How is the government shutdown affecting Americans? Yahoo asked those impacted to share their stories. Here’s one.
COMMENTARY | My father retired from a state government job after 30 years. When the Great Recession hit, he found a new job working at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial along the Mississippi River in St. Louis. Now, after nearly five years on the job, he has no choice but to sit out his part-time job as a museum worker at the St. Louis Arch.
My father and mother live on a fixed income. Everything is budgeted to the penny. The part-time job provided nearly $150 per week to my parents to help them get by during the economic downturn. Their house is paid for, but cars need gas, stomachs need food and my parents need medical supplies such as regular prescriptions.
My brothers and sisters saw the government shutdown coming weeks ago and we prepared. All of us chip in to help Mom and Dad with expenses. My wife and I live about four hours away and can’t provide physical help so we will send my parents about $100 per week until the Arch reopens.
For us, that means we’ll eat out less. Shopping trips to Springfield about 35 miles to the north will be restricted until further notice. My daughter may have to curtail some of her college activities during her freshman year. My son may not get to attend as many sporting events as we promised. If the shutdown is prolonged into December, Hanukkah and Christmas presents may have to be curtailed.
My wife, kids and their extended families have been through worse. If anything, the government shutdown is bringing my children closer to my siblings and their kids. We’ll be fine in the long run as my parents raised a great bunch of kids who became outstanding adults with careers and middle-class jobs.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch says closing the Arch “ruins” family vacations. A Washington Post headline warns citizens to “brace” for a “prolonged government shutdown.” At this point, for families like my parents who depend upon the government for income, “ruin” and “prolonged” don’t sound good together. If the 535 members of Congress, from both parties, can’t get their acts together, a prolonged ruin is exactly what this country will become.
William Browning, in his mid-40s, lives in Branson, Mo., with his wife and two children. He is originally from St. Louis where his parents have resided their entire lives. His five siblings are helping his parents get by during the federal government shutdown.