Strong-headed responses from both sides of the table have resulted in a shutdown of the United States government. Although rare in its entire history, federal shutdowns have become commonplace since the 1980s over policy and budget disagreements. The last one was only five years ago with President Barack Obama and the Senate in a deadlock with the House of Representatives over Obamacare. President Donald Trump, this time around, is pushing for $5 billion funding for his 30-foot wall project along the border with Mexico, which has passed the House but requires more votes from the Senate, having exhausted its Republican support and requiring at least nine votes from Senate Democrats. The shutdown has caused bewilderment among citizens and other countries.
While nations have every right to bar negative elements from entering their country, such as the perilous evils of human trafficking, drug trade, and gang violence which President Trump wants to banish, erecting a wall costing $5 billion seems rather nutty. That funding could be better spent on smaller projects with the same goals. The US world power has ceased many operations but gridlock is not entirely surprising. Since President Trump’s inauguration, the wall debate has been perpetual with both sides firm on their stances.
The Democrats made it clear that they are not against stronger border protection, so long as allocated funds are used in a sensible way. They earlier offered $1.3 billion for border protection but have since rescinded that amount. As the US government is shut, private donors in support of Trump’s wall are hard at work. A group of veterans has managed to collect $16 million in donations for the wall in seven days via an online fundraising campaign. Though not begun by President Trump himself, the wall project enjoys strong support from fanatic American citizens and Pakistan is no longer the only country that uses crowdfunding to erect large concrete barriers. The plunging of the US stock market might not lead to a crash, but the detriments of this government shutdown are steadily coming to the fore.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2018.