the shutdown could worsen as it begins to damage the economy. Not only would spending decrease in the nation as a whole due to lower employment, but also many of the economic indicators that investors rely on for their decision will not be produced, since they are generally made by “nonessential employees.” These impacts and many others could cause lasting economic pain.
Therefore, compromise is a must. Many Republican leaders have urged compromise, and have even offered to reopen the government if President Barack Obama simply promises to delay the individual mandate of the federal health care reform law, rather than fully defunding it. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, even offered further compromise when he said, “The American people expect in Washington, when we have a crisis like this, that the leaders will sit down and have a conversation.” While top Republican leaders have offered to compromise, Boehner voiced his frustrations with the uncompromising left by saying, “The president just can’t sit there and say, ‘I’m not going to negotiate.‘” If the Democrats continue down the path of not negotiating, the country will feel much more of the impact of the government shutdown. As for now, the time keeps ticking on and no “conversations” are being held. All the Americans citizens can do is look to Obama and ask him: Mr. President, could you stop the pain? How long will you go down this uncompromising path and continue to hurt your citizens?