To the Editor:

So: it’s really happened.

The federal government has been shut down for nearly a week, threatening the livelihoods and well-being of hundreds of thousands of middle-class families and small businesses. It’s a good time for us to step back and look at who gets hurt – and why.

Small businesses get hurt. They get important loans from the government. Iowa is home to 61,633 small businesses. People who are newly eligible for Social Security get hurt – there’s no one to process their claims. Federal employees get hurt – they’re not rich to begin with and now they are going to start missing paychecks.

That’s just a small sample of who gets hurt because Congress couldn’t do the one simple thing it needed to do to keep government operating. And why? It’s due to a doomed effort by some in Congress to get of, or at least delay, the Affordable Care Act. Back in 2010, Republicans tried to block its passage and failed. They tried to have it declared unconstitutional and failed there too. And then they ran a presidential campaign that was based in part on repeal and they failed a third time.

This is patently ridiculous. Rep. Tom Latham needs to stop playing partisan games and get our government up and running again.

Megan Smith,

West Des Moines