The nation is waking up this morning to a government that is shutting down. There was no agreement reached last night as the famous Ohio clock struck 12, and now the country must move forward in this uncertainty. About 800,000 federal workers will not go to work today, which according to CNN, could cost federal workers put on furlough as much as $1 billion dollars a week. Most non-essential government programs will be suspeded. This is the first government shutdown since the winter of 1995-96, during the Clinton administration.
So, that actually happened. Now how will it affect the everyday public? Well, according to AP, museums along the Washington Mall will be closed, as well as state parks and the white house visitors center. Agencies like NASA and the EPA will run on essentials only, and those will only go in to change email and phone greetings, and other preparations for being closed.
Essential government employees, like food inspectors, air traffic control, and border patrol will stay on the job. The military will continue to be paid, thank goodnes. We haven't sunk that low yet, but many federal workers will not be paid until this standoff is over. The postal service will continue to operate, as it is self-funded.
Enrollment will still open today for people looking for insurance under the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Social Security checks will still be dispersed, and Medicare and Medicaid fees will still be paid to doctors on time.
The economic impact from the government shutdown could be enormous. The effects will ripple into related businesses cutting back on non-essential employees, which will encourage those employees to cut back on their spending. There will also be hesitation in investments and an undeniable interruption in markets.
The economic impact on us everyday people, could very possibly be at least 10 times greater than the simple calculation of wages lost by federal workers, said Brian Kessler, who is an economist with Moody's Analytics. His firm estimates that a three to four week shutdown will cost the economy about $55 billion dollars!
"What's maddening is this is all totally voluntary. It's totally unnecessary," said Kessler.
Hopefully the shutdown will not last very long. Hopefully our Congress can get it together soon. But if they don't, the impact to our economy will grow significantly worse in the coming weeks. For example, many federal contractors will have to cut staff if they don't get their usual government business. Small businesses will be stalled, as the government will not be processing loans for them.
Even travel and tourism will be effected, as national parks and monuments will be closed and visas will not be issued to foreign travellers. We will just have to wait and see what this government can do in the coming days and weeks to repair our country, hopefully before things get too muddled.
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