The Cost of a Government Shutdown: Political Games with Serious Consequences (Late Post)

Bi-partisan politics may lead to another government shutdown, with potentially devastating effects for the economy.

In lieu of the September 30 deadline for Congress to finalize the budget for the government, Planned Parenthood has become the hot button that may lead to yet another government shutdown. With the looming possibility of a government shutdown, it’s time to take a look at how this would affect the economy and our pocketbooks.

Quick hint: It ain’t pretty.

But why?

The government has “shut down” 18 times, since 1976, and it’s always because Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on how to allocate the money to various agencies, departments, and programs. Out of the 18 times the government has shut down, abortion has been in the mix at least six of those times. Agreeing on whether or not the government should allow abortions to be paid for, or even subsidized, is such a contentious issue that, statistically speaking, it can cause hundreds of thousands of federal workers to be laid off.

This year, a series of videos about Planned Parenthood’s role in abortions has given Republicans new impetus in fighting the group’s $528 million in federal funding. Meanwhile, President Obama will veto any budget proposal that doesn’t have the funds allocated to the organization. With both sides of the aisle puffing up their chests in regards to Planned Parenthood, a consensus might not come for long while after September 30.

Ok, so now what?

The government shutting down creates a ripple effect throughout the United States and global economy. Although it’s not as serious as a “fire sale” like the fourth installment of the Die Hard series, when hackers create total chaos by shutting down the government, it still sucks. Here’s a list of a few government programs and departments that partially, if not completely, close up shop:

  • Ability One
  • Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
  • Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau
  • Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board
  • Civilian military workers
  • Commodity Futures Trading Commission
  • Consumer Product Safety Commission
  • Corporation of Cational and Community Service
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Interior
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Transportation

And here’s a few more:

  • Election Assistance Commission
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Executive Office of the President
  • Export-Import Bank of the United States—Keep on the lookout! Abortions might let this slide back in!
  • FDIC Office of Inspector General
  • Federal Communications Commission
  • Federal Election Commission
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Federal Labor Relations Authority
  • Federal Maritime Commission
  • Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Financial Crimes Enforcement Network
  • Financial Management Service
  • General Service Administration
  • Institute of Museum and Library Services
  • Inter-American Foundation
  • Internal Revenue Service—calling this a “service” is rather ironical.
  • International Boundary and Water Commission
  • International Boundary Commission
  • International Joint Commission

Screw it, we’re on a roll:

  • National Archives and Records Administration
  • National Capital Planning Commission
  • National Council on Disability
  • National Gallery of Art
  • National Labor Relations Board
  • National Science Foundation
  • National Transportation Safety Board
  • Nuclear Regulatory Commission
  • Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
  • Office of Government Ethics
  • Postal Regulatory Commission
  • Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board
  • Small Business Administration
  • Smithsonian
  • Treasury Departmental Offices
  • Inspector General for Tax Administration
  • Office of Inspector General
  • U.S. Courts
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • U.S. Office of Special Council
  • U.S. Trade and Development Agency
  • Udall Foundation
  • United States Access Board
  • United States African Development Foundation
  • United States Interagency Council on Homelessness
  • U.S. Commission of Fine Arts
  • U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
  • U.S. Postal Service Inspector General
  • USDA-Departmental Management
  • USDA Food Nutrition and Consumer Services
  • USDA- Natural Resources Conservation Service
  • USDA Office of Budget and Program Analysis
  • USDA Office of Communications
  • USDA Office of Ethics
  • USDA Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
  • USDA Research, Education and Economics
  • USDA Risk Management Agency
  • USDA Rural Development
  • NASA

My apologies for the long list. There are probably a few that I missed. The fact that a government shutdown could potentially lay off, or furlough, 500,000 federal employees is something to be noted. According to the numbers of the last shutdown in 2013, $300 million a day was taken out of the economy. The number of employees laid off was compared the total amount employed by Target, Google, Exxon Mobil, and General Motors. That’s a whole bunch to say the least.

In the $300 million per day taken out of the economy, you have business transactions cancelled, paychecks being halted, loans not issued, and services stopped — all of which keeps money from being invested and consumed. In the last shutdown, you had the majority of federal workers not on furlough, but about a third of the 3.5 million public servants waiting on paychecks. Those that didn’t really get affected by the shutdown were mainly military workers and supporting staff. We can expect the same this year.

You Gon’ Learn Today…

That long list gives rise to the fact that the government is the largest employer in the United States with the average salary for federal employees close to $80,000. As nearly one-third of households making over $75,000 per year living paycheck-to-paycheck, this can cause some serious turmoil for many families.
Another nugget to leave with is that members of Congress and the President, aka, the children hitting each other in the backseat of the car, still get paid. They have nothing to lose with these government shutdowns. If anything, this almost perfectly staged dispute gives them a chance to pad their resumes and spend more time in front of television cameras.

My Take

Be sure to remember that the people behind the shutdown are still getting paid when you notice a chunk of your paycheck has disappeared into the “federal withholding” box. You’re funding their blatant disregard to deadlines, furloughed employees, and the economy. Let’s hope they get their shit together.

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