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The news-media coverage of the effects of the government shutdown on furloughed workers raises existential questions about our country that are being completely ignored.

Are there really millions of employed Americans who, after missing only one paycheck, cannot feed and house their families? If so, one of two things must be true. Either capitalism has gravely failed us or, as a people, we have lost the self-discipline to budget and live within our means. Perhaps it’s both.

Regardless, it reveals issues that are much more critical to the country’s survival than border security.

Richard Schwartz, Seattle