Assuming Congress doesn’t get its’ act together, by midnight, October 1st, the federal government will shut down. Now, some services will continue: air traffic controllers will continue working, the military will continue protecting the country before at home and abroad, Social Security and Medicare will continue to function and agencies such as the Postal Service will continue delivering mail. But what functions of the federal government will be on a standstill due to Congress’ incompetence? Here are a few examples…
- ARMED FORCES. U.S. troops serving at home and abroadcould stop receiving paychecks if the shutdown continues for an extended period and changes of station would also be delayed and facility and weapons maintenance would be suspended. Families back home would also be impacted.
- HEALTH CARE. The National Institutes of Health will stop accepting new patients and delay or stop clinical trials. Medicare and the Veterans administration will continue paying out benefits, but new filers could face delays and doctors and hospitals may also have to wait for reimbursements.
- DISASTER RELIEF. In preparation for a potential shutdown, the Utah National Guard is holding off on sending a team to help rebuild areas in Colorado devastated by massive floods last week. More National Guard engineers are desperately needed to repair major roads and bridges in Colorado. Roughly 240 Colorado National Guardsmen currently working on flood missions are also in danger of losing funding.
- NUTRITION FOR WOMEN AND CHILDREN. Though food stamps will still be available in the event of a shutdown, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) nutrition program, a service meant to help new and expecting mothers and their young children get nutritious foods, will not. If a shutdown lasts for more than a few days, the roughly 9 million Americans who rely on WIC could see their assistance dry up, leaving them food-insecure.
Now, don’t think there won’t be a price to this…there will be if the government shutdowns. Back in 1995-1996, when the government shut down during the 1st Clinton Administration, the country incurred over $2 billion in wasteful expenses and the country lost about 1% of its’ GDP as a result.
Should another shutdown occur, economists are warning that up to 1.5% of GDP could be lost and, if the shutdown goes on past a few days, the chances of sliding back into recession would increase substantially.