When Does The Continued Shutdown Reach Its Breaking Point?

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We all know the script with the Continued Shutdown: The Democratic House majority – along with a few dozen Republicans — will begin passing bills to fund each of the government agencies currently shut down. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will refuse to allow a vote on any of these bills unless President Donald Trump signals that he will sign them.

So the president with a strong assist from Senator McConnell – appears to be responsible for the continued shutdown. Of course, he blames the Congressional Democrats since they refuse to fund his beloved wall. He has also threatened to allow the shutdown to continue for months, or even years.

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According to a study by Paul Light, an NYU public policy professor, 78% of all American live from paycheck-to-paycheck. So even if we draw down our checking accounts and max out our credit cards, few of us could last more than a month without a paycheck.

Many of the unpaid federal government employees are already feeling the pinch. Large numbers of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents have been calling in sick, while others are actually quitting. If the shutdown continues, very soon the airlines are going to be forced to begin cancelling flights – thereby causing a whole lot of very loud screaming in airports across the nation.

Tens of millions of taxpayers expecting refunds will not be happy campers if the IRS completely shuts down its operations. Even among Trump’s most loyal followers, many will begin to question whether his beautiful wall is worth such great suffering and inconvenience.

So how long will it be before we reach the breaking point? My own guess is that within the next two or three weeks one of two things will happen. Either the president will declare victory and agree to sign a bill financing the shuttered agencies. Or else at least fourteen Republican Senators will provide the fourteen votes needed to override a presidential veto.

About the Author:

Steve Slavin has a PhD in economics from NYU, and taught for over thirty years at Brooklyn College, New York Institute of Technology, and New Jersey’s Union County College. He has written sixteen math and economics books including a widely used introductory economics textbook now in its eleventh edition (McGraw-Hill) and The Great American Economy (Prometheus Books) which was published last August.

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