The Navigator

The Government Shutdown

Often, when we are kids, we each have our favorite toys. For some, it might be a ball, and for others, a doll. However, my favorite was the puzzle. Difficult and challenging, playing with a puzzle requires strong memory and analyzation skills. Most people do avoid it after all, due to its challenging appearance. But what does that have to do with the government shutdown? In reality, there are many pieces to the government shutdown not adequately reported. One of those is perhaps the aviation industry.

To start things off, TSA workers, as federal employees, have stopped receiving their paychecks. As a result, many have called in due to sickness. This act, justified or not, hinders the airport community. For example, the George Bush Continental Airport has closed its terminal B, seeing as not enough TSA agents arrived to fill all of the checkpoints. When Delta and United Airlines were asked to comment by the Wall Street Journal, they refused to give their side of the story. But the impacts don’t end there.

As we have learned in our Government and Economic Systems class, while the US might be a mixed economy, it is still very heavily capitalist. What this means is that people/workers are needed to keep the economy running smoothly. But as a result of people calling in sick, stocks have started to fall. Sure, there were reports some months ago of United Airlines forcibly removing passengers to due the exceeded maximization of people, but it’s quite the opposite now: not enough tickets are being bought, and it becomes ever more expensive to operate the planes. The government shutdown has exceeded 29 days by January 21 of 2019. It is actually more expensive to keep a government shutdown rather than run it. And if it’s one thing the capitalist market hates: it’s uncertainty. In this economic condition, it’s easy to both make it or break it.

But perhaps we don’t care about the economy, right? Nah, the capitalist system will just reboot soon enough: it should be malleable. So, what’s to worry then?  Your safety. The FAA, along with inspectors and well-trained pilots, hand inspect each and every single plane before takeoff to ensure maximum security. But the FAA has received cuts in funding, so their numbers have diminished. Now let’s pretend your driving. Signs and stoplights exist, telling you where to go and when to stop. In the sky, it’s not that easy. Instead of pilots relying on visual cues to navigate, air traffic control helps them out instead. But even they are being sidelined. As interviewed by a magazine, one air traffic controller stated that he usually monitors 50 plane landings. Ever since the government shut down, he now monitors anywhere from 60-70. This increases the stress on the air traffic controllers, which is the last thing anyone wants during the completion of the riskiest part of the flight.

Now, how many of you like space? Hear the news on the Boeing’s famous 737? Those all come from/need one organization: NASA. Now NASA is the big head of the aviation community: their technologies help everyone else. But their employee numbers are down by hundreds of thousands. They can’t release their climate change reports, so no one really has any conclusive evidence on how Mother Earth’s doing.

All in all, just by looking at one piece of the puzzle, it’s conclusive on both sides that this government shutdown is quite harmful and detrimental to the community. There’s much more evidence that can be brought up in support, but what many can agree on is the termination of the government shutdown. After all, rubber bands do snap when you stretch them too far.

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