The second longest shutdown was under President Bill Clinton at the end of 1995 and through the beginning of 1996. Government shut downs have occurred plenty of times since the 1970s, but now Trump holds the record for longest government shut down which impacts the lives of over 800,000 workers. As Adam H. Johnson said in The Nation, “It’s not a government shut down. It’s a right-wing coup“.
This shut down directly impacts programs designed to help the most vulnerable, but it does not impact the programs designed to serve the rich and powerful. In his article Johnson stated,
If the last “shutdown” is any guide, the military, Trump’s luxurious vacations, soft power, our bombing of seven Muslim-majority countries, NSA bulk surveillance, agencies that prop up the oil and gas industry, the CIA’s arming and funding of Syrian rebels, and the FBI’s entrapment regime will remain entirely untouched. The parts of government that serve the poor and working class, however, will be first on the chopping block: libraries, tax collection, national parks, labor and safety regulators, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (which oversees the derivatives market), environmental regulators, financial regulators, welfare, and WIC will all be axed. Indeed, the one time the government got remotely close to undermining, even briefly, a pillar of the right-wing state, the powers that be arbitrarily decided to leave the Defense Department virtually untouched.
Let us also notice that this government shut down includes 42,000 Coast Guard members not receiving pay. The United States loves their “service members”, don’t they?
The stress forced onto workers by this government shut down, which is completely unnecessary, really highlights a larger issue. Nearly 80 percent of American workers (78 percent) are living paycheck to paycheck. No matter what the mainstream media reports on unemployment and jobs statistics, we are nowhere near pre-2008 levels. The past 10 years since the great recession of 2008 are still being felt.
The government shut down is now impacting over 800,000 workers. Around 420,000 workers are considered “essential” and are still working without pay. Another 380,000 workers have been ordered to stay home.
Here’s an infographic to better understand this government shut down in it’s entirety:
But don’t worry, the Pentagon and the weapons manufacturers will keep dropping bombs, conducting special operations, and killing innocent civilians around the world. That’s the last thing that will stop in a capitalist America dependent on imperialism and militarism. All this to keep the economy going. Will Americans ever wake up and blame the source of these problems? I guess we’ll just have to gamble the entire planet’s ecosystem on that bet.