STATE COLLEGE — When Betty Long found out the federal government was shutting down on Monday night, her head was spinning.
The 59-year-old Patton Township resident said Tuesday that she collects Social Security and wasn’t sure how that would affect her until she heard on the news that those on Social Security would be OK.
“It makes you think, ‘How is this going to hurt me, since the government can’t agree with each other?’ ” she said. “Now that I know some of the details, I’m a little more at ease, but it’s a shame the people who run this country are putting its people in trouble.”
The consensus around downtown State College on Tuesday afternoon was to point the finger to leadership at the federal level, saying representatives needed to put their views aside and try to compromise.
“We have people in government who don’t talk to each other. There are people stuck in their way and their own opinions,” said Glen Blume, of State College. “There is a lack of people in government listening to each other, and it gets us nowhere.”
Sam Stacey, 39, of State College, agreed.
“I think it’s a shame they can’t collaborate and compromise on things that are so important,” Stacey said. “Sometimes it’s not all about them. I’m not very political until I hear about something like this.”
Stacey said this hasn’t directly affected him yet, but he thinks there will be a ripple effect.
“Who will make up for the government loss? Us?” he asked. “Eventually, it will hit us all if this goes on long enough.”
Karim Lehtihet, 20, a Penn State student studying rehabilitation and human services, said the more he hears about the government shutdown, the more invested he is in learning about politics.
“To be honest, I love and hate it all at the same time. The government is supposed to do us good until they can’t agree on something and call it quits,” Lehtihet said. “Right now, I’m not too concerned. I think there is only so much we can worry about. They are just going to do what they want to do, and it won’t be a lot of good worrying over it.”
Chili’s restaurant employee Sam Coble, 52, said the only way he thinks the government will come out of the shutdown is by petitioning.
“I just work at a restaurant, but I know there are people locally who’ll probably lose their job for a while,” Coble said. “Where does that get people except for angry and upset? It takes one person to stand up and do something like petition.”
Coble said he would attempt to contact local politicians to see what he can do to help.
“I ain’t worried about me. I’m just worried about others. I think someone needs to go down to D.C. and protest to get some attention,” Coble said. “I have trust in our local lawmakers that they will figure out a way to help.”
Coble added that he remembers the last time the federal government shut down 17 years ago during the Clinton administration.
“It’s always the same,” he said. “It all comes down to differences of opinion, and it hurts this country because our leaders can’t make up their mind and agree.”
Britney Milazzo can be reached at 231-4648. Follow her on Twitter @M11azzo.