What the heck is going on?
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (January 6, 2019)
One quarter of the United States federal government is closed. Unless you are a federal employee or contractor, you probably haven’t noticed this – yet. But the longer this closing goes on, the more impact it will have on ordinary people. For example, the IRS is not processing refunds – not much of a problem so far but will be in another month. And so it goes with several other agencies.
What then is causing all this disruption? Whose fault is it? How will it be resolved?
The U.S. government has closed a portion of its services because of a dispute between Republicans and Democrats over money. Is the dispute over how best to balance the federal budget? Not so lucky. The dispute is over a$5 billion-line-item – which sounds like a lot of money until you realize that the total federal budget is $4.407 trillion. Since one trillion equals 1000 times one billion, the amount in dispute is such a small percentage of the total budget that you couldn’t even get that number on a calculator – too many zeros.
If the dispute therefore is not really about money, what is the problem? The problem is that this line item is the funding for a series of walls on the U.S. southern border with Mexico wherever the terrain permits. This proposal builds on the experience of the wall in San Diego which has reduced the flow of illegal immigrants by 96% since 1986 (before the wall was built). While it has been spectacularly successful in its intended purpose, however, smuggling especially of drugs has increased dramatically. Therefore it seems necessary to increase staffing and technology at the ports of entry as well as construction of additional walls in order to effect improved border security.