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.
Traditionally, the US has been revered as one of the most significant national influences across the globe, especially in terms of international affairs and trade. For decades it has led the way in terms of innovative technology, financial growth and cultivating democratic relations with other countries, often with positive and generative effects. However, as the country enters a period of domestic turbulence, there are increasing concerns that it’s influence is diminishing, and that the resident government is stretched too far in attempting to resolve home and international issues.
Resolving Recent International Issues
This is an interesting concept, and poses a question as to whether the nation’s government are caught within a disruptive cycle of indecisive and poorly directed rule. In this instance, this means that the nations governor’s are suffering a collective crisis of confidence in their principles and methodology, and perhaps attempting to meet one challenge too many to restore their sense of self and relevance. For example, the US continue to immerse themselves in international affairs and turbulence concerning Egypt and Libya, while domestic protests and economic issues have continued to spiral and have a negative impact on society as a whole.
Many of the social issues that trouble society are interlinked, and heavily affiliated with everyday interactions. This can create problems in the way that individuals spend their day to day existence, especially where they have a pre-conceived notion of fear that restricts them in their chosen pursuits. This could well be considered as a disruptive and potentially divisive social cycle, and one which can have a negative impact on the overall perception, health and collective abilities of society.
Restrictions in Child Health
An excellent example of this social cycle can be seen in the level of childhood obesity in the US, which is continuing to rise and become an epidemic throughout the nation. This is something which is affecting many western cultures, especially those which encourage specific freedom of thought and deed, and has many possible causes cited for its increase. However, very rarely is the root cause discussed or identified, and many misconceptions exist that concern the role of parents in this issue.
Parents are often criticised for allowing their children expansive access to video games, and not encouraging them to socialize or indulge in additional outdoor pursuits. However, while they are considered as lazy or ill informed guardians, it is possible that their willingness to let their children spend excessive amounts of time indoors is partly due to trepidation. This fear could be attributed to violent crime or instances of child abuse, but regardless of its cause its manifestation can be seen through their conduct towards their children.
As the US and other western economies struggle with the continuing cycle of recession and growth, there is an increasing desire to create a more stable economic environment. This is not only an aspiration of the federal government, but also of the voters and individual members of society, who are more determined than ever to maintain responsible spending and saving trends throughout 2011. This is a promising portent for the year ahead, and suggests that societies are finally heeding the harsh lessons of financial hardship.
However, this particular type of resolution has become a typical reaction to periods of recession, but is often not supported by consistent action once the economy experiences renewed growth. As job creation soars and unemployment falls, financial stability is temporarily stored, encouraging a relaxed comfort amongst individuals who develop a more casual ethos towards saving and spending. There are many potential reasons for this, but an inherent lack of fiscal awareness and training may well be the most pertinent.
The Foundations of Education
The key to any successful teaching is to begin it early enough to influence behavioural trends. This is the accepted logic for all core curriculum subjects, including English, Mathematics and Science, which are all taught to youngsters from the age of 5 and continued as standard throughout the duration of high school. What this practice suggests is that governments and teaching bodies understand that their children are most susceptible to learning during this time, and therefore how important this period is in developing a desired level of conducts.
As the US continues its gradual and yet persistent recovery from the global recession, the New Year heralds the beginnings of fresh hope and expectation for the unemployed citizens in society. Obviously, one of the most documented consequences of economic hardship and turmoil is unemployment, where redundancy and the closure of companies forces individuals from their positions and into an ever competitive job seekers market.
Of course, the issue in an economic recovery is that there is not enough positions to satisfy the increased number of unemployed citizens. This is because companies and organizations often choose to utilize this period as a time for consolidation, and are therefore loathe to expand their enterprise and employ additional bodies. This can lead to a frustrating and ultimately fruitless job search for many, and create a prominent sense of apathy and depression amongst large sections of society.
The Signs Ahead for 2011
Given these accepted economic theories, it is surprising to learn that the indicators are particularly positive for 2011. Although it is expected that the year will still see only a gradual and intermittent improvement in terms of unemployment levels, the same period of time is set to see the creation of between 2 and 3 million jobs within the US economy. This is a natural progression for economic climates afflicted by a recession, as companies emerge from financial hardship and look to expand their companies to previous capacity.