Invasion, revolution, horrific natural disaster; these events spring to mind when we think of governments shutting down. If you look around you’ll find none of these factors present and yet, here we stand. In a sense, it’s very embarrassing. Especially when you consider that even amidst complete civil turmoil, Syria can still pay its bills.
Yesterday at midnight, the stalemate between the House and the Senate over raising the debt ceiling came to a head with the shutdown of the government for the first time since the Clinton administration.
The Affordable Care Act, affectionately known as Obamacare, is the source of contention for this debacle. The law sits in the crosshairs of many GOP congressman who refuse to vote for any increase in the debt ceiling without concessions by Democrats. Defunding this program or delayed implementation are their main demands.
The degree to which the GOP is dragging the issue out is far past the line of ridiculous. Contrary to what you may have heard, Obamacare is a law. The Supreme Court declared the individual mandate constitutional just over a year ago, and since then Republicans have tried to repeal it 42 times.
While complicated, the bill does not spell ruin for this country. No one would say the law is perfect, but these constant attempts to repeal it leave our country crippled.
Yesterday 400,000 Pentagon workers stayed home with no pay, and that’s just a small portion of the effects of the federal shutdown.
Confounded? Let us help: The entire government is being shut down until further notice? Negative. 800,000 United States government workers deemed as “non essential” or “non accepted” have been furloughed, meaning a forced, non paid day off.
What has been shut down?
All national parks, national monuments and a number of non essential services have been suspended until further notice. This includes the national zoo, Smithsonian museums and IRS audit appointments.
What does this mean for me?
Basically the shut down just throws sand in the machine of government. Processes will move slower, services will be delayed and until the government runs out of money sometime mid-October, everything will just move slowly. So unless you were planning a vacation to a national park in the next few weeks, you can carry on with your life normally.
What happens if we don’t sort this out?
If congress fails to raise the debt ceiling before we hit the debt ceiling in mid-October, the Federal Reserve will have to resort to “extraordinary measures” in paying the country’s bills. Though this hasn’t happened before, experts predict the Fed will have to pay bills either selectively in order of importance, or pay bills on a first come first serve basis until liquid cash assets are depleted.