Governmental actions affect us all

Staff Editorial

At the date of publication of this article, the government will have been shut down for 25 days.

That means 25 days that one third of federal workers have gone without pay.

The shutdown is the result of a political disagreement over funds demanded by President Trump for his border wall.

And although those who have lost pay — including those working for the Transportation Security Administration and the Food and Drug Administration, among many others — are among the most directly impacted by the shutdown, the situation affects us all.

Even in what can often feel like the bubble of university life, this is not an issue that can be ignored, even by the least politically inclined.

The lost income of federal employees, for instance, means less spending.

As of Jan. 11, the United States economy had already lost $3.6 billion dollars, according to a U.S. News World Report article from the same day.

In the past, government shutdowns have threatened the status of students relying on financial aid to fund their education.

The elimination of financial aid is not an imminent threat in the current shutdown because the U.S. Department of Education is already fully funded, according to a Jan. 11 Chicago Tribune article.

If the shutdown continues, as President Trump has warned it might, this could change.

Regardless, the shutdown impacts each of us in some way, shape or form.

Hunger Free Vermont, an organization funded by Vermont’s Department for Children, has been working with the Student Government Association to help alleviate food insecurity in the UVM community.

Food insecurity is a widespread issue that impacts as much as 25 percent of students.

Those receiving 3SquaresVT benefits, or food stamps, will be forced to meet rushed deadlines, receive food stamps earlier and budget accordingly, according to a Jan. 11 email from SGA President Ethan Foley.

The fallout from the current government shutdown is a perfect representation of the greater fallout that could come if the nation continues to be uncompromisingly divided.

Students who travel between school and home by airplane may be stranded during breaks should TSA workers cease to work in certain airports.

This has already begun to happen around the country, according to a Jan. 11 New York Times article.

Furthermore, the pressure the shutdown places on taxpayers and the threat it poses toward the stability of those relying on government adds to the strain already felt by UVM students and their families.

The government shutdown not only threatens those who help keep the U.S. up and running.

It threatens the nation as a whole and deserves to be treated as such.

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This article updated at 12:09 p.m. Jan. 18 to include the following statement from Hunger Free Vermont:

We are not just funded by the Vermont Department of Children and Families.  We do get some funding from state and federal grants, but all of that funding taken together amounts to about 20 percent of our annual budget.  That leaves 80 percent of our funding coming from the generous investments of individuals, businesses, and private foundations.