Many people are affected by the government shutdown including many federal employees. Guess who comes through unscathed?
As of October 1, the federal government shut down for the first time since 1995/1996. Why can’t Congress place nice in the sandbox and make decisions which are in the best interest of the country? The shutdown is basically a classic case of the game of chicken. Each side backs the other into a corner, neither willing to give in or heaven forbid compromise. This is a political game that has gone “fowl” much like the game of chicken which you may have played as a child.
Setting: Washington DC
Participants: House of Representatives (mostly Republican) and Senate (mostly Democrat)
Main issues: Whether or not to delay, derail, or defund the Affordable Care Act, referred to as Obamacare
The House of Representatives proposed and approved 3 spending bills.
- Delay Obamacare for one year
- Repeal the Obamacare Medical Device Tax
- Remove the individual mandate
Senate rejected all 3 spending bills
House voted to reaffirm the Anti-Obamacare amendments and requested a conference with the Senate to work out their differences
Government shut down October 1
While Congress is playing their game of chicken, the federal government shut down which affects thousands if not millions of people and government agencies.
Guess who isn’t affected at least monetarily! President Obama is able to keep his $400,000 paycheck coming as usual as is all of Congress.
So, while they are up there pointing fingers and unwilling to negotiate or compromise approximately 800,000 federal workers’ pay have been furloughed. All of the national parks, zoos, museums, and monuments are closed. If I had planned a trip to Yosemite National Park for this week, I would be very upset that it is closed. These decisions affect an enormous number of people – their personal finance situation and their livelihood. Some other areas which are not affected include, post offices, normal banking, issuance of US savings bonds, active military, and Social Security payments. These will continue at least for the time being business as usual. I hope you don’t need a passport any time soon or a gun permit or a federal home loan. These operations are shut down cold.
What are the monetary impacts of the shut down other than to the individual people/agencies mentioned above? Well, the last shutdown in 1995/1996 cost approximately $1.4 billion which would equate to more than $2 million in today’s economy. Estimates are as high as $55 billion depending upon how long the shutdown lasts. What makes this even scarier is the debt ceiling, which we are scheduled to reach October 17, 2013. The debt ceiling is our nation’s ability to borrow money. The combination of these two monumental issues is causing a panic to the US. The future of our economy is in jeopardy.
So I go back to my original question – why can’t Congress play nice in the sandbox and make decisions which are in the best interest of our nation as a whole? Do we really need to keep playing this game of chicken because that is just fowl.