So it looks like we may head into a government shut down as DC is still bickering. With the NFL lock-out, budget battles in many states, and now the US government, it looks like many of us everyday people will feel the hit.
The list of collateral effects of a potential government shutdown keeps growing and people are none too pleased about it. Here are just a few of the negative impacts that could arise if Congress and the White House fail to reach an agreement on the budget (click here to view in chart form):
- The lawmakers who hold the cards will still get paid. Their staffers might be furloughed, though. That has prompted a few lawmakers to announce they’ll refuse shutdown pay,but even that has elicited critiques of political posturing.
- Roughly 800,000 federal workers won’t get paid because they’re considered nonessential and therefore, the first to be furloughed. That includes people who work in national parks because they’ll be closed, ruining countless long family road trips. And it’s not just the loss of income that hurts – for many, it’s being labeled dispensable when they know their jobs are anything but nonessential.
- What happened to all that talk of helping small businesses? Many government contractors are just that. We’re talking about IT firms and software companies, to name a few, who may be sent home as well.
- If the government shuts down for an extended period of time, the Department of Defense says troops, including those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, may not be paid on time. Troops are guaranteed back-pay but the pinch will be more immediate for military families at home, who may be forced to choose between food and rent if they don’t know when to expect a check in the mail.
- In the District, trash pickup will be suspended in the event of a government shutdown. In response, some enterprising Facebookers have proposed a solution: “If Boehner shuts down the government I am taking my trash to his house.” In addition to trash pickup, the nation’s capitol stands to miss out on another cherished tradition: this weekend’s Cherry Blossom Festival.
- As the shutdown looms, some political leaders are taking the opportunity to fundraise and rally their supporters. The executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent out an appeal asking for a minimum $5 donation saying the organization wants to raise $100,000 in the next 36 hours.
- Numerous services administered by the federal government will come to a halt. That means no new approvals of loans by the Federal Housing Administration or the Small Business Administration; no IRS processing of paper tax returns or refunds; no issuing of regular passports or visas (emergency visas and passports will be processed). In fact, anything that requires permits probably will not be processed.
- You’ll still get your Social Security checks but don’t expect anyone to be around to answer your questions about benefits. The people who take questions on Social Security and Medicare questions will not be at work and most government websites will shut down or have limited functionality.
- Various agencies with the Department of Health and Human Services will operate in a patchwork fashion. The National Institutes of Health will not accept new patients or start new clinical trials. The Food and Drug Administration won’t operate at full capacity but will have some inspectors on staff. As a result, all FDA inspections of food processing facilities and drug manufacturing plants will be prioritized by risk.
- Word is getting around that a government shutdown doesn’t actually save taxpayers money. For one, it will cost the government money to ensure a smooth transition to a shutdown. Then there’s the lost revenue from a variety of sources, from government services to gift shops in government-run attractions such as Yosemite National Park and DC’s National Gallery of Art.