When the government shuts down, who loses?

By Mark A. Kellner
Posted January 07, 2019

Three weeks into the latest shutdown of the U.S. government’s “non-essential” services, many Americans are beginning to feel the effects, ranging from minor inconveniences to major disruptions.

The minor issues include the temporary closure of some museums operated by the Smithsonian Institution, the country’s national repository of historical artifacts and curios. Smithsonian museums in and around Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, are on the verge of closing—if they haven’t already shut their doors—potentially disappointing thousands of visitors, including out-of-town tourists and school groups.

Other consequences are starting to pile up, such as massive amounts of trash and even human waste in some of the country’s parks managed by the National Park Service, which are open during the shutdown but lack the workers who normally tidy up after visitors. Near San Francisco, officials closed the Point Reyes National Seashore over health concerns. In Yosemite National Park, a man fell and died, officials said. That visitor had illegally brought his dog on a trail, The Washington Post reported. It’s unknown whether doing so contributed to the fatality.

CNN reported a wide catalog of complaints from federal workers and their family members over the shutdown, including serious concerns about being able to meet rent or mortgage payments, pay for medical procedures, or keep children in highly coveted (and necessary) day-care programs.

Prepare for the Unexpected

If you’re counting on a federal income tax refund this new year, you may have to wait a bit longer, CNBC.com reports. The Internal Revenue Service, which has already been hit by employee furloughs, hasn’t provided contingency plans for processing returns during tax season, the news service reports. Their advice to American taxpayers? “Gather your documents now and prepare for the unexpected,” CNBC said.

While the latest government shutdown is centered on a conflict between President Donald J. Trump and Congress over issues of border security funding, it’s neither the first nor, at this writing, the longest. Shutdowns have been recorded in the Bill Clinton administration, where one lasted 21 days, and during the presidency of Barack Obama, there was a 17-day shutdown.

While there’s plenty of blame to go around whenever the federal government’s operations are curtailed, there’s also no shortage of woes for those subjected to the closure. It’s just not fun to miss minor, or major, government services. And for the government’s employees, going without a paycheck is tough—even if back pay will be caught up once the shutdown ends.

Kimberlee Roberts, whom CNN described as “a stay-at-home mother of three” whose husband works for the Customs and Border Protection service, complained her spouse was asked to work without a paycheck during the shutdown. “If my husband is considered ‘essential’ enough to need to work while the government is closed, he should be ‘essential’ enough to pay,” she told the network.

It’s difficult to argue with Mrs. Roberts’ logic, of course, and she offers one of many, many reasons why shutting down a government isn’t a good idea for so many people affected by the closure.

Are ALL Governments Fallible?

But we know, through the study of Scripture and of history, that governments established by fallible, sinful human beings can be problematic. Under Moses, some of the Israelites freed from grueling slavery in Egypt grumbled about their provisions—and their leaders. Those who rebelled alongside Korah received his fate: The earth swallowed them up! (See Numbers 16:32.)

Not content to be led by those God appointed to judge Israel, the people demanded a king, and in turn received several who were more sinful and wicked than anyone could imagine. Yes, David and Solomon were good rulers, but each had their shortcomings. Saul, Ahab, and Rehoboam, however, were each deeply flawed individuals whose transgressions had severe impacts on the people.

Finding a government that is “good” all of the time can be a challenge, since no human government has ever been without fault. But God’s promised government for man’s future is a different, and more hopeful story.

Pastor Doug Batchelor talks about this government—and the contrast between God’s perfect rulership and man’s far less-perfect one—during a Bible Answers Live broadcast called “Unfailing Government.” He explains what happened in the African nation of Zimbabwe a few years ago when the government’s actions caused massive hyperinflation of prices, making the currency worthless overnight.

In that program, he offers a free book by evangelist Joe Crews called Heaven: Is It for Real? Yes, heaven—the one God has designed and the one Jesus is preparing right now—will be a perfect society administered the way the Lord always intended. You may not know it, but the earth was created to be a paradise, and it was one until sin entered the picture.

You can be sure of this: In heaven, there will never, ever be a “government shutdown.” God will be “on the job” 24/7, and this paradise will meet every need, without any Congressional votes to make it happen!

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