By Alex Hunt
While you were worrying about that upcoming BA, the U.S. government shut down. On Tuesday, October 1, Congress failed to develop a new federal budget and as a result, the government went into a partial shutdown. The majority of Republicans demanded, as Obama put it, the “defunding or dismantling” of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare in the national budget. This triggered the shutdown.
President Obama addressed the nation about the shutdown on October 1, the first day of the shutdown.
“At midnight last night, for the first time in 17 years, the Republicans in Congress chose to shut down the federal government,” Obama began his address.
“Let me be more specific: One faction of one party in one house of Congress in one branch of government shut down major parts of the government, all because they didn’t like one law,” the President said.
“Republicans in the House of Representatives refused to fund the government unless we defunded or dismantled the Affordable Care Act. They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.”
“In other words,” said Obama, “they demanded ransom just for doing their job.”
The partial government shutdown will affect us in several ways. First, keep in mind that America is $16.7 trillion in debt. By about October 17, the United States government is predicted to hit its “Debt Ceiling.” This means that the U.S. can no longer borrow money. On October 17, the U.S is predicted to have just $30 million dollars on hand.
Now, 1.4 million active-duty personnel will continue to work, but all of their paychecks will be delayed. This means the Americans in our military are not presently being paid.
The government shutdown has directly resulted in an immediate $85 billion cut in the funding of several government-funded programs. This includes local businesses that are receiving grants from the government that help them continue to operate.
The government will also not be supporting the Nutritional Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) program, which provides food assistance, during the shutdown. Several head start programs for children will slowly start closing the longer the government remains shutdown. Disability and veteran benefits are also likely to be suspended or even eliminated.
The government-employed people who make sure the workplace is safe and secure and people who do safety inspections on food you get at the grocery store, and other safety inspections, will be laid off.
Passports for foreign travel might not be as easy to obtain. Americans will experience “delays” in processing. During the government shut down in 1996-1997 between 20,000 and 30,000 applications where not processed daily.
Anything state-funded, like national parks, museums, and zoos will be shut down or closed. This leaves thousands of people without jobs. An estimated 800,000 federal workers will be laid off. Tourists, visitors and employees will not be able to stimulate the economy.
“When people aren’t getting paid they can’t spend money, businesses start cutting back, the longer this last the more and more the economic effects pile up on each other,” RT News producer Sam Sax put it.
Looking back to the government shut down in 1996, we can see that a week of government shutdown cost the U.S. about a billion dollars. The shutdown is predicted to last longer, and result in up to $55 billion in lost funds. The same cost of Hurricane Katrina.