Port Perspective: The Government Shutdown

Photo Credit: FedSmith.com

Photo Credit: FedSmith.com

Michael Puglisi, Contributor

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Government shutdowns used to be a rare occurrence. They happened only when budget bills failed, and even then were a rare occurrence. But in 2018, we have had three different shutdowns. And the latest of these shutdowns comes as a result of Congress’ outright refusal to allocate five billion dollars for the construction of a border wall. In retaliation, Trump authorized and claimed ownership of a government shutdown.

This demand is ridiculous to the highest degree. Trump is demanding a large amount of money to build something for which there are not yet any concrete plans. In fact, even when presented with 8 prototypes, he has yet to make a definite decision on the model he would be using, if any. As a man with a background in real estate, he should know better than to demand funds for a non-existent project. He should know better than to demand money for a project with no plans.

And in retaliation, President Trump, claiming ownership of the shutdown, deprived some 80,000 workers of paychecks, with about 42,000 essential personnel required to work for free. And he threatens to continue the shutdown for months, even years if he does not get the desired funding. Despite this, he has either the audacity or the stupidity to claim that those who aren’t receiving paychecks are perfectly fine and support what he’s doing.

So, as it stands, 80,000 people aren’t getting paychecks due to a very justified refusal to force taxpayers to give an exorbitant amount of money for a project with no plans. And on top of that, one of the major reasons for the wall, as touted by Trump, is that it will keep out terrorists. When White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said this on Fox News Sunday, she claimed that nearly 4,000 suspected terrorists come into the country illegally and that the southern border is the most insecure of the borders. But the host debunked her statistic, saying the 4,000 terrorists were captured in airports, and that the state department themselves stated that no terrorists have been found coming through the southern border.

This shutdown is an infantile tantrum by the president denying the inevitability that this wall is not a wise use of resources and its construction is looking unlikelier by the day. The old rhetoric is faltering, the lies are apparent, and the public’s patience is thinning. This shutdown needs to end or the public will lose any faith they may have had for the president. This course of action is not in any way justified, and we as a people cannot allow such a selfish use of power to continue.