Government shutdown: A near-miss

This week’s news headlines were blaring as we crept closer and closer to what sounded like an imminent shutdown of the U.S. Government for lack of an agreement on a budget.

The bickering and the finger-pointing over partisan riders and party lines went down to the wire and many were waiting to see if they would be directly affected when the shutdown went into effect.  The federal workforce, except those deemed necessary for protection or safety like the TSA, military, or law enforcement, would mostly be on hold until the situation was resolved.

Obviously, this would have caused a serious ripple effect outward from those directly affected – one would have to assume that not all the federal employees suddenly out of jobs would be prepared for such an event for an unspecified length of time.

Offhand, I’d be thinking about mortgages or rent, monthly bills like food, transportation related expenses,  utilities, medical bills, that needed paying.  And that’s assuming one wasn’t going through any major transition in one’s life like moving, illness, entering parenthood, divorce, buying a new home, getting married, or making any other major commitment that required financial considerations.

While they reached an agreement with literally hours to spare, I wonder if there will come a time when even the pressure of public vilification isn’t enough, it raises the question – how long could you hold out if this shutdown had happened and you were the one put on hold indefinitely?

And if you were indirectly affected, if a ripple of the shutdown was that you weren’t paid because someone else wasn’t getting paid and thus couldn’t pay their bills, perhaps a renter of yours, or perhaps a client or your company’s client, how long could that go on before it created an untenable burden for you?


About Revanche

Revanche writes the personal finance blog A Gai Shan Life.