The Government Shutdown: How It Affects Us

by Samuel Willis

 On October 1st the government went into a state of shutdown, halting the operation of many federal facilities.

What!? Why is the government shut down?

According to the Constitution, Congress is supposed to pass a new budget for different parts of the Federal government annually. Instead, though, Congress has been passing “continuing resolutions” for the last few years. These “continuing resolutions” are essentially a repeat of the last year’s budget, with an 8% increase to account for inflation and economic growth.

This year, however, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and the Democrat-controlled Senate can’t seem to agree on a budget. The House has so far tried to pass a resolution that defunds the “Obama-care” act, only to be rejected, as well as one that delays it by a year, which was also rejected. Both the President and the Senate have stated that they want a “clean resolution” the same as the previous years–and that they will not negotiate.

As of right now, the government has no funding and it appears that it may remain that way for some time (possibly several weeks)

OK then, the government is shut down… What does that mean?

Well, it means several rather unpleasant things. Namely, any “non-essential” government processes have been stopped cold. The military, defense, and tax facilities are still being funded, but many museums, national parks, and federal foundations are temporarily closed. Also, 800,000 Federal workers are furloughed (placed on temporary unpaid leave) for as long as their jobs aren’t funded. Due to this instant lack of jobs and closing of federal services, every day we spend in this shutdown makes our economy worse.

And… how does that affect me?

Well, the worse shape the economy is in, the worse situations we are going to have to deal with later. If that’s not immediate enough for you, then one of the important facilities that was (at least partially) shut down was the department that deals with food safety, so many FDA food inspections have been delayed. Enjoy your meals!

Finally, probably the most threatening part of this is that the government still has to pass a new debt ceiling. We are about to hit our maximum deficit, and if the government doesn’t recover from this quickly enough and pass a new debt ceiling then we will likely hit it around October 18th. If that happens, then interest rates on the national deficit will go up and any debt holding countries will have the ability to call in on their loans in the form of US assets.

To sum it up, this shutdown is not a good thing…

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