The model of American government is fairly unique, and significantly different to other democratic nations across the western world. Though the federal government retains ultimate power, beneath its wings are the law makers and governors of 50 individual and somewhat independent national states, who are able to wield an influence that is shaped by their own perceptions and ideals. While this may be generally seen as something positive which prevents the federal government from imposing an authoritarian will, it has and will continue to cause issues where local legislation differs vehemently from the values of the Whitehouse.

Tackling Arizona’s Immigration Law

This internal conflict was reflected by recent events in Arizona this week, where a federal appeals court affirmed a previous injunction imparted on the states much debated immigration law. The law, which would empower local law enforcement officers to detain suspected illegal immigrants and help in their eventual deportation, was delayed last year after Barack Obama’s administration sued while claiming that the process of apprehending and deporting immigrants is the sole responsibility of the federal government.

After being prevented at the 11th hour last year and now delayed for the longer term, Arizona state officials are considering their options and are expected to issue a petition to the Supreme Court of the US. Their argument remains strong and considered, and claims that their proposed legislation is a response to the inability of federal government to secure the nations borders and effectively manage immigration. Given the negative consequences that illegal immigration can reap within communities, they clearly feel that they have a duty to protect their citizens accordingly.

However, they appear to be in a minority, and even influential

Yesterday we discussed the current stalemate facing the US government, and the potential for a federal shutdown that would have a discernible impact nationwide. However, while opposing factions of government and personal persuasion are having a stalling effect on the negotiations, it is interesting to consider exactly what the consequences would be should a resolution fail to be reached by midnight on this coming Friday.

Of course he concept of a federal government shutdown, whether it be partial or more widespread, is one that causes great concern for citizens. However, it is a rather vague and ill defined notion, and one that gives little indication as to the exact implications for society at large. So, what would be the immediate or long term consequences of enforced government inactivity, both in terms of the nations financial performance and the welfare of its workers and citizens?

The Financial Implications for a Nation

Financially, the partial closure of government institutions would be especially troublesome, and would create specific issue with regards to tax assessments and the funding of public sector ventures and small business enterprises. In a depressed fiscal climate, the forced inactivity of public sector bodies and their workers will only serve to slow the processes of economic recovery, and create an unhealthy cycle of increasing unemployment and subsequent closure of small and independent businesses.

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