Not much gets shut down in government ’shutdown’

Bring on the shutdown!

Seriously, you can’t turn on a TV or radio and not hear about the imminent “shutdown” of the federal government.

I’m sick of hearing it.

Republicans were considered the losers of the last government shutdown, in part because House Speaker Newt Gingrich told reporters Clinton made him sit in the back of Air Force One.

Republicans were considered the losers of the last government shutdown, headlines like this did not help.

Why? Because it is all political posturing. Very little will be “shut down.”

Don’t believe me? Fortunately, we have fairly recent history to look to for proof.

Since 1981, there have been five government shutdowns, but only the two in 1995-1996, which pitted President Bill Clinton against House Speaker Newt Gingrich, are remembered by anyone except historians and federal employees who got a few extra, albeit nervous, paid vacation days.

Who was affected in the last shutdown? Largely those on vacation — tourist attractions maintained by the government (like the Smithsonian museums) and some national parks were shuttered. The issuance of passports was delayed. Other paperwork was delayed by the 21 days of less work.

But everyone kept getting their government checks on time. And the military kept working, and so did the FBI, CIA and 87 percent of federal workers deemed “essential.”

Politicians have until midnight Friday to cement a budget deal.  So far, they’ve not been able to agree to cut $33 billion from the federal budget. If I was $14 trillion in debt, I think I could vote “yes” to trimming at least that much from my spending.

I am betting they run it up to the wire to maximize how much face time potential 2012 presidential candidates get on Fox or CNN. A pity they can’t use their time keeping federal workers working.

UPDATE: Wednesday, a White House official said the shutdown would close national parks, delay tax refunds and prevent 800,000 workers from going to work. There’s also word that military members would not get paychecks in a timely fashion during a shutdown, but in the past Congress has always made sure servicemen are taken care of.

** The Washington Post has a nice Q&A on what effect the shutdown would have.

31 comments Add your comment


April 5th, 2011
4:14 pm

FIRST.. this is lame!


April 5th, 2011
4:20 pm

All I knows is when the government shuts down I get a crapload more responses to my craigslist ad.

Old Geezer

April 5th, 2011
4:22 pm

I don’t know who I am voting for in 2012 but I know who I am not voting for.

Hates Republicans

April 5th, 2011
7:40 pm

Hey arrogant Republicans – this will backfire on you big time. And remember – SENIORS DO VOTE

Not Dem or Rep, just a tax paying American

April 5th, 2011
7:52 pm

@ Hates Republicans, when everyone is supported by the government, who do you think will be paying the taxes to keep you butts living high off the hog. Rightttttt. When the government finally has all of you, you will have nothing. Thats how it works. Quit drinking the liberal drink and take a long long look at your kids. Do they deserve a socialist America to try to survive in? Is that what our forfathers left you? No its not. Is that really what you want for their future. To give 85% of their pay to taxes and be given very little back.

Lets try a new concept shall we. No welfare, no handouts, everyone does a job and earns a living for their own families. Wait, wait, we cant have that. Some of you would actually have to get out of bed!


April 5th, 2011
8:54 pm

Um, a Democrat (Alice Rivlin) helped write this bill too. All you republicrats need a reality check.

Winfield J. Abbe

April 5th, 2011
8:55 pm

End all wars immediately. Bring the troops home tomorrow. End all foreign aid immediately. We are the country in need of foreign aid. Cut the defense budget about 90%. We have enough weapons now to destroy the whole earth. Abolish 90% of foreign bases. We cannot be the policeman of the world. Abolish the secret federal reserve bank. End the failed war on drugs. End the failed war on cancer. End most so called “university” research as most of it is worthless corrupt garbage. Abolish the FDA as it is corrupted by the food and pharmaceutical companies.
Abolish the corrupt NCI and NIH. The corrupt heads of these institutions belong in jail. End the outrageous waste of money continuing to keep the conjoined twins alive in Chicago, $ 4 million so far and rising. End all such aid immedidiately. Stop forcing hospitals to treat anyone who comes through the door. Emphasize disease prevention through nutrition. One could think of many more suggestions which, like those above will be ignored. America is bankrupt in more ways than one, but nature will take its course if the corrupt cowards running America continue to fail to act.


April 5th, 2011
9:20 pm


I agree with a good bit of what you said, but consider this: over 50% of the federal budget is for entitlement spending: social security, medicare, medicad assistance and I’m sure other stuff I don’t know about.

Foreign aid is relatively small (look it up, you’ll see). Wars are very expensive and I agree we can’t be the world’s policemen much more. However, until we address ALL of the issues (including social security and medicare) this problem won’t be fixed.

Believe me, I getting pretty close to the age I can get social security and personally don’t want to get hit (selfish…I know…but at least I’m honest), but as a country we will HAVE to address it. Even if it negatively impacts all of us, including me.

There will be no simple fix and if we don’t resolve this pending disaster, watch the dollar fall further and worse case no longer be the world’s reserve currency. If/when that happens, we can’t imagine all the hell we will all share.

I hope we can get our hands around this. Not just for our kids and grandkids, but for US as well.

Dean Steele

April 5th, 2011
9:39 pm

Republican duking it out with the Democrats, it is like the Wrestlemania that came to town last week-end. It’s all a fake match with a lot of hustle and tumble, meant to divert attention from the real problems that these politicos can not even contemplate, much less solve. These politicians, from both of the corporate political parties, are simply actors on a media stage directed by the power complex. Only fools believe it is for real.

Another Voice

April 6th, 2011
8:14 am

The interesting fact that no one seemed to call out —— 87% of workers are deemed “essential.” So, let’s get rid of the 13% of current government workers who are “non-essential” and see what that does for the budget.

2,750,000 federal civilian employees (non-military)
13% of which is 357,000 that would be “non-essential”
at average pay of $60,000 (and not including benefits!)
is $21.45 BILLION.

And that’s a good portion of the $60B+ Republicans want to cut … without touching the sacred cow of Republicans (defense, foreign aid, and keeping taxes low for rich people and businesses) or the sacred cows of Democrats (Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid and other entitlement programs).

But I’m willing to bet neither party is willing to really cut that many workers in the run-up to presidential election year.


April 6th, 2011
8:53 am

I respectfully beg to disagree with you on how minor a shutdown can be. The last government shutdown created problems for families trying to bury veterans. The office that handles them shuts down. And no new applications are accepted during the shutdown too.

The same thing will happen again this time.


April 7th, 2011
12:02 pm

There are two ways to see the future, the conservative stated and feared “socialist” state. Or the alternative liberal feared and rarely coherently stated “two class” (rich and poor) future. We’re headed for one or the other, most likely the later, we can’t aford the first option anymore. The only real question is how long will it take. At previous deficit levels I have feared for the future my kids will have as Americans. But with the deficit skyrocketing at its current rate I fear for my future as well. The problem that seems to be unstated in this discussion is that the money to finance the deficit in large part comes from the sale of treasury security devices (various types of short and long term bonds) to largely foreign governments and other entities. What hapens when they stop buying them? I believe the well is then officially dry.

A Government shutdown will remove more money from an already weak economy and with delays caused by a shutdown to onging Government contracts and interest paid by the Government for failure to pay government obligations on time may ultimately cost the Government more than keeping everything open. But of course those costs are not tracked in real time. They are tracked as future payments once costs are quantified and losses are locked in.


April 7th, 2011
3:39 pm

hey hatesrepublicans, hurry and die will ya


April 8th, 2011
11:37 am

First I would like to begin by stating that I am only 24 years of age and in all my years here on earth I don’t believe I’ve witnessed anything quite like this. War upon war, inflationary gas prices, government controlled media, what can we do for ourselves as well as our neighbors? I believe that such a issue as the the government shutdown, although troublesome indeed, is another ploy created by the federal government as a scare tactic to be used on american citizens. A liquidity trap as some may refer to it as. A tactic used by our own government to essentially scare you and I into withdrawing all of our savings, whatever is in our checking etc. Etc. Watch then as our economy slips further and further into the recession with only a few major options to save us from ourselves, one of which happens to be, you guessed it, another war. I think we need to take the county back for who it really belongs to, us, we the people in whom we are strong ad for whom we can rightfully and accurately depict what is right for our country as well as ourselves on an individual level. Corruption in those who have sociopathic tendencies to begin with has led us down this murky trail of new age tears, no offense at all, and has diminished the morals and upstanding values I once held in high esteem. But if one cannot count on they’re government to support them and not conglomerate corporations with hefty bail-outs then who can I place my trust in? The answer is simple. In you, in I, in us, We the people! Whom this land was originally meant to serve, I only hope others join me and voice they’re opinions and helping to initiate a change because our government obviously cannot handle it.


April 8th, 2011
12:52 pm

No, Atlanta won’t really be effected. But the DC metro area will. A REALLY big piece of the pie? Contractors. Those numbers are not all accounted for. If the feds can’t work, neither can the associated contractors. Thousands of us. Meaning people could get laid off. If no one is is the federal buildings to go eat lunch, the local restaurants go empty. Ripple effects.

Yes, the state park service has hundreds of employees. This means tourists can’t go to the Smithsonian. Events such as the Cherry Blossom festival were to be canceled but the local police (deemed essential) are able to step in and fill positions. The parade for tomorrow was going to be canceled. Tourists flew in from across the country. Say no one could work at Jekyll, or even the state of Florida. Tourists would all go home. Your income is gone.

The federal budget also holds the city of District of Columbia budget and so local government non-essential people will be furloughed as well. Luckily the people that work at the public transportation are deemed essential and the metro and the buses keep moving. But non-essential city of DC employees won’t go to work. That’s right. City employees will be furloughed too. They have deemed positions like public teachers as essential though. I don’t know about the bus drivers.

Some states get money from the federal government. This means that programs won’t get the funding they need to continue. Georgia included. And states have enough funding issues to deal with. Don’t be quite so flippant about this.


April 8th, 2011
1:20 pm

I must correct a huge misconception about this article. “Essential employees” will be required to work during the shut down, however they will not be paid until the shut down is resolved. What company in America would EVER be allowed to get away with this?


April 8th, 2011
1:52 pm

One has to be deemed essential and then be able to survive financially till they can get paid. Contractors that are not at work do not get paid for those hours.


April 8th, 2011
1:57 pm

I am in escow right now. This shut down can potentially screw up my FHA loan. I am really nervous.

R. Kauset

April 8th, 2011
2:06 pm

If the Reps. and the Dems. just didn’t get paid for one month… Do you think that might help everybody out. God knows most of them are loaded anyway.

Governement Worker

April 8th, 2011
2:54 pm

Ok, I’ve had enough. For anyone that thinks shutting down the government will make some sort of grandiose statement to those who have screwed up our country, you are WRONG. The people that will be getting a more than likely UNPAID “vacation” as some are putting it, are NOT THE PEOPLE THAT SHOULD BE SUFFERING. They are the people that work their butts off every day for YOU. The pompous, self- righteous a-holes that need to act like adults and let go of their personal “opinions” for the sake of compromise should be punished…but guess what people, they’ll still be getting a paycheck. Educate yourselves before you make ignorant statements.

Ome Henk (that "socialist" from the Netherlands)

April 8th, 2011
3:50 pm

@Not Dem or Rep, just a tax paying American. Do you belong to the top 1% who never needs to get out of bed? Do you really believe that you can live a great life on government handouts? Does 85% of your income go to the government (Probably not even in your wildest dreams)? Let’s throw away everything that has to do with government, and hand it over to the corporations instead right? Is that your American Dream? Omg, I sure hope not. I will agree that government needs to control their spending, they shouldn’t be raising the debt (ceiling) time after time again. But they sure as hell shouldn’t be taking away even more from the poor as already has been done in the crisis that started in 2007/2008. You probably know you are paying for the tax cuts of the uber rich too right? Or are they so ’successful’ that they don’t need to be mentioned? It’s the same freaking thing here in the Netherlands, they’re going to cut back on everything, except for the housing subsidies (of the top 10%). Our housing market is still over inflated, our gov. wants to save 18 billion in 4 years time. Giving these subsidies to the top 10% for buying a house is costing over 4 billion per year, and they’re not going to touch it.. Instead they are going to cut back on the military, social services, healthcare, education.. Now that’s what the government should be doing right? Protect their cash loaded buddies in the hope that those corrupt politicians can enjoy a nice job at Royal Dutch Shell, ING or any other crappy company which are sucking the people dry..

reincarnated founding father

April 8th, 2011
6:37 pm

winfield and craig your right we should shut the government spending down but just keep doing like the rest of the sheep and get in line dont stray, heres one for you when the government gets shut down write your own constitution and live by it remember we voted then had to pay them, not to protect us but to take our rights away. i know you think im crazy and an extremist right. well there is such a thing as the 9th amendment. use it its your right!!!!!


April 8th, 2011
9:00 pm

Another fine example of emotion driven conversation that has come mostly from disinformation by extreme left ideas.Weak minded people can be lead easily when they don’t do their own research.Too many just take the governments word for problems and the solution.CAREFUL….watch outside the box your given…..the population of WWII Germany did not and the last of freedoms were done away with.Those who accuse others the loudest of something usually are the worst offenders of that very thing.

Ayo Tony

April 8th, 2011
9:08 pm

I Work for the government and i might lose my job….not such a big deal? It dont matter wbats happened the past we know why this is going on….sending jobs oversea…. all our american money overseas…killing the middle class the working class and fattening the pockets off the rich. who pry came in to their resources by the parents. But im just sayin from my standpoint who will be affected by this.

Ayo Tony

April 8th, 2011
9:12 pm

I agree with ome henk

Tania Garcia-Champine

April 9th, 2011
3:16 am

I for a fact know I will not be voting for Obama he has promised our COUNTRY so much to be changed but all we are doing in reality is falling into worldly livings of the devil, I am so thankful to know my children an I have GOD who is of high power an will not forsake his children, I pray every day that our Country will bounce back but it’s in reality becoming worse people are losing job and schools are becoming dis functional and our children are suffering instead of giving them brighter days to come our Government is making our Country suffer and I honestly believe we are all just being neglected and worse is coming for us all. I pray for our Country and leaders who can not get there mind right and focus on what we need as people and we all do matter…


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