Q’s Corner: Reopening the government

President Donald Trump agreed to end his tantrum and sign a bill reopening the government Friday. This came after he and the Republicans in Congress played chicken with the lives of 800,000 federal workers by shutting the government down for 35 days.

The bill provides temporary funding for the government until Feb. 15, at which point the government will either pass a long-term spending bill or shut everything down again.

“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,” Trump said in a speech at the Rose Garden. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”

The not-so-veiled threat in that statement is that Trump will invoke emergency powers to waste money, at least $21.6 billion dollars, according to an internal document from the Department of Homeland Security, on a wall that would be as useless as the shutdown.

Proponents of the wall ignore that the majority of undocumented immigration is the result of people overstaying their visas. The Center for Migration Studies found in 2014 that two-thirds of all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. were overstayers.

The wall is a giant waste of money, especially considering that the U.S. deficit rose to $779 billion in the 2018 fiscal year. That’s a 17 percent increase from last year and the largest number since 2012.

Trump and congressional Republicans put 800,000 federal employees, along with the workers in roughly 10,000 federally contracted companies, at risk for such a pointless and incredibly asinine reason. He and the Republicans didn’t get anything out of it. Nothing has changed except that workers didn’t get paid for over a month.

Employment website CareerBuilder found that 78 percent of workers live paycheck to paycheck. The shutdown cost the workers and contractors two paychecks. These people are two paychecks behind in a society where, on average, each one means life and death.

This month-long debacle was pointless, and if this isn’t the impetus needed for Americans to vote these clowns out in 2020, it’s doubtful they will find one.