Government Shutdown: What This Really Means

Filed in Gather Politics News Channel by on April 6, 2011 0 Comments

The term ‘government shutdown’ is all over the web. It has permeated the nightly news and the newspapers, too. But what will really happen if there is in fact a shutdown?

According to a report from the National Journal, it’s easier to explain what won’t happen in a shutdown, rather than what will. And it indicates quite clearly that most of the hoopla is completely unnecessary.

In the event of a government shutdown, only about 15 percent of the public workforce is impacted. Social Security payments won’t stop. The Post Office won’t stop deliveries and air traffic control will still take place (at least at those airports where the controllers aren’t napping!)

Medical care, tax collection and border control won’t cease operations. Prison guards and crime investigation won’t stop.

So what will really happen in the event of a government shutdown? Government museums won’t open up. Travelers will be unable to apply for passports. Nonessential employees in some branches of the government will be told not to come to work. The last time this happened, they received retroactive pay once they returned to the workplace. It isn’t certain yet that they will this time. That happens based on the assignment of funds prior to the actual government shutdown.

For the average American citizen, the impact of a government shutdown amounts to that proverbial grain of sand. It does indicate, however, that the government is in a bad place–but is that really any big, bold announcement that hasn’t been made a thousand times in the past month?

There have been 17 government shutdowns since 1977, with the longest lasting just 21 days. Yes, if this happens, it will be the biggest headline on the evening news. However if (and God forbid) a natural or other disaster takes place in some part of the world, the shutdown will likely be usurped by the tragedy.

How do you feel about an impending government shutdown?


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