You’re going to feel the effects of a government shutdown
Shutdowns don’t come cheap. The last time the government was forced to close up shop — for 16 days in late 2013 — it cost taxpayers $2 billion in lost productivity, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Two earlier ones — in late 1995 and early 1996 — cost the country $1.4 billion.
But what will the shutdown mean for you? Will your daily life be affected?
(The answer’s yes, so keep reading.)
Here are 7 ways the government shutdown will affect you.
1. Vacation, all I ever wanted: Need to get away? Well, you can’t. At least not to national parks. Or to national zoos. Or to national museums. They’ll be shuttered. That’s more than 300 National Park Service sites closed, millions of visitors turned away.
Were you thinking more along the lines of a trip to France? If you don’t already have a passport, you might have to bid that adieu — you might not get your blue book in time. When the government threw a hissy fit in 1995, more than 200,000 applications for passports went unprocessed.
But according to the State Department, offices will remain open because they generate enough in fees to support their operation. Any offices located in a federal building affected by the shutdown, however, may not be able to open.
2. Holiday. Celebrate: Don’t go to work if you’re a federal employee. You’re on furlough. (Offer not valid for workers in “critical services,” such as air traffic controllers, hazardous waste handlers and food inspectors.) During the 2013 shutdown, about 800,000 federal employees were furloughed.
Do take some time to celebrate. In previous shutdowns, everyone who stayed home was paid retroactively after peace returned to Washington.
3. I won’t back down: The men and women in uniform will stay on the job. So, that’s one sliver of good news.
4. If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street: You may be thinking, “No functioning government, no need to pay taxes.” Think again. The Man would continue to collect taxes. US bonds would still be issued. And other essential banking functions will go on.
5. Wait a minute, Mr. Postman: You know that whole “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night” thing? Apparently, the US Postal Service works through shutdowns as well. Sorry, you won’t catch a break from the junk mail.
6. Pass the ammunition: Not so fast. A shutdown would affect the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Translation: That gun permit you wanted to get processed may not happen anytime soon if this goes on for a while.
7. Money (that’s what I want): Well, if you own a small business and needed a loan from the government, you’ll have to wait, depending on how long this lasts. If you were planning to buy a house and needed a federal loan, you’ll have to wait. If you’re a veteran, you might have to make a few trips to the mailbox before that check arrives.
If you’re on Social Security, however, don’t worry. Social Security payments were sent during the last shutdown.