The shutdown that won’t end

The government shutdown, which has plagued the headlines for more than two weeks, has finally ended, and with it, the search for answers begins.

Who won? Who lost? How did something like this happen? Will it happen again?

It’s pretty clear who won and who lost this fight, if you ask me. The “winners” were the politicians (and their funders) who made a name for themselves by plunging the nation into a near crisis.

Ted Cruz, hardly a household name before the government shutdown, is now, for all intents and purposes, a well-known political figure with a prominent future as presidential candidate or in the GOP leadership.

The “losers?” The American people. The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program went offline. Government workers were furloughed into the unemployment line. National parks closed.

While Washington fiddled, the nation burned.

It’s become an obvious and recurring pattern of behavior from the millionaires who run our government and their billionaire funders.

Those who “represent” the American people in Washington allowed oil and gas drilling to continue in our national parks even as veterans and their families were denied the right to visit the memorials honoring those who died in for our country, according to The Huffington Post.

In the grand scheme of things, the folks who collect paychecks from the public treasury are small potatoes, compared to the folks that fund their campaigns.

Take the Walton family, for example. There are perhaps no greater criminals under the sun in these United States than the Waltons, the heirs to the Walton fortune amassed by Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-mart Stores Inc.

The four heirs of the family are worth about $100 billion, or more than the entire bottom 40 percent of income earners in the U.S., according to Forbes.

In three out of the last five federal election cycles, the Waltons (acting through the Wal-mart Political Action Committee) spent $2 million influencing federal elections, according to a report released by Making Change at Wal-mart, a group of Walmart workers seeking higher wages and the right to form a union.

Moreover, most of that money went to candidates who opposed policies that might cut into Walmart’s bottom line.

House members who voted against raising the minimum wage, for example, got the vast majority of those corporate dollars, according to the report.

The government shutdown may now be over, but in reality, it has been shut down for regular folks for a long, long time.

We seem to be locked into an endless ‘shutdown.’ ?The ‘Reagan Revolution’ and the Tea?Party which carries its torch forward today, makes sure of it.

The rich get richer while working people fall behind. The question before us now is this: can we open it back up for the rest of us?

Devin Griggs is president of the Murray State College Democrats.


Column by Devin Griggs, Opinion Editor